On January 11, Mark Zuckerberg announced a new algorithm for Facebook that will influence the likeliness that your posts appear on your target audience´s newsfeed.
The reason behind was that “posts from businesses, brands and media are crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” So in a way, Facebook moves back to its roots to help people staying connected. “With this update, we will prioritize posts that spark conversation and meaningful interactions.” And put family and friends first.
Good news for private people, but what does it mean for businesses? As an immediate reaction, Facebook´s trading price dropped more than 5% at the day of announcement. But is it only negative for B2B companies? Is it the end of brands on Facebook or do we have ways to meet the new requirements?
In this article we summarize what is important to ensure your Facebook initiatives are still successful.
Engagement, conversation and meaningful interactions
The most important consequence of the change is obvious: Facebook wants content that inspires users to communicate, contribute, comment and co-create. For most B2B companies this is not a new strategy anymore, since engagement should have been in focus for a while now.
It is certainly the end of commercial product ads or boring company updates that don´t attract reactions and comments. But is this really a disadvantage for a brand? Don´t we want to stick out of the crowd by doing things better than others?
On top of that, the new level of engagement requires you to make sure your employees are on board, post, like and share on their private profiles. This will strengthen the relationship and connection of your employees when they act as ambassadors for your brand. Can´t be wrong, or?
As Matt Owen said on e-consultancy´s digital marketing blog: “It´s influencer marketing, from the most powerful influencers in people´s lives: Friends and family.”
In conclusion there is no need to panic. Don´t get hectic and start creating “engagement baiting” or “click baiting“ posts that encourage commenting or liking but create little value. Facebooks machine learning model detects those baits and removes them from the newsfeed.
The quality of your content will be the differentiator for the success or failure of your Facebook activities. Whatever you create, look at it from a user perspective. Ask yourself the question if your post is relevant to your audience. Does the tone of voice fit and does the content create interaction? Is it something that your audience wants to comment or share with a friend?
Be creative, think outside the box and try new ways to create that type of meaningful material that Zuckerberg wants to see the community interacting with.
B2B companies who have always been good at that, will give applause to the new algorithm, since their content will find its way into the newsfeed, while click-bait posts will disappear.
Tips to increase the reach and stay on top of the newsfeed
Throughout all literature about the new Facebook algorithm, there is one tip that is on everybody´s list: use the “Facebook Live” option to broadcast to your audience in real-time. Your page fans are automatically invited once you go live. There are multiple options – think of product launches, product demos, service tips, media updates or a look behind the scenes of your company.
Facebook Live creates between 5-6 times more attention, than a conventional video post. On top of that, less than 30% of B2B companies use that feature, so it is underutilized and will help you stand out.
Jen McDonnell of Reshift media recommends another option: create dedicated Facebook groups to generate user interactions. According to Facebook, Group content will get the same exposure as posts from family and friends. Groups are ideal for you to get in close contact with your audience and enhance your relationship.
Do you feel confident that you already deliver what your page´s fans want? Then you are ready to ask them to manually override the algorithm and select your page as one they want to see first in their feed – next to friends and family. This can be done in their personal newsfeed under “preferences” and “prioritize who to see first” or on your brand page itself by clicking on “following” and then choose “see first”.
With the new algorithm, quality wins over quantity. As a B2B company, you should not post daily or even several times a day. There are different recommendations among experts, ranging from 1-4 posts per week being more than enough. We think the answer is in the middle and 2-3 posts per week are ideal.
What about paid promotions?
What does it mean for paid ads or Facebook like campaigns? Will they become more expensive? And are they worth the money at all?
For a well-known channel of a B2B company with a stable fan base, Facebook like campaigns don´t seem to be an appropriate way to extend the reach. But for selected, well created posts with strong engagement options, it will still be an option to promote this particular post within your community or also to others to reach organic increase.
But not everyone is still in favor of paid promotions. Elevation Marketing in turn calls the new algorithm “a way towards more of a pay-to-play platform” where you need to invest money into Facebook advertising to increase reach. They suggest to consider moving onto an owned medium that you have control of, such as a company blog or your website. Doing so, you can use Social media to gain traffic to those platforms.
Monitoring & strategy adjustment
The clear expectation by all experts is that the new algorithm will decrease your organic reach. You can compensate that to a certain extent by delivering engaging high-quality content, but overall as a B2B company you will face losses.
It is a good advice to monitor the performance of your posts and learn from them. Who is interacting at what time? Which days are more likely to create attention? Which topics reach most engagement? Use the Insights function and let the detailed information help you to adjust your editorial planning.
Also have a look at mentions for your brand across the social networks to see what type of content is created on personal profiles. Like and share those and use them in your favor as well.
You will need to adjust your strategy and editorial plan to meet the new requirements. Try, test, learn and adjust. That´s daily business for marketers.
Almost all experts advise to stay calm, don´t panic and learn, to get what we all want from Social Media – engagement with those that are relevant to us.
Post from Mark Zuckerberg
Octopusgroup blog, Sarah Metherell
Web Strategy Plus
Reshift Media, Jen McDonnell