It has recently been announced that we can expect fairly major changes to the Facebook news feed and how we currently use the platform. Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg said it was his 2018 personal mission to “Fix Facebook” and it looks like he isn’t waiting around.
The new algorithm changes will affect what we see in our news feeds by prioritising person-to-person interaction as opposed to person-to-page. This means that current organic reach of brand and publisher content will be significantly reduced.
Facebook has been quite open about this as part of its vision to encourage more meaningful conversations between people. It is also expected that users will spend less time on the platform, but the time that they do spend on Facebook will be more valuable and enjoyable.
This presents a unique set of challenges to brands. Reacting and evolving social strategies in line with these changes is imperative to ensure brands and publishers see valuable engagement.
There is no set date for these changes to occur so to ensure you’re prepped and ready, our social team have shared their thoughts on the biggest opportunities that lie ahead for a very different Facebook…
Increased Emphasis on Communities
Due to this new person-to-person outlook the Comment becomes the new social currency as opposed to the Share. It will therefore be crucial that brands provide engaging content that users want to contribute to. The good news is that studies show brand recall is much higher when users actively comment on posts so focusing on comments is actually a win-win for brands.
The algorithm will mean Groups will be prioritised, so a brand-curated Group can provide a clever way to reach customers. If there is a community conversation your brand can harness then this is the way to go!
The Rise of Individual Influence
The new changes give much more power to the individual user by prioritising much more meaningful interactions. As a result the biggest weapon in the arsenal of a brand will be the people who work there. This will also lead to an increase in blogger and influencer activity as they can have direct conversations with customers in a way that brands will not be able to enjoy. Expect publishers to become much more personal as a result of these changes.
Brands and companies will need to adapt and get comfortable showcasing their key individual influencers on Facebook – time to train up the CEO to truly become the ‘face’ of the business.
Rise of Paid Advertising
Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise but one of the easiest ways to get around the drop in organic reach will be to pay for it. The options available to brands with paid advertising are already very extensive but you can possibly expect Facebook to beef this up with more creative options. As this algorithm could potentially see brands slow down on effort spent on the platform, Facebook will be keen to not lose any potential revenue if they can help it. Its shares have already dropped since the announcement as it is!
Slowing of Facebook Referral Traffic
Aside from the paid features of Facebook generating significant referral traffic, originating from Facebook activity will become harder to achieve as they will want users to have meaningful conversations within the platform rather than driving to external sites.
However, as a result, organic Facebook will become even more of a place for aiding brand engagement and customer service.
Shift in Social Media Landscape
Until now Facebook has almost exclusively owned social media when it comes to user numbers and engagement. Channels like Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter have tried to carve their own niche but it has barely made a dent in recent times, with usual figures failing to rise at the rate of Facebook.
With the new changes you can expect a shift away from this. News organisations and content publishers may find it more efficient to communicate on other platforms so may move away from Facebook, as their reach will be cut. You can also expect social media platforms to revert back to their core USPs. Interestingly there isn’t any expected changes reported for Instagram as yet. As most social media users have accounts in more than just one platform, using a wider range of social media channels will help brands reach more users.
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