Facebook’s Newest Algorithm Update
Yesterday, Facebook announced another update to its news feed algorithm. In summary, Facebook took the information received from recent user surveys, identified key user trends/desires, and discovered that the amount of content noise within news feeds had left users feeling dissatisfied with the content they were being served. Users don’t seem to care as much about seeing which of their friends have liked or commented on a post, but are worried about missing important updates from friends they care about. So to make their experience more personalized, Facebook is working to achieve a better balance between updates from friends vs. pages.
As a social media marketer, I have been studying and dissecting Facebook’s news feed algorithm for several years now. I have written many articles on the subject based on what we have discovered within our own case studies, sometimes including some grumble about how difficult Facebook has made it for brands to retain news feed visibility organically.
But perhaps as Facebook’s algorithm has matured, so has my own approach on the subject. As content marketing has grown in importance over the last couple of years, marketers have learned that in order to obtain a constant flow of value exchange between brands and consumers, we must put consumers first. By meeting their needs and desires via meaningful content output, whether problem-solving or entertaining, we are able to not only grab their attention, but retain it.
Likewise, Facebook is focused on creating a positive and engaging user experience by putting the desires of its users at the center of its platform and content consumption experience. Facebook, after all, is about connecting people with the content they find interesting, whether it’s updates from friends or their favorite brands. If you have ever had the opportunity to listen to Mark Zuckerberg talk about his vision for Facebook, then you have witnessed the incredible energy and drive that comes from a single desire: personalized connectivity with what matters to each individual user.
While I am sure there will be many articles bouncing around the web and social space focusing much on what I have done in the past – groaning about yet another algorithm change, don’t panic just yet. In fact, Facebook and your brand’s content marketing strategy are closer aligned than you might think. Consumers are changing the way that marketers develop, package and distribute content. Gone are the days of throwing out content to see what sticks, and in are the days of tailoring content to targeted audience needs and preferred channels and devices. Whether a social platform or a brand’s content strategy, we must all evolve and modify our tactics based on consumer behavior and feedback.
We have already learned as social media marketers that brand speak has much less of an impact on consumer behavior than word of mouth marketing. For this reason, marketers should be focusing a large part of their social strategy on activating brand advocates for greater visibility and brand recognition.
Here are some key tactics to ensure your brand retains visibility in users news feeds:
- Is your content meaningful and share-worthy? Is it relevant to your brand and audience?
- Make sure content on your owned sites (website, blog) is optimized for social sharing. Are social share buttons in place? Are there compelling visuals?
- Are you encouraging consumers to share product/service experiences via UGC (user generated content)? Are you leveraging hashtag campaigns or promoting UGC through share-worthy customer experiences? Is UGC integrated across offline and digital marketing channels? It should be!
- Are you including CTA’s (call-to-actions) in Facebook posts, including videos? What is desired consumer action?
- Consider increasing Facebook post frequency, but be sure to gauge Fan response to ensure you’re not just adding to their content noise
- Don’t forget you can now embed Facebook videos within your own publishing sites – this is a great way to continue building engagement for native videos on Facebook
- Visuals posted to Facebook should be thumb-stoppers. Help fight through content noise through impactful media that evokes emotion or is visually stimulating.
I’ll end on one last note. Facebook would not still be the #1 social media network after so many years if they were not so focused on their users. As social media marketers, our goals are no different. Without being customer focused and committed to understanding our target audiences’ interests, needs, challenges and preferences, in addition to our own brand objectives, we cannot achieve impactful connections and user experiences that provide brands with sustainability.