If you’ve spent any time online in the past week, you’d be forgiven for thinking the sky is falling, with the announcement of the new Facebook algorithm update.
Mark Zuckerberg announced on his platform the company would be “making a major change” which centers around prioritising posts from friends and family over businesses, brands and media.
“The public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people,” he writes.
Cue businesses across the world launching into panic.
‘Organic reach on Facebook is dead’: Advertisers expect price hikes after Facebook’s feed purge, writes Digiday.
‘Facebook has been quite transparent about the fact that marketers and brands will be impacted by this change — and not for the better’, writes Hubspot.
The response to the changes has been largely negative, and social media managers worldwide have launched straight into strategy re-evaluations and changes.
But what does it actually mean for you?
What the Facebook algorithm update means for your business
We know you, a local business, have a fundamental goal to engage and interact with your customer. This is something Facebook is now encouraging you to do on their platform far more than they have before.
Head of Facebook’s News Feed Adam Mosseri writes, “We will prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.”
Mosseri focuses on video, particularly live video, as a way to interact with followers.
“Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events,” he says.
Essentially, if a business is focused on its customers and not just on promoting their products they’re going to feel minimal effect of the news feed changes.
We at GDR Group have always encouraged our clients to tell their story, not just sell their products. This news feed change is in line with that strategy, and means your focus on engaging with your customers will be rewarded as the changes come into effect.
The opportunities for you
The changes to the news feed should not necessarily be approached with caution, but with opportunity.
Facebook is fundamentally taking a stand against clickbait and poor quality content, and giving weight to content which is genuinely trying to engage with users.
“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,” Zuckerberg writes.
“But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”
This is something we at GDR Group have a strong belief in – reaching the right people who are more likely to interact and engage with your business. A valuable handful, instead of a big number which has no meaning behind it.
The changes are not so surprising if you’ve been tracking the changes made to the feed in the past – a strong focus on user engagement with other users, or brands.
As summarised very eloquently by The Content Division’s Kurt Sanders, “If it’s not forcing you to take a good, hard look at yourself and get back to the things that work for your customers and your objectives then you may have missed a few things along the way.”
What to be careful of
There has been a lot of discussion about ‘meaningful social interactions’ and what that could be defined as.
Mosseri writes, “We use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed.”
While we’ve known engagement is the most important metric for a while – over reach and likes – the new Facebook algorithm update and the information around it indicates this is only going to increase.
Not only will Facebook be determining the success of your page based on your follower engagement, it will penalise your page if you’re not encouraging and achieving it.
That said, engagement-bait (as always) is out of the question.
“Using “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed,” writes Mosseri.
These are posts which encourage followers, for example, to tag their friends or comment below.
So what now?
Facebook’s communication shows the changes will come into effect over coming months, so you have time to adjust your strategy if necessary and educate your staff on the changes.
We at GDR Group have long had a focus on building engaged communities on social media platforms, in particular Facebook, and we will continue to build on this in the future.
If you are not sure where to go now, or what to do, give us a call on 1800 876 673 and we can talk about how we can help you with your social media management
This blog was written by Erienne Lette, Social Media & Community Manager at GDR Group.
Follow Erienne on Twitter here.