In January this year, Facebook announced a massive change to its news feed algorithm. They tweaked their algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over public content.
Facebook want to stop the social media site from being a place where people spend a lot of time passively reading posts and comparing themselves to others instead of interacting with people.
Company posts now rank far lower than they previously did. Posts that generate interactions - like comments and shares - will be weighted more heavily than posts that just get likes or reactions. Posts that receive longer comments in particular will be weighted more heavily because these indicate a deeper level of engagement.
What does this mean in real terms?
- Likes and reactions have lower impact
- Pre-recorded videos won’t show up as highly on people’s newsfeeds
- Live video will be seen by more people
- Comments and shares matter
Overall, this change has been terrible for brands, publishers and other third party pages who rely on posting to reach their audience. Their organic reach has been significantly penalised, as have any ‘engagement bait’ posts that attempt to elicit a direct Facebook response from their followers. By this I mean posts that say things such as ‘press like if you agree’.
Generally, the update penalises ‘bad’ social media strategies which are over intrusive and pushy.
So in this climate, is it worthwhile for professional services companies to continue to post on Facebook or should they focus all their efforts on paid social and other sites?
The short answer is yes, but there’s a dire need to adapt social media strategy in order to keep up. Here’s how:
Quality is king and less is more
The news feed will still favour posts that are genuinely engaged with. This means creating posts that receive more likes, shares and comments. Ultimately, you want to spark conversation between users.
If you were already producing quality content, the updates mean that not much should change. There will actually be more ‘room’ for your content because the volume of clickbait posts will decrease.
Of course, what constitutes ‘interesting’ is different for every follower . You should focus on strategies which generate conversation without creating ‘engagement bait’ posts such as the one below.
Instead, ask meaningful questions that really spur community conversation. A particularly effective way of generating interactions is to create posts that celebrate customer stories or ask your audience for their experience on a subject.
Posts like these position your company as caring about customers. They will make your brand seem more real and authentic which should increase your customers’ affinity.
All in all, you should be posting less but making sure it’s more relevant when you do so. Gone are the days when posting regularly was enough to secure a large reach. Try to limit your posting to 3-4 times a week because you might start to be ignored by your followers if you are posting more than this. This will have a negative impact on your company’s organic post reach.
Target your posts
Algorithm changes have made it harder for posts to reach a mass audience. Because general posts that are aimed at a homogenous audience are likely to receive little in the way of reactions and comments, it’s probably best to leave these in the past.
Have a look at your Facebook insights to get a handle on the makeup of your audience. Then write different posts tailored for each section of your audience. If your followers feel like you are talking to them, they are far more likely to react.
Although Facebook has said that pre-recorded video will likely be shown less in users’ news feeds, the company’s Live broadcast feature only looks to rise in popularity.
Livestream receives 6 times the engagement levels of pre-recorded video. Despite this, only 28% of marketers are using Facebook Live. This makes it a great way to get ahead of your competition as well as improving your reach.
Not sure where to start? What video you shoot live is of course dependent on the nature of your business and customers. However, the following tend to work well:
- Live Q&A sessions with an expert
- How to guides
- Behind the scenes
- Product launches
- Answering customer questions from your Facebook page
- Explaining something your customers often have trouble with
With Facebook Live videos, it’s best to plan in advance. Your followers aren’t going to want to see someone awkwardly stumbling and bumbling through a video. Because you don’t have the luxury of re-takes and editing, you need to get it right first time.
On top of this, make sure you promote your live video. This can be done through the promotion of the event on your website, Facebook ads, promotion on Twitter or LinkedIn and emails to your mailing list.
Facebook’s recent algorithm change has really shaken up the way that professional services companies should use social media. If Facebook is a key component of your marketing strategy, things will have been very different since the update came through.
At ClientsFirst, we are experts in all things digital, including social media. Having some trouble adapting your social media strategy to these recent changes? We can help. Get in touch and we’ll discuss how we can move forward.