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Changes to Facebook Algorithm & What That Means For Brands

Facebook is changing…again.

I wanted to take a few moments to share the most recent article released about Facebook’s newest algorithm change. View it here.

What does this mean?

It means Facebook has recognized a few key points:
1. People are spending more time on Facebook BUT
2. People are not engaging as much as they have in the past AND
3. After they spend time on Facebook, they walk away feeling bad.

Now, reality.

1. Yes, people like their Facebook – some demographics may spend more time on other platforms (like Facebook owned Instagram) or Snapchat but the graph below shows what that usage looks like, and Facebook is by far, leading the charge on how much time visitors spend on their page. Pew Research has also found that 75% of Facebook users and 50% of Instagram users access the site daily. More powerful, as of January last year, Facebook had 1.9 Million users, Instagram 700 Million Users, Twitter 320 Million and Snapchat 300 Million.

2. Yes, people are not engaging as much as the “used to.” However, the real question is what has changed? Prior to Facebook, people shared a common belief that if someone was “talking to them” they owed a reply. This common belief carried into written correspondence, voicemail, even texting (unless maybe it was your mother). In the early days of Facebook, this was a common practice. You would see posts from friends and you would reply. You would reconnect with people from your past and feel obligated to engage. However, that euphoric connection has worn off. You have seen your 2nd grade “best friends” dog 500 times..and have nothing else to say. You have already had the “high school reunion chat” with all these people you never see – and it is almost like the 3rd day of the reunion weekend, when you look at your spouse and want to get the heck out of there…realizing you didn’t really like these people in high school…so nothing has really changed. So, no, you are not engaging…but you still want to keep an eye on what’s going on because social media has mastered the art of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

3. Yes, people walk away feeling worse. It is not because of the brand posts…it is because Facebook is not real, except maybe for the ‘friends’ and family we have who constantly complain and think that Facebook is the appropriate platform for sharing every issue in their life. Otherwise, Facebook is the perfect scrap book. The place you go to share all your happiest, or staged, photos. It is the place you go to share just how awesome something is in your life…how you just made it backstage…how you are hanging with all your besties…how your kid has once again made the highest of all honor rolls, and is likely going to be accepted by Harvard at 12 years of age. People don’t walk away feeling bad about brands, they walk away feeling bad that their reality does not compare to those they are viewing on a daily basis…but they still can’t look away.

So, what does this mean for brand pages?

It means that organic reach for business pages will once again go down. However, it is already near 1% for most brands today…so the concern truly lies in whether or not the organic lift that promoted posts receive will be impacted?

What can you do to help offset this impact?
1. First, review your analytics. Understand what your engagement has been each period for the last year, if you have the previous year, even better. You will use this to compare your engagement and review the opportunities for what posts will likely need the most advertising support.

2. Once you understand your analytics, you will want to review which of your posts have the most engagement. Is there a common topic? Is there a common time or date that gets more engagement? Is it when your post is aimed at a certain demographic? Either way, this will help you build your upcoming content calendars to best succeed through these changes.

3. Build content that can be promoted prior to actual post date. If you are promoting an event, don’t use terms like “tomorrow” – “This Friday” – or “Starts in 10 minutes”…you want to build content that is useful but focuses on a specific date, not relative to your post time. This allows you to actually ‘boost’ the post prior to the post going live, which also allows a post to go live with already having a significant amount of engagement. More importantly, it will allow you to see which of your posts are doing well in advance, and be sure to give them extra attention on the days they go live.

4. Ensure your voice is one that actually engages like a ‘friend’ and not a business. Facebook has made it clear what type of posts they want to share…if you want your posts to end up on that algorithm, you should try to engage in a similar fashion.

5. Build more unique content that you own. Remember, everything you do on Facebook is in “their yard.” This is the equivalent of having an awesome neighbor with a giant yard, while yours is nowhere big enough, they generously offer to let you put your pool and swing set on their yard…then one day they sell the house and the new owners put up a fence and don’t let you access it. Facebook has an awesome platform, but it is THEIR platform. If you want to truly build your brand, you need to give people the opportunity to find and connect with you on both your website and Facebook. Create unique content, but don’t leave it all on a social network that can change the rules at any time. In a world where every person can be their own publisher, don’t put all your creating eggs in one basket.

Hope that this helps. Remember, if you are looking for someone to help you through navigating these changes, you can always e-mail us here.