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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.

What Makes Things Go Viral?

“What makes things go viral?” is the question that most businesses have on their minds since the beginning of the social media trend. A few years ago this question would have been answered that it was simply luck, that no one could predict what could go viral. The one thing they never expected to hear was that there is a science behind why people share some things rather than others. It is not enough just to be involved in social media, and post on Facebook and Twitter everyday. The key to going viral is sharing a piece of information that will make the reader feel good enough about himself that it makes him want to share it too. For example LinkedIn sent out an email to some users congratulating them on being in the top 5% for having the most views on their LinkedIn profiles. Most people took to Facebook and Twitter to share the news about how they are now, “kind of a big deal,” as many of them declared themselves. This just reinstated the fact that if a piece of content makes people seem smart they will be more likely to share it with their friends.

Predict Twitter Popularity

Don’t lie every time you tweet you hope that your 140 characters tweet will blow up, and you patiently wait staring at your phone to see how many favorites and retweets you will get. Researchers have developed a model that they claim can predict how popular a tweet will be. This unique formula does not involve looking at the content of the tweet at all, but actually focuses on the behavior of people and retweets on Twitter. One of the creators, Tauhid Zaman, stated, “I can’t tell you what kind of tweet is going to be big, but I can tell you the minutes of which one [tweet] is going to be big.” Zaman and the other two creators came up with a model that they have nicknamed “Twouija”, which is a play on words between Twitter and an Ouija board (game where your future is predicted). Through analyzing data on Twitter researchers found that the number of retweets between a popular Twitter user and a common Twitter user work the same way. They found that during the first 10 minutes after a tweet both users had about 50% of the retweets that they will have in total. For example, if a popular tweeter receives 100 retweets in 10 minutes overall it would end up with around 200 retweets, and a less popular tweeter who received 3 retweets in 10 minutes will end up with 6 retweets in the long run. What does this mean? Zaman explained, “You can actually build a system that ranks your content on your timeline based upon these two metrics of eventual popularity… and how old it (a tweet) is right now.”

Master The Social Media Strategy

Creating a social media strategy is key to having success in the social media world. Although it may seem exciting to have all of these different profiles if you don’t know what to do with them they become pointless.
It is better to be really good at one social media site than stink on all of them. It takes a lot of time to make one site look perfect, so if you do not have the time to work on all of your sites choose one that will really make you stand out. As long as you are creating great content and interacting with fans that one site will get you farther than having four or five crappy sites.
If you only have time to manage one social media site, you might consider focusing mainly on Facebook. Facebook has become the top of the social media chain having over 1.1 billion users and it is easy to communicate with fans in fun and creative ways.
Lastly, it is important to have a content strategy. You don’t want to seem like a spammer only posting promotional material so it is important that you keep these posts to a minimum. For the rest of your posts, keep it fun, interesting, motivational. They key is to present content that has value and will affect the customer in some way.

Should We Pay To Get Rid of Facebook Ads?

I don’t think anyone would disagree with the fact that Facebook ads are nothing but annoying and overall serve very little purpose. Most of the time these ads or sponsored posts do not even relate to pages you have liked or websites you have visited which is just annoying. Agreeing with this idea, co-founder of Twitter, Biz Stone, suggested that Facebook should launch a premium option that would let users pat $10 a month to get rid of ads, which is a genius idea! Not only would it get rid of those ads that you do not care about it would also bring in the large revenue that Facebook’s stock has been after ever since it launched. Stone also mentioned adding in special features that only premium users can access which would make the deal even more lucrative. The main question is though are people willing to give up a free service with ads for the same service with the exception of ads for a fee? Personally, although the ads may just fill space on the page for me, I would not pay $120 a year just to get rid of them, and most likely a large amount of people would agree with me. I guess only time will tell whether Zuckerberg will steal Stones idea or not.