Please note that I will not be looking at Facebook’s decision to let go of their human editors for the trending section replacing them them with an algorithm. I mean we have all seen the McChicken story. Rather, I will be looking at the new newsfeed algorithm and how businesses can work around it.
There have been several changes to Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm over the years. The algorithm is the mechanics or formula behind what Facebook users get to see on their timelines (I hope you still didn’t think it was random). Many years ago the newsfeed was purely chronological and you would see posts from your friends sorted from the latest in descending order (what a nightmare). Facebook then realized that this meant the time you logged on heavily influenced whether you would get to see any information that is relevant or that is in the very least, relevant to you. The less a person saw relevant information when they went on to Facebook, the less time they started spending on Facebook ultimately. This was I’m sure one of the reasons why we started seeing changes, from image(meme) intensive at one point to catching up with the growing desire for video.
Some of the most recent (July 2016 type of recent) changes have seen Facebook altering the newsfeed to show you information that is more “personal” to you. This means you are more likely to see posts from family members who content you generally enjoy viewing, it also mean they are cutting out on generic oversupplied content. Included in the measurements of what would generally be seen more was the time, yes time, that people spent on posts. Facebook this time around has been guided by their research in which they found that people generally wanted two things from Facebook: to be informed and to be entertained. As a business now, the challenge will be positioning yourself as providing one of the two, or both. I highly doubt posting your catalog counts as the type of “informed” people are looking for at Facebook.
As a business this means several things for Facebook Marketing. Firstly, it means this will not be the year to spam users, working with the assumption that if you post something a lot and at different times you will reach more people may not be necessarily correct this time around. Secondly generating generic views will be very difficult largely due to the nature of the content that Facebook is availing on the newsfeed with the focus being on personal which most business posts cannot be even if they tried. Thirdly, it may be time to put a budget allocation for boosted posts and sponsoring the page. Its quite clear that it will not be as easy to reach people on
What Business may need to do
Customer engagement – if the focus of Facebook is going to be letting people see posts made by the people close to them then your goal is simple right? Be what those people are talking about. Engage consumers on Facebook who have liked your page, encourage and reward them for sharing content about you and your products. It would I guess be like finding the right (unspamming) mix between network marketing and almost pure customer experience sharing. That will get you somewhere. Definitely. Of course an idea like this only has a few months before its starts getting abused and the Facebook team deals with it for the sanity of our newsfeeds. The lesson here should be, “Get people to share their stories”
Entertain them. The next best thing to allowing people to share their stories is giving them a great story to follow. Take a step away from the normal image and video based marketing campaigns and add a twist to it. Stop creating campaigns that can be expressed at once, or rather express your campaign over time. Story format with a great introduction, a capturing plot that has all the things we know work with stories (mystery, love, action). In short, give them a series. A series that will prompt people to search for your page and come looking for you instead of waiting the miracle that is your arrival on their timeline. It doesn’t even have to be viral, you have your avatar and you know what interests them. Give them that.
Invest in Boosting Posts. I’m not sure if this was the original idea, but the most likely thing to happen is that boosting posts will become the best alternative if you cant work with your content to make it entertaining or informingly relevant. This may sound like the easier route but it is far from it. A lot of marketers feel like boosting posts is a waste or it does not generate sales; that is mostly because of the errors in their part. Promoting and Boosting requires a great amount of awareness on the business side. Awareness of your consumers, who they are, what they like, what interests them, how they want you to talk to them. Knowing all that will make sure boosting and promoting posts works for you and your smiling in spite of the algorithm changes.
There is nothing to lose in trying this, there is a lot however to gain. A lot of happy customers and a lot of new customers. Facebook cares enough about its customers to make the necessary changes that make the experience on Facebook great. It’s your job to do the same. For their sake, and mostly for yours.
Remember to continuously.imprive yourself. #kaizenYOU