Marketers and Businesses have been quickly trying to piece together what the Facebook announcement on January 11th meant for social media and businesses and how to adapt a new strategy based on the roll out of the changes to the News Feed over the coming weeks. According to Facebook, these changes will de-prioritize posts from publishers, organizations, and businesses in favor of those from family and friends. According to Facebook, the News Feed will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
The social media leader specified that it will start prioritizing posts from friends and family in News Feed. At the same time, it will reduce the amount of material coming from news publishers and companies.
The decision came after Facebook was criticized last year for not doing more to prevent false news stories from spreading throughout Facebook. Two former Facebook officials also accused the company of creating products that have harmed society.
For so many of us, we’ve seen how instrumental Facebook has been for business - especially for small businesses. Even the experts had to pause and piece together what this will look like for businesses of all sizes.
Here is how Facebook has worked up until now: Facebook has been using computer algorithms to predict what material was most likely to be “liked,” commented on or shared.. Zuckerberg states that will no longer be the company’s goal.
Soooo...What IS Changing within Facebook? What IS the goal?
In a nutshell:
*Changes will be around what friends and family share and see.
*Facebook will be de-emphasizing posts from Business pages and groups
*This is the biggest change to the Facebook NewsFeed to date
OK. What does this mean for your business?
It means alot...but at the same time.. don't panic! How is that for some mixed messaging?
So here is the deal:
Businesses need to be even more strategic and creative around their social media strategy in order to be visible to their targeted audience.
And yes...these changes are significant for small businesses who have relied heavily on facebook as a way to grow their businesses organically.
Let's break this down further:
So WHO will be impacted the most:
Businesses that rely on organic reach (non-paid) will be the most heavily impacted.
Facebook's News Feed, which has been heavily populated with media you follow, articles that your friends may have 'liked' or commented on, content from the businesses you follow and community information will now have limited organic reach.
Coming the next few months, there will now be a dual feed where businesses and groups will be housed and another feed where friends/family posts - along with paid advertising will be featured.
The door for small business is left open by one theme that Zuckerberg continues to stress...'meaningful interactions between people and tight knit communities'.
The businesses who stay ahead of the changes, who create a concrete strategy and who embrace this new day at Facebook- early- will have big opportunities. And while your competitors are scrambling to figure out why no one is seeing their content, you have the ability to shift gears and actually gain more customers with new strategies based on how Facebook is reconfiguring who sees you.
It is our belief, that brands that leverage more user generated content, create more
story-telling content and that partner with social media influencers will see the biggest gains this next year.
In order to understand how to actually implement those strategies, you need to understand how the changes within the Facebook platform will impact your current social media strategy and how you can make adjustments to gain results.
What is Facebook looking for in order to determine where you rank?
This is now how Facebook will be determining whose content will be visible:
Types of Content:
Facebook will be giving preferred ranking to video with a high completion rate and longer video. (Videos should be 45-90 seconds in length)
Facebook Live will also be given higher ranking status and will show up first on NewsFeeds. Regular video is great....Live video is better.
Preferred status for authentic and timely posts.
Facebook will now penalize posts with negative feedback in comments and posts that have a more negative spin to them.
Timely posts is also going to be given preference. Posts that are of immediate interest, current events, trending topics will be prioritized by Facebook.
Realistically, 1.6% - 2% will only see your organic posts. Facebook will be configuring how many friends of users also follow your page and if the user themselves are passively or actively engaged with you to begin with. Those people that just 'like' your page? They aren't your authentic audience that will see you organically anymore. You'll lose the most visibility who have liked your page but never interacted with you. The more people share your content, the more likes you receive. Thus, the more visibility/reach your business will have.
OK...so what are we supposed to do with this new world of Facebook?
*To be blunt, if you aren't investing in your facebook ad strategy, Facebook will not help you GROW your business. Just throwing up a bunch of posts won't be helping you. And while we have seen this for the last few years, it's the absolute new reality with Facebook- beginning today. You've got to pay to play.
*You need to have a more focused effort around story-telling. Telling a compelling story around your brand, just dumping products or your services on your Facebook page will no longer work (and honestly...this hasn't worked the last few years. either...)
*Quality and consistent content and engagement on your page is something that will help to spike your organic reach. The more people you have engaging with you, the more you will show up on peoples NewsFeeds.
*Now is the time to engage and partner with influencers. User generated content is where you can gain the most traction.
*Partner with other business owners in your community and create a cross promotion strategy. Work together within your community to help gain traction and visibility with your followers and targeted demographic.
*Have conversations. Not salesy ones. Real ones. Connect and talk to people within your community on their pages and lead authentic conversation. Don't give sales pitches. Be a 'real' person.
*Create compelling Ads and a budget for your Ad Strategy. Create customer avatars. Really KNOW who your targeted audience is and create targeted ads for the demographic that you need to connect with.
*No more boosting posts. Very low conversion value and does not target audiences who use you or would use you.
Your business needs to stay more relevant than ever.
60% of consumers visit your Facebook before visiting your brick and mortar location. They aren't necessarily going to your web page, they are going to your facebook page to see your most timely information.
80% of people are more inclined to buy if they find your page active. Now is NOT the time to jump ship on Facebook. Now is the time to shift your strategy.
65% of consumers say Facebook is the most useful social media platform- and it's not going anywhere. At the same time, don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Create events and groups that add to your audience and within your community.
Social Media isn't easy. It's not a quick fix or a one-stop shop. It never has been. It is, however, necessary and crucial for your business to have the right combination of creativity, analysis and patience with Facebook and other social media platforms.
Changes will continue to cause whiplash within the industry and for businesses. Always. Social Media is fluid and constantly evolving. And this much we know, just as you think you've figured out the perfect combination and determine what is working for your business....it will change yet again.