Facebook has again changed its algorithms. This time to prioritise content from friends, family and groups. You know, the reason everyone signed up for Facebook more than a decade ago.
In the years since, it’s become so much more than a place to share photos of your cute cat and arguing with your neighbours. It’s become a place for businesses, brands and media to showcase new products, to discuss how those products can be used in your daily life and, basically, how essential it is that you buy that product right now.
Zuckerberg made the announcement, which has no doubt left page managers quaking in their boots, just less than two weeks ago. He made it clear that close, core connections are at the heart of Facebook’s business.
“But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Because of this, a decision was made to change what content is shared on users’ News Feeds. Changes were made toward the end of last year and will continue being made across all Facebook products in the coming months.
“As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
“Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”
This clearly means that businesses, brands and media are not going to be organically showing up in users’ feeds. Facebook’s move has not been met with happiness with many saying it’s Facebook’s way of forcing brands and businesses to pay for more ads. Of particular concern was what these changes would mean for small local businesses and charitable organisations.
So, if you’re managing pages for businesses, brands and media, here are some suggestions.
Original, valuable and engaging content
As Zuckerberg mentioned, he’d like to see more meaningful interactions. This means content uploaded to the platform must still be original, valuable and engaging. It’s only by producing this type of content that you can hope to see users interacting with your page. And, if a user does not see your content on the News Feed, but they happen to click on your page, they’d be greeted by the sight of your valuable content. They might even interact with it there, increasing the chances of them seeing your content in the future. Try to create posts which ask questions and inspire conversation between people.
Increase ad spend
Organic reach has been declining for years. It’s become incredibly difficult reaching people organically via Facebook pages. You should, therefore, already be a pro at Facebook ads. But now with adverts becoming more important than ever, it’s essential that you understand how to target the right audience to ensure your ad spend receives the return on investment (ROI) you’d enjoyed in the past.
Focus on groups
Because groups aren’t being impacted by the changes (for now), it’s important that businesses, brands and media make use of them. A company selling locally made cleaning products, which used to rely on its page for sales, could now, for instance, set up a page which discusses different household cleaning tips and tricks.
Prioritise live video
Videos have become a large part of the Facebook user experience and live video even more so – live video gets six times the number of interactions as the regular ones. In fact, Zuckerberg said in his announcement: “We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones.” Live videos allow brands, businesses and media to become truly creative. You’re able to control what users see, giving them a behind-the-scenes peek like they’ve never enjoyed before.
Encourage users to follow the page
Of course, all is not lost and one thing isn’t changing. Followers can still choose “see first” in their News Feed preferences. This means your business, brand or media pages should be encouraging followers to do just that.
By making some or all of these changes, you should be able to keep some of the engagement you’d seen in the past. And, don’t forget, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Watch out for something similar happening there soon.