Panic ensued among many entrepreneurs earlier this week when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social platform’s newsfeed algorithm will henceforth de-prioritize content from businesses, brands and the media in favour of “meaningful social interactions” with friends and family.
It’s always been difficult to strike the right balance with content to gain organic reach for business marketing on Facebook – now will it be well-nigh impossible? This seems to be a blow that will hit small businesses in particular; those without the budget to pay for Facebook ads (which remain unaffected).
Dentons digital social media experts advise though that all is not lost! This new Facebook algorithm just demands a change of approach and more attention to content creation. To fall in line with Zuckerberg’s desire for time on Facebook to be “time well spent”, and to fulfil his aim of “meaningful interaction”, businesses will have to be clever with their page posts.
The key to success will now be not just notching up “likes” and “shares” on your insights page, but actual engagement. You need to post content that brings reactions and comments from real, interested people. It means posts that prompt conversations between friends.
Don’t think you can get around the new algorithm with clever “bait” tricks, like posting a picture of an adorable puppy and asking your audience to “Comment if you think this is cute”. Facebook will see through these spam attempts.
THE HUMAN TOUCH
Unfortunately if you’ve been relying on professionally designed “poster” type picture-posts to spread your commercial message on Facebook, those will now rarely be seen on newsfeeds. Scheduling a week’s worth of such posts in advance will also be a waste of your time, because they’ll be shunned by Facebook in favour of showing users more pictures of their Aunty Jane’s new kitten, or cousin Jim’s 21ST birthday party.
This requires some new tactics for your social media marketing – tactics that make use of psychology and the human touch. In fact, if it’s done right the new regime could mean you’ll be forced to produce good quality content that will carry more weight with your customers.
Here are some tips to try for promoting your business as you face up to the new algorithm:
- Live videos are very much in favour under the new algorithm, so get streaming! Brainstorm some ideas – everything from filming your tea break to your production line.
- Make posts about human events rather than “advertorial” – be yourself and be present.
- Post about trending topics.
- Post frequently, which means constantly being alert for potential fresh content.
- Ask questions to encourage answers in the comments.
- Start one or two Facebook groups allied to your business interests, as a new way to engage with customers.
- It’s okay to encourage your followers to mark you as a favourite by making use of the “See First” option in their news feed preferences.
- If you really want to get noticed on Facebook, then you’ll have to face paying for the pleasure. Invest in Facebook advertising – at least you know such advertising can be tightly targeted at the right audience.