Following the Facebook post by no less than its Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, regarding the changes that the platform and thereby, its users will experience in 2018, many brands are gripping their teeth in light of the impending challenges ahead. Public content proliferates News Feed, drawing its users away from connecting with real moments from real people.
Based on Facebook’s collaborations with the academia, it was found out that reading articles and watching videos passively may have negative consequences. Thus the shift from finding relevant content to having more meaning interactions.
Put simply, there will be less sponsored content on our News Feed and more updates and posts from our friends and groups. There will be winners and losers too just like when Google rolls out an algorithm update.
At a personal level, it means good, and we can all understand Zuckerberg’s intentions here. For companies which rely on Facebook marketing, this may not be good news at all, after all. There will be significant declines in organic reach and user engagement.
True to his words, the time spent on Facebook and other indicators of engagement will decrease although dwell time will be more valuable. With that being said, what are the new challenges brands, businesses and media will experience this 2018 and how they can win over these?
Challenge #1 – Gaining customers’ attention
Zuckerberg’s announcement has many gray areas, and one of which is whether there will be a balance between friends updates and public content. Or if the latter will be prioritized in your News Feed? Regardless of the split though, there remains the fact – brands will be competing with personal updates. It could mean doubly hard to capture and sustain the customers’ attention.
Challenge #2 – Providing “meaningful interactions”
Zuckerberg might have a well-meaning definition for “meaningful interactions”. But in the language of Facebook, these interactions go down to like, comment or share. It’s the currency that you need to work on if you intend to create updates that provide the right interactions to the users.
Challenge #3– Penalizing posts
Zuckerberg cites the need to continue (which means they are already penalizing some posts that do so) demoting posts that use engagement bait. These are the posts with confusing titles or mismatched anchors and landing page. These are just two examples, and we are not considering the fake news clickbait strategy yet.
Overcoming the 2018 Facebook challenges
While there may be significant changes to our News Feed, there are certain ways to overturn the results in favor of brands and marketers. What must be done to triumph over these challenges that the new Facebook algorithm had created?
More diversified content
More meaningful interactions can be created through publishing the right type of content – images, videos, articles, etc. What Zuckerberg wants us to do is to create content that will spark conversations. The content must be engaging and of high-quality for it to find its way to a person’s News Feed organically.
Timely and relevant topics are the key here especially those that users have strong opinions on. But be careful with this strategy since there’s a pitfall here. Guarding the company’s reputation will be more difficult if you post politically-motivated posts, for instance.
You can try to include questions in the post to encourage commenting. But even this has a restriction. Facebook warns against engagement baits – comment to win, comment for free, or comment to gain instant access to. Don’t be that mediocre brand. Not to mention, it’s not a meaningful interaction.
Instead, experiment with live videos. Conversations stem from these. In fact, the social giant itself sees 6x more interaction on live videos than on regular ones. It will perform well under the new algorithm.
Even on pages, it would be nice to share info on upcoming events with Facebook live coverage. It spurs conversation at the page level too. Better yet, stream your event live on Facebook to obtain more traction with your audience.
Deeper group penetration
After the announcement, now the true value of Facebook groups is revealed where the majority of posts spark engagement. These groups operate with audience engagement as the basis. These highly interactive updates are prioritized in the News Feed too.
Good for you if you’ve already invested in creating and growing your Facebook community. If not, it’s not too late to create a Facebook group now. It is also worth mentioning that some individuals may have their own Facebook pages and advertising budget.
No, you are not going to capitalize on these. But once a person gets valuable inputs from you through the group or other member’s of the said group, he would share it with others.
More targeted posts
While engagement may decline, now is also the perfect time to increase your Facebook promotion budget. However, you need to look more closely at targeting when boosting your post so that the relevant people can see content.
For emphasis, you need to promote quality content and put it front and center of the people who are more likely to consume and engage with the said content. If you need to experiment with demographics, for instance, do so just to ensure that every dollar spent is money well spent.
Be creative with hashtags too. Make sure you know how to use these tags before you implement them. Excessive use of such especially when inappropriate tend to annoy more than using no hashtag at all. Make the hashtags unique to your brand and campaign. It helps for easier monitoring of the engagement as well.
Social media has raise influencers throughout the years. These are not your typical celebrities although they are also considered as influencers raking thousands of dollars for a single tweet. Social influencers are average Joes who are able to amass a following.
A growing audience is a key here. And influencers mostly interact with their followers. So if you are a company who wants to tap into their power, it could mean have instant access to this following as well.
Aligning your brand’s objectives with that of the influencer would be a good strategy. You cannot just ask an influencer to share an update with their followers about your product and pay him. There must be a good fit too. Of course, choose influencers that clearly imbibes your corporate values and ethics.
Pick the one with proven endorsing skills. Influencers are not just marketers in this manner, but also endorsers. The latter carries more weight than the former.
This still adds value to a business. Nowadays, we are seeing brands that hand over flyers, brochures and flyers that tell the customers to “like our FB page: @fbpagename”. This should be encouraged.
As well as your loyal Facebook followers. You can directly ask them to choose the ‘See First’ option in their News Feed preferences. At least Facebook gave businesses this option more so because only those who really want to engage with your business will do this.
Understandably, your business is on Facebook because the people – your target market – is in there. However, with the recent changes, it would be harder for a brand to increase the conversion rate since it is now competing with posts and updates from friends and friends of friends in News Feed.
It can be a challenge, yes, but there are workarounds. To think proactively, tap into the passive areas. Tap the right people to reach your target audience and your loyal followers won’t forget about you. Tap onto thediversity of tactics. Finally, combine online and offline marketing.
While at it, avoid getting penalized by Facebook. That’s the last thing you want to happen. Do what Zuckerberg wants us to do, creating interactions in a meaningful way. If you provide your target audience with valuable and quality content, then there is no need to fear the 2018 Facebook algorithm change.
If, for anything, look into the bright side of the changes. Think of this as an opportunity to really converse with the community – to know their pain points and solve their problems. You can never go wrong with helping others.