Facebook Algorithm Changes and Your Brand
Last week, new algorithm updates were announced for Facebook which pretty much spelled the end of organic reach for brands. Now, the site will concentrate its efforts on showing its users updates centred around their friends and what they say they want to see. This is no surprise, it’s been coming for a while. The site announced at the end of last year that we could expect to see a dip in organic reach in January, but that was just for starters.
What this means for brands is that essentially, the free ride is well and truly over. However, Facebook has one of the most powerful ad platforms to be found online, especially when it comes to targeting, so what the change really means is that if you want any engagement on Facebook, then it’s time to pay up.
Social Media for Free is Over
All brands use some form of advertising, be it PPC, the local press or WOMM (word of mouth marketing). Social media spoilt us at first as it offered a way for us to connect with our audience free of charge. Now that that particular party is over, it’s time for brands to take a good long hard look at the ad platforms that they currently use and revaluate.
You may not be able to achieve a great deal of organic reach on platforms such as Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that its user base has dropped – quite the contrary in fact. Take video for example, a study has shown that Facebook native videos gain 10X the reach that YouTube videos do. Not only that, but they also gain more engagement than those on YouTube and as such, represent a huge marketing opportunity for brands.
Brands Should Concentrate on Strategy
So rather than bemoan the effects of the algorithm changes, brands should be concentrating their efforts on creating excellent content across various mediums in order to boost brand awareness, encourage viral and WOM marketing and to further foster trust and transparency within their followers.
This means creating a sound strategy for all content marketing efforts and recording this strategy in a document. Research has found that those brands which have a content strategy document in place feel that they do better in their marketing efforts than those that don’t and are more likely to be able to prove ROI. As the old saying goes, in business if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail and this follows the same principle – sound planning always ensures that you’re focused enough to make a difference.
It should include:
- Introduction – this should cover resources, an overview of content goals, brand and buyer personas, house style and tone of voice. Include any brand assets here too, such as graphics and colours.
- Core strategy – here you will list how you plan to create and distribute your content. If you outsource then include a list of those you work with here as well as the channels where you will be promoting content such as social media.
- Onsite content – where the content is to be published online, in what form and through what channels.
- Offsite content – any content that’s not distributed online such as flyers, brochures and so on.
- Blogging – what you can best create to support your overall brand message and what other blogs you can produce guest content for. You should also include a LinkedIn Publishing strategy here where applicable and consider how your brand can utilise thought leadership and position accordingly.
- Workflow – here you should clearly state who is responsible for what and when – this section can be your editorial calendar.
- Timing – consider when the best time to post on social networks is for your audience. You should study analytics and insights to help you with this.
- Measuring success – here you should dictate which software such as analytics will help you to prove ROI, who should use it and how reporting works in terms of who is responsible and so on.
Concentrate on ROI
It’s become increasingly important for marketing departments to be able to prove ROI for content and social marketing, not least because for many years we’ve had the excuse of the latter not being a mature model. It is now and it’s perfectly doable to prove ROI on social and on content marketing, especially if you’re spending out on advertising.
It’s much easier to do this if you document all of your efforts and get together a formal report at the end of each month.
Should You Keep Facebook?
Yes! Some B2B brands don’t feel that a Facebook presence is useful, but for the majority of B2C brands it definitely is. Strategy-wise, you should understand your target audience and how many of them use Facebook and then create content that your research shows your audience loves.
You can do this by checking out the posts of others in your niche and looking at the amount of engagement each receive. Look to create content that really addresses the pain points of your customers and craft content to suit. Make sure too that you get involved with engagement by answering questions and other comments promptly.
Consider all of your content options, especially video for Facebook, and tailor it to suit each distribution point whilst at the same time ensuring that your brand message remains consistent.
Facebook organic reach really is very limited now, but it’s not completely dead. Mix up your normal posts with some that are paid or boosted and with a tailored content strategy, you can still achieve successful engagement on the site.