Doctor Digital, I understand that Facebook has changed its algorithm again and it is going to be even harder to get my business noticed. What’s Zuckerberg up to now?
Facebook. Beautiful one day, fake news the next. To try and right the balance between endless dubious content flowing through your news feed, Facebook has decided to make the social channel more family and friends oriented and less full of clickbait. This shift translates to users having quality over quantity, and businesses having to make sure their quantity IS quality.
While nobody knows for sure what the impact of the news feed changes will be, businesses can take some clues from the few constants in Facebook that centre on priority being given to “meaningful interactions.” Meaningful interactions are code for comments, and lots of them. While undoubtedly the science is complex, the action is simple – your posts need to be compelling, speak directly to your audience, and prompt what Zuckerberg describes as “conversations between friends.”
This doesn’t mean you should swing into a panicked posting of engagement-bait, posts that relentlessly ask your tribe to comment on meaningless things to simulate conversation. Nuh-uh. Facebook bots are all over that, and when that behaviour happens, the visibility of your post will be decreased. Fundamentally, you need to post material that is topical and interesting and will spark some comment. The more comments, the more it will show up in family and friends feeds, and the more it will show in others' feeds.
It’s no secret that for the last couple of years Facebook has been pushing brands and people to live video. The organisation claims that video gets up to six times more interaction and comments than static posts. Surprise, surprise in Mark Zuckerberg’s recent address about how the platform was changing, he announced that live video is going to perform highly under the new algorithm changes, encouraging people to use it, and use it often. If you have been unsure about how to use Facebook’s live stream feature, there is never a better time to be live. For help with how to do Facebook live streaming, check out this Digital Ready video.
Facebook Groups are also being strengthened by the changes, driven by the nature of Groups as a place for discussions on specialist topics and communities of interest. Group pages function alongside of your business page, and are a great place for natural conversations to occur, usually driven by the community itself. While effort needs to go in to get the group set up and cohesive, once it is established, much of the content can be created within and by the group. It would be wise to monitor these conversations for tips check out this previous Doctor Digital blog post.
One thing that’s not changing about the Facebook news feed is the ability for users to make sure they always see posts from their favourite Pages by choosing “See First” in their news feed preferences. This means businesses shouldn’t be shy about asking customers to follow their page on Facebook and join their Groups.
It’s easy to be cynical about Facebook and its motives for constantly changing their engagement goalposts as simply a grab for cash by forcing businesses to pay for more advertising. Another way to look at it is that this is a chance at the beginning of the year to do an audit on how you are communicating with your people. If you have been in business for a while it's time to revisit your analytics, your people and your content, and freshen up. Split testing or A/B testing is going to give you deeper detail on what posts are actually stimulating conversation, and this is a tried and true way of making sure you are meaningfully engaging with customers.
If your customers are chatting with you like you are family and friends, you haven’t just nailed Facebook, you’ve nailed the actual reason you went into business in the first place.