Facebook Algorithm Changes: Don’t Panic, Just Plan

By in Social Marketing,

Just before Pokemon Go furor took the world by storm, Facebook announced that it would promote posts from friends and family to our News Feeds to the detriment of posts from brands. The panic was palpable. Another algorithm change. Woe is me (and anybody else managing Facebook ads strategy).

Not so fast. If we know one thing for certain, change is constant and it plays itself out every day behind the scenes as the almighty and mysterious social media algorithm gods determine our collective fates.

Our advice? Take a deep breath. Roll with it. It’s not the first, nor will it be the last time that our social media strategies need to adjust to fancies of an algorithm change. Let’s be clear. It does impact your Facebook strategy. You should pay attention to it. And, yes, it’s a bummer. But, let’s save the panic for something more worthwhile, because there are things you should do today so that Facebook continues to be a worthwhile endeavor for your business.

Why You Should Still Invest in Social Media

Since 2015, social media surpassed search as the top source of referral traffic responsible for 45% of the overall traffic (and Facebook had the biggest piece of the social media pie).

Top Traffic Referral Sources2

So, it’s not time to throw in the towel and give up. According to Contently, even before this update was announced, there were signals that “times, they are a changin'” including the decline in Facebook shares and the preference Facebook gave for video posts over posts with external links.

Ever the altruistic outlet, Facebook announced its priority is to keep you connected to those you want to be connected to starting with who you are friends with on Facebook. When sorting through more than 1,500 stories per day to keep its 1.65 billion Facebook users happy, content from your friend is more likely to appear higher on your News Feed than a post from a brand—even if all things were the same. Bottom line: The success of Facebook depends on helping you see the stories that matter to you most.

Facebook post from friend     Facebook post by brand

What Do People Want in their Facebook News Feed?

So, what are these mysterious stories that matter most to people? If you find that magical formula, you can alter your Facebook strategy to accommodate and win.

First, as we mentioned, Facebook tries to help you catch posts from those you are most likely to care about—friends and family—so, they put those at the top of your News Feed.

Then, your News Feed gets smarter over time. If you seem to always react to videos of your cousin’s puppy, Facebook will start putting those posts at the top of your News Feed. Aside from that, according to Buffer Social and Facebook research, a News Feed tries to predict what content will inform and entertain you personally—a unique hodgepodge of videos, celebrity gossip, local news, recipes or whatever Facebook predicts you would find informative or entertaining.

Strategies to Adjust to Facebook’s News Feed Changes

When Facebook announced these changes, social media strategy consultant Amy Porterfield went Live on Facebook with these 3 Super Strategies to deal with the changes.

1. Build a Solid Content Strategy
Think of your Facebook News Feed as a delivery mechanism for all of your content—videos, blogs, white papers, webinars, etc. Based on what we know about how Facebook determines what content gets fed at the top of our News Feeds, you need to develop shareworthy content that will INFORM or ENTERTAIN. Porterfield relies on the E3 philosophy from Tony Robbins, and produces content that educates, entertains or empowers. THIS is the content that will be shared.

Our friends and family want to share content that makes THEM look good, smart, funny. Truth? So, give it to them. Make people feel an emotion and they will be more likely to share the content and make it “contagious” (viral), to borrow the phrase from David Halpern.

Since Facebook has been pushing video lately, part of your content mix should most definitely include video.

Quality content helps you build a quality email list. Then you can continue to nurture that list with more quality content. This is the way to make your business consistently successful according to Porterfield.

2. Use Facebook Live
Video is Facebook’s golden child at the moment. Porterfield has seen great organic reach with Facebook Live video, and Facebook favors Live posts in the News Feed. You can even repurpose Live videos into a podcast or use it in an ad.

3. Facebook Ads
Facebook advertising has matured since 2009, and seems to only get better because Facebook is making a concerted effort to improve it, said Porterfield. Using Facebook advertising is still a solid strategy if you’re a business. Create an epic blog post (see No. 1 on Content Strategy), embed a lead magnet (freebie) and then use Facebook ads to get eyeballs on that blog post.

How to Use This Information

Nobody but those behind the scenes at Facebook truly knows the levers they are pushing to favor content in your News Feed. However, if you build a solid foundation with quality content including video, build your email list and then nurture those leads, these blips and curveballs to the algorithm won’t cause lasting damage to your business. We are here to review your content strategy and social media channels to ensure that you are prepared for the next algorithm shift—because we might not know when it will occur, but we know it will. Give us a call at 303-300-2640 or contact us online.

How have you altered your Facebook strategy in response to Facebook’s algorithm change?

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