With over two billion monthly active users, Facebook is the undisputed leader of social media. For many years now, businesses have been using this platform to increase brand awareness and build relationships with their customers. Facebook has helped many businesses deliver targeted advertising and get more traffic on their websites.
While many businesses have diverse sources of traffic and Facebook is just one of them; there are others that heavily rely on Facebook to distribute their content and generate website traffic. For these businesses, Facebook News Feed is a ticket to success as they depend on it for organic traffic.
So, when Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, announces any major change in Facebook News Feed, it cannot go unnoticed. And if the change is as big as the one announced on January 11, it is bound to ruffle feathers in the digital media business community.
In a post published on his timeline, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook News Feed algorithm would be altered to prioritize content from friends and family. The News Feed algorithm of Facebook that determines which posts are visible to the users and in what order, will be overhauled to increase the number of friends’ posts and reduce the number of public posts such as videos, articles, memes etc. This is being done to encourage meaningful interaction among users and give them a sense of community.
What does it mean for the users?
If you are a Facebook user, expect to see more stuff from people you are connected to. This also means that you will see fewer posts from businesses and publishers. Moreover, you will have a say in deciding the trustworthiness of media companies. Facebook will ask its users to take surveys and decide which publishers are most trustworthy and credible. The stories from the most trusted sources will get a preference over others in the News Feed.
What does it mean for businesses?
The brands and social media marketing companies will need to create more shareable content that sparks conversations. If they fail to do so, their organic reach will take a hit. On the face of it, Facebook algorithm changes may seem detrimental to the interests of businesses for two reasons – 1) The organic reach of businesses will reduce 2) The businesses will have to pay a higher advertising cost.
But is it really the end of the road for brands that depend on Facebook News Feed for viewership? Or is it the sputnik moment for brands that will encourage them to produce more quality content instead of those cranky videos and bizarre memes?
Here are some of the ways to deal with the latest changes –
Produce engaging content:
Facebook will place more value on ‘meaningful social interactions’. This means, as long as your post is getting meaningful engagement (long comments and conversations), it will appear in the News Feed. In other words, it will be less about passive ‘likes’, and more about commenting and sharing. Therefore, the focus should be on creating richer, relevant and more valuable content that encourages people to interact and comment.
Also Read: Why is your Social Media Page not effective?
Use Facebook ads:
Facebook ad costs have increased significantly over the past few months. The latest algorithm changes will increase ad costs even further as businesses will see a decline in their organic reach and will be prompted to use ads to improve visibility. Despite rising costs, Facebook ads are a great way to increase exposure and generate leads. With Facebook ads, the businesses can be picky about their target audience. They can choose their audience on the basis of several factors such as age, gender, interests, location and behavior.
Diversify your social media presence:
Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea. If you depend solely on Facebook for traffic, it’s high time you expanded your social media presence. It’s important to stay prepared for any future Facebook algorithm changes. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media platforms can help you reach a large number of people.
The algorithm changes announced by Facebook would not be music to the ears of brands and small businesses. However, these changes also present a unique opportunity to provide more engaging content to Facebook users. And ultimately, the changes in the News Feed are aimed at improving the experience of the users by making them feel more connected to their loved ones. This will, in the long run, make Facebook a better platform and also help brands connect with their customers in a more meaningful way.
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