Social Media Marketing: Facebook News Feed Changes Brands Rank
Facebook recently announced a radical change in its newsfeed algorithm. It’s going to rank posts by family, friends, and groups higher than news posts or general posts from brands and publishers. Most pundits are hailing this as a social media marketing game changer.
In his announcement, CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said the move was meant to encourage people to interact actively using the platform rather than passively consume posts that are fired at them.
Speculations are rife about Facebook’s agenda behind the move. Some say Facebook is coming off a rough 2017 where it faced harsh criticism after Russian linked actors placed fake news and ads and manipulated news feed to influence the public about U.S. presidential elections.
Facebook has already been seeing dismal organic traffic and users were found to be spending less time on the platform. In the wake of these revelations, Facebook’s revamp seems more self-serving than for the “greater good of people” that Zuckerberg claims.
What could this mean for brands?
The news feed shakeup might be good news for users who are generally annoyed by irrelevant ads and contents showing up on their wall, but it’s certainly bad news for brands and publishers who relied on Facebook for huge referral traffic.
Surprisingly, Facebook has made no mention of demoting paid-for-ads in their new algorithm. So, could this mean the move is a smart way of squeezing brands to pay for advertising on the much-loved platform?
And the move could very well pay off…after all, most brands wouldn’t think twice before paying to advertise on Facebook if this could prevent them from losing large chunks of traffic.
Is there no respite for brands?
Since Facebook is going to promote posts that create “meaningful interactions” between people, it follows that brands need to become more engaging. This means that content by brands would have to invite comment and dialogue between people. Interaction on social media posts will become one of the key digital marketing strategies going forward.
Here are some strategies that brands can adapt to continue their streak on Facebook:
- Create helpful, informative posts and target them to relevant audiences. Brands will be compelled to examine their media strategy more closely to understand what engages their audiences. Then, they should serve more such content and hope for good engagement.
- Encourage people to comment on your posts. But do not resort to click bait techniques such as promising free resources or content for writing comments. Facebook has started using artificial intelligence to identify such desperate tactics. Posts on trending topics are likely to encourage people to comment their opinion or ask questions. A sincere appeal at the end of posts asking people to comment or follow your page can also work.
- Remind followers of your brand to click the “See first” option in their newsfeed menu.
- Invest in paid Facebook advertisements. As discussed before, paid advertisements won’t feel the brunt of the new algorithm. Have a clearly defined target audience segment and schedule advertisements at optimal times.
- Live videos are not only popular with Facebook users; they are going to remain unscathed by the shakeup. Zuckerberg feels live videos spark healthy discussions between viewers and help Facebook become a meaningful platform.
- Try investing your marketing efforts towards forming Facebook groups that the new algorithm loves. As group members are already an actively engaged community, posts in groups can be very productive.