Tips For Businesses to Battle Facebook's Newsfeed Algorithm Change
Last Thursday, Facebook announced that they will be making big changes to their newsfeed algorithm. This will mostly impact brands and brand pages. As marketers and businesses, this always provides a bit of a shake up. How do we get our content seen? How will our messages be shared? What do we do now?
Hold tight real quick. This isn't like we're all stuck on the Titanic and there are no more lifeboats. We'll all be ok. This isn't the first time this has happened and it certainly won't be the last. But what it does mean is it's time to get creative. Creative and authentic. This change is targeted to hit brands who continue to push click bait and nonsense out to the masses on Facebook. Facebook is trying to enhance the user experience, making it easier to connect with one another again. This is a good thing people. If you're creating authentic content that truly connects with your audiences, you're on the right path. If you're not, time to change your strategy ASAP.
Now, just because you create authentic content though, still doesn't mean that your content is going to be seen. Over the past years we've seen organic content reach from brand profiles shrink drastically and this new update is another layer on an endless tiered cake. Alexandra Frumberg, Founder and Creative Director of social media agency, ALX Creatives, wisely stated, "It's important to remember this is all a game. The key to long term success is to be real, add value and connect with people. Facebook makes a lot of money off of brands, so paid opportunities will not be going away, but nonetheless, it's a game. The winners will be those who connect with their audiences in the most authentic fashion, whether it's paid or not."
So, what do we do? How can you battle this most recent Facebook newsfeed algorithm update?
Well, here are a few ideas.
Understand your audience.
All marketing efforts need to start here. Before we start brainstorming ways to combat social media algorithm changes, let's make sure we're finding your audiences on the right platforms. Facebook is a great platform for finding targeted audiences, but a lot of that happens through paid efforts. First, make sure your audience is on Facebook. If they aren't, where are they? Are they on Instagram? Pinterest? Twitter? LinkedIn? Blogs? Podcasts? Quora? Always start where your audience already exists. Don't try to swim upstream here, it's not worth it. Find them, make sure you're talking their talk and walking their walk, then let's get creative.
This is really what it all comes down to. How do you differentiate yourself? How do you create content that matters to your target audience? Are you using keyword research tools to help you with your content efforts? Does your imagery blend in with your competitors? Is your brand recognizable? What questions is your audience asking and can you answer them in a creative way? At the end of the day great content will win out. So get creative with it.
Build brand ambassadors.
If Facebook is saying that people's content will be shared more than brands, then by all means, let's find the people. Again, with authentic content and with a message that adds value and purpose, but this is where being real wins. This concept is relevant on all platforms, but definitely hits the nail on the head here with Facebook. You might want to think about building out an influencer marketing strategy as well, if that makes sense for your business.
Create and engage in communities.
If you are involved in an industry where you have others interested in chiming in on topics, industry change, best practices, newest trends, etc. create a community or Facebook group. By doing so you now have control of and access to this prime hot spot of brand ambassadors and industry movers and shakers. Think about it. It's a creative alternative where you can still share your brand's content and get it seen.
Invest in content marketing.
We always say to invest in your website because it's one of the few things you actually own online. Content is the same way. If you invest in your content marketing strategy and create relevant content for various channels, you're creating owned assets. You can place them wherever you'd like. No matter what other platforms do, you can place it on your website or throughout your blog. This is a great wakeup call for all brands and marketers that if we rely too heavily on a platform we have no control over, we can be playing in dangerous waters. Create content. Own your content. Own where you place your content.
Invest in paid content distribution.
Yes, there are other places to reach your audience than Facebook. And yes, we know you probably don't want to hear about how you have to have to pay someone to publish the content you likely just paid someone else to create. But unfortunately, that's the name of the game. It's becoming a pay to play world out there. Our friends at Orbit Media published a blog post on creative paid content distribution opportunities to get your content seen. See, getting creative is already paying off.
Invest in video.
We've been hearing about this for a while now, but those weren't rumors just flying around, they were warning signs. Video has taken over most, if not all, major social media platforms and also bodes well in search as well. This isn't terribly surprising as YouTube is the second largest search engine and Google owns YouTube. Go figure. Video is a highly effective way to engage your audience, tell your story and get your creative juices flowing all at once. When visiting a video strategy, we encourage bite-size videos and lots of them. Research shows that 90 second videos can hold attention as well as 30 second videos, but once you hit 120 seconds, you're entering the deer in the headlights zone. However, keep in mind, people see straight through crap. Let's be honest. Don't waste your target audience's time if you don't actually have anything to say. Say your piece and then give them their time back.
Carve out a paid social budget.
We know. It's inevitable. But the reality is that at the end of the day, it's a pay to play world now and it's not going to get any cheaper. If you're working on a budget, that's another reason why we really recommend getting creative with your outreach efforts. Even if you're not working on a tight budget, still get creative. But at the end of the day, you're going to want to have some type of paid support for your social media marketing efforts. No matter what platform, it's a crucial element to the overall marketing mix. It's important to keep in mind that this is more than just clicking "Boost" on your Facebook posts. This is about finding the right person or type of people for that specific piece of content and ensuring it's crafted for maximum impact with that person. Think through it. Don't just throw dollars at the "Boost" button.
All in all, don't fret. It'll be ok. As digital marketers, every algorithm change is a curve ball, but at the end of the day the winning concepts always prevail: add value and be authentic. Without fail. However, as always, focus on what you can control. You can know your business and your target audience better than anyone else. You can get creative, invest in a solid content marketing strategy, build owned assets, create video, be intentional in your paid strategy and continue owning your authenticity.
Worst case scenario, another major change will happen in a few months time and we'll all be having this same conversation again.
Because it's a game. The rules just keep changing. Time to stack your lineup.
Owner & CEO
Kiley Peters is the Owner and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a boutique digital content marketing and website creation agency primarily serving brands targeting millennial moms. She is also the Founder of the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurial moms through the steps of starting a virtual business. She is the President of 414digital, Milwaukee’s dedicated digital marketing organization and a member of TEMPO’s Emerging Women Leaders program. Follow her on Instagram.more posts by Kiley →