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Mark Zuckerberg’s 2018 personal challenge, “fixing” big problems at Facebook, shows how much the company wants to increase trust.

On Thursday the 11th Jan 2018 Facebook broke the news that it is changing the way it currently manages its Newsfeed.
Facebook originally set out to connect people, and the newsfeed is the first page its 2 billion monthly users see.

 

 

Facebook are wanting you to see more content from your friends and family, to encourage more meaningful interactions between people.  They want to connect more people and bring people closer together.

The Newsfeed Algorithm will keep content that has a lot of comments and interesting interaction, over popular content that doesn’t elicit many comments.

Currently Facebook uses indications like how many people react to, comment on, or share posts to determine how high they appear on the news feed, but now they are prioritising news that starts more positive conversations between users. They want to determine which posts you’d most like to share with your friends and these will rank higher in the news feed for you.

Here’s how the Social Media Examinar broke the news to us …

How is this going to affect small businesses?

The news feed changes will probably make organic reach for small businesses harder to gain – but this had already been on the decline over the past few years.

You’ll just need to work a little harder to ensure your story inspires more social interaction, if there’s more people talking about you, this won’t affect your presence as much. You’ll need to produce good content that is shared and talked about between friends and followers, then it will grow.

Ultimately, they are saying that if your business posts something that is valuable, it will then benefit you as the publisher, making you a more prominent brand. On the other end of the scale, if you are sharing something on the platform that is regarded as being upsetting or problematic in some way, then you will be held responsible and possibly pushed down or out of the news feed.

You’ll also be demoted if you are goading people into commenting on your posts.

Facebook feels this will be a good thing, and will help you communicate your brand more effectively in the news feed.

There are also options for your audiences to select your page through Facebook’s preferences, something that users are in control of and will need to be trained on.  Facebook will then bundle their favourite content together, ready to view at the start of each visit.

 

 

In summary, you’ll need your community to understand that if they love your brand and what you’re saying, they’ll need to request to see your content at the top of their feed, otherwise you’re at risk of them not seeing you at all.

Facebook did not mentioned the advertising platform in their update. Adverts will continue to run as normal and be as effective as they always are. If organic reach is down you can expect the ad platform to naturally become more competitive.

Here’s some pointers from Mari Smith,  via Adweek

Pages and page administrators should:

  • Encourage fans and followers to add their pages to Facebook’s see first feature.
  • Use Facebook Live more often: Facebook said Live videos are totalling six times the interactions of non-Live videos.
  • Use groups more often. Facebook is really building out groups. It’s almost building a new News Feed, a separate Facebook— are groups the next Facebook?
  • Local small businesses should take steps to be included in the Facebook Local

And here’s some more valuable advice from  Blaise Grimes-Viorrt, The Social Element chief services officer

Our advice to brands is to:

  • Publish less content via your Facebook page, but focus on more meaningful content that reinforces key brand messages.
  • Use Facebook advertising for awareness and promotions.
  • Stop any engagement baiting in your posts now—the kind of posts that say, ‘Like this for yes, angry for no,’ and so on. They won’t work.
  • Go back to your community and produce content that encourages meaningful one-to-many discussions.
  • Produce more live videos (not pre-recorded ones).
  • Look at setting up groups to build your community.
  • Look at the areas that are growing. Chat bots and messaging should now be a definite focus, alongside your Facebook brand page. 

 

Why are they doing this?

There are many reasons why Facebook has made these changes, one reason is that they are trying to create an environment that is purely entertaining and engaging for a community that’s there. Also there has been a bit of negative news for Facebook as late,  due to the kind of news and articles that are floading the newsfeeds.

Even if this means less time spent in Facebook per day, they still want the user to have a better, more valuable experience, improving things for the long term.

Which leads me onto another reason, this is that they are worried about the welfare of their users…

Based on Facebook’s internal research and outside studies, it has said that people are generally happier and have a better “well-being” when they use social media to connect “with people we care about.” What “may not be as good,” however, is merely “reading articles or watching videos,” even if they’re informative or entertaining.

Active engagement has been proven through research to increase overall happiness and satisfaction when using Facebook. So, they are trying to filter out the things that could be having a negative effect of your experience online.

Although, they feel that Video has changed the nature of how people connect on their platform, it is now a passive experience, where you sit back and watch a show, rather than commenting and speaking to your friends about it.

However, live video’s will still benefit your business, as this often leads to discussions, and great engagement – so you’ll be seeing more of these in the news feed, rather than other forms of video.

 

And how does this affect social media marketing?

Marketing through paid advertising, this is a separate system, therefore Facebook Ads is even more crucial for your business, you cannot rely on organic reach in your marketing strategy anymore.

Businesses may end up buying more online ads on Facebook to promote themselves, because simply creating content and attempting to share it on the news feed for free will no longer work as well as it once did. “That definitely is a potential consequence” Wiseler said. Fortune.com

Also, they are looking at the company’s interest for long term engagement, which be more attractive for marketers on Facebook, as their Facebook Ads are being delivered to happier and more willing customers.

Long live Facebook! Let us know if this sounds like a good step from where you’re sitting?

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