Unsurprisingly, the news sent social media managers across the globe into something of a tizzy, with dozens upon dozens of think-pieces asking: what does this mean for brands? Are we about to witness the end of publishers on Facebook? And so forth.
The truth is, this algorithm change WILL challenge brands – and there’s little doubt that we’re going to see a dip in certain traditional KPIs, such as reach. However, there is a silver lining…
Facebook has become cluttered with junk content over recent years, making it difficult for legitimate brands to compete against the “you’ll never guess what happened next!” headlines. With less clickbait content clogging up the News Feed, brands with good quality content and smart social strategy are in a unique position to set themselves apart from competitors.
So, the next question is… what does good quality content and smart social strategy actually look like?
In order to survive and thrive in the age of the new algorithm, we need to take a look at the direction Facebook has been steering itself towards in recent months. As all loyal This Week In Social readers will know, there have been a few prominent themes which shed light into Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the company – and piggybacking on these trends will put brands in good stead for the future… if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?
Here are a few ways to smarten your brand’s Facebook strategy going forward:
1. Humanise your brand
Zuckerberg’s statement specifically mentions that content from brands should “encourage meaningful interactions between people”. That means the onus is on brands to share content which creates discussion and builds community.
There are a number of ways to do this:
- Share content which has a human-interest angle, such as behind-the-scenes content, personal anecdotes and customer case studies
- Produce rich, valuable content which encourages discussion and is relevant (and useful!) to your target audience
- Establish a defined brand tone-of-voice to ensure your content has personality
- Utilise influencers to give your brand a human face (more on this later)
2. Embrace the video boom
Video has exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years – and with all social networks making big investments in video content, technologies and streaming deals, we don’t see it losing momentum anytime soon.
In his statement, Zuckerberg drops a big hint about how brands can make the most of it, saying: “We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones.”
Translation: Brands should get into live video streaming if they want to make the cut on the new News Feed.
3. Utilise Influencer marketing
Influencers are able to build credibility with their audiences in a way that brands are often unable to. In this sense, their interactions with their followers are more friend-to-friend than business-to-customer. Sound familiar? Sounds exactly like what Zuckerberg is preaching, if you ask us!
Fortunately, influencer marketing gives brands an opportunity to tap into an influencer’s loyal and engaged follower base. This can be done by producing content in collaboration with recognisable influencers, and sharing it from the brand page to stir discussions and generate “meaningful social interactions”.
4. Paid Campaigns
As most brands will know, it’s almost impossible to grow your Facebook presence without paid advertising support. This will be even more so the case following the algorithm change.
The truth is, for most brands it’s a worthwhile investment. With over 2 billion users and pinpoint targeting capabilities, Facebook ads are a proven way of reaching target audiences. Experts predict that in 2018, we’ll see a minimum increase of 15% of total spend in a brand’s marketing budget for Facebook ads.
And if Zuckerberg’s bid to improve user experience on the platform pays off, then that can only make Facebook a more attractive place for brands to spend advertising budgets. Stay tuned.
The News Feed update will no doubt challenge brands to re-think aspects of their social strategy. But it also presents an opportunity to build more meaningful relationships with your target audience. For tailored advice on how your business can optimise social strategy ahead of the Facebook algorithm change, please contact LEWIS Digital.
Read Mark Zuckerberg’s full statement here.