How do the changes to Facebook’s algorithm affect business social media strategy?
What is an algorithm?
An algorithm is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. In the context of this article it is the set of rules by which Facebook places posts on its user’s newsfeed. This decides who gets to see what and how different types of posts are prioritised on the website.
What changes have Facebook made?
The change that Facebook have made is they are now placing emphasis on ‘meaningful social interactions’. The reason Facebook have done this is to promote the well-being of their users. Their research has shown that genuine interactions between friends is the best way in which to promote well-being on the site.
What do the changes mean?
The changes to emphasise ‘meaningful social interactions’ coincide with a reduction in the organic reach of brands and businesses. In order to prioritise the interactions between friends, Facebook has reduced the ability of businesses to reach the people that have liked their page.
What should businesses do to counteract the changes Facebook have made?
There are a number of things that companies can do in order to alter their social media strategy in order to offset the negative effects of the changes to Facebook’s algorithm.
Use Facebook as a place to post community posts that encourage debate. This is likely to engage your customers who see the post leading to debate in the comments. This will increase the reach of the post whilst engaging your customer base more readily with your brand.
Use other forms of social media. Another way of skirting around the changes in the way Facebook works for companies is to concentrate on other forms of social media such as Twitter and Instagram. Forms that allow more scope to create organic reach.
Begin to merge social media with more traditional forms of marketing. With the advent of social media too many companies have focused their marketing strategy totally through the internet. Potential customers are becoming bored of the remote feel of social media marketing. This has made them more receptive to more traditional forms of marketing, such as marketing and sales packs.
Facebook marketing and advertisements. By reducing the ability for companies to reach their customers organically. Facebook hopes to push companies towards the advertisement side of the site. Whilst this is not the solution for everyone it can be an effective form of marketing if you have the budget. The key is to make sure that you target your customer base effectively. Keep the field fairly narrow in both scope of customer and the geographical area that you are targeting. This will ensure you reach people who are likely to purchase your product. For many business leaders this is a good time to invest in social media marketing before large companies raise the prices to a point where small businesses cannot compete. Gary Vaynerchuck even went as far to call it the ‘golden age’ of Facebook marketing.