Five Changes to Expect After Facebook’s Algorithm Update
by: Stephanie Sawyer, Marketing & Social Media Specialist
I recently returned from Social Media Marketing World’s conference in San Diego, at which “Facebook Armageddon” was a hot topic. That’s the nickname for Mark Zuckerberg’s January announcement about algorithm changes.
As a content marketer who specializes in social media, I’m always in support of updates that make a platform more enjoyable for users. A social media platform lives and breathes based on having happy, engaged users. Any improvements that have this goal in mind have my support.
That being said, brands will need to make adjustments to stay ahead of the changes.
Stay top of mind – and top of the news feed – by following these five tips:1.Share more personal content. Facebook hopes to improve the user experience by sharing more friends’ content. This means less public content from businesses, brands and media in the News Feed. The goal of this update is to share the content users are interested in seeing most—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
What to do? Focus on content that connects people. This sounds simple, but this may be a fundamental shift in how many content writers approach content curation. Ultimately, in every post, you are hoping to spark enough emotion to generate a comment or share from a reader.2.Understand Facebook’s goals. Facebook wants to increase the length of time users spend on its site. They are strategically competing with Google to keep users on their platform by updating live video features, messaging apps, events apps, community groups and more. This means they want to have content on their site that can only be consumed by members via a one-stop-shop, with fewer referrals to outside websites.
What to do? Load content directly to Facebook whenever possible. For example, add a video directly to your feed or cover image rather than posting a link to YouTube.3.Focus on long-form comments. Facebook has added something called “weighted engagement.” In the past, a like was as meaningful as a comment or a share. Now, however, the length of a comment has more sway. Watch for these signals that affect news feed content rankings:
a.Average time spent on content
b.Person sharing a link over messenger
c.Multiple replies to comments on a video
4.Don’t rely on “engagement bait” to get comments. It’s important to note that “engagement bait” will actually result in demotion of your posts in the News Feed. Baiting means asking for a specific and easy response; for example, “Comment ‘yes’ if you love live music like we do!” Content driving meaningful interactions will perform much better than content driving only consumption.
What do to? Post content that naturally creates meaningful interactions. A great way to do this is through live video, which leads, on average, to six times as many interactions as regular video!
5.Check your stats. Pages should expect to see a decline in reach, watch time and referral traffic. Your results will vary as updates will continue to roll out to the algorithm and News Feed over the next several months. But, expect that the same efforts or strategy used one year ago will result in lower number statistically.
What to do? Activate niche communities through Facebook groups. Groups are the perfect way to build an active an engaged community around topics, issues and causes they care about.
What to do? Don’t panic. Understand that page content will still appear in News Feed, but with less frequency. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because organic reach has been declining across social media for years. This means you are probably already a whiz at Facebook ads. (Want to do more? Stay tuned for next month’s Verdin Vision when our media strategist, Lisa Campolmi, discusses how these updates affect paid media on Facebook.)
Use these tips for publishing content on all social platforms, not just Facebook! As we have said before, there is no need to fear algorithm changes if you’re already dedicated to providing your customers with valuable, quality content.
I’d love to hear how your brand plans to survive “Facebook Armageddon” so send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!