10 Strategy Adjustments for Businesses
By now, you may have heard the big news about the Facebook News Feed Update that Facebook released at the end of this past week. Facebook will be prioritizing posts from friends and families over those posted by Pages (businesses, brands, and publishers). Here is our take on the bottom line for our clients.
"People come to Facebook to connect to the people who matter to them." Mark Hull, Facebook Director of Product Management. If your business' Facebook Page matters (i.e, is digitally authentic), then people will stay connected.
1) Facebook's algorithm update means Facebook posts from business pages will have a lower organic reach to the people who follow their pages unless the content from those pages really creates two-way dialog. The signals for this two-way dialog will remain a secret within Facebook's algorithm, but most industry experts agree the primary signal will be conversational engagement via comments and live content. This digital conversation will need to be two-way and even three-way comments -- people commenting on posts and the brands and other followers replying, just like a real conversation. Content types that inspire more comments and engagement will do better than those that don't. Facebook has been pushing for brands to use "Live Video", and the Facebook News Feed Update makes live video nearly a must for brands and businesses to reach their audiences.
2) Facebook News Feed Update will force organic content strategies to evolve. Strategically, content creators and editors will need to publish conversation starters rather than just pushing creative and content at people, but be warned; if content ends up being engagement-bait, Facebook will penalize the Page.
3) The activity of "social media listening" will have increased prioritization in the tasks and skills of social media community managers who often get stuck taking the path of least resistance by just "liking" comments rather than actually communicating with those who engage. Build an ACTIVE community or Tribe and your Page will be in a position to succeed.
4) In only a few days, a large the number of media publishers have claimed the "death of Facebook". Publishers, many of whom helped influence the "death of print media" are going to have to evolve...not the audience. Publishers, in particular, are claiming that Facebook usage will decrease because the publishers' content gets less distribution. We disagree. People get on Facebook first and foremost for the content "published" by themselves, their friends and family...not Buzzfeed or Burger King. Unless Facebook makes an algorithm update that is going to reduce the dopamine rush that a user gets from publishing their own content or seeing the content of their friends and family, the Social Media giant is not going to be impacted by media publishers or business pages getting less organic reach.
5) Businesses will have to invest more dollars into the paid distribution of their content on Facebook. The "free" ride is ending, but any business that expected "free" traffic and engagement over the long haul was kidding themselves. If businesses want to reach people, they will have to pay for it, whether they pay directly for the media reach or they earn the engagement.
6) Facebook has learned from Google's lead. They both make algorithm and platform updates that increase revenue for themselves, often under the veil or PR position of "improving the users' experience and privacy". Expect this trend to continue. Facebook is not a public service.
7) Other strategic directions brands should take is to make an increasing commitment to building their email lists (1st party data) of their audience and customers, enabling brands to communicate directly with their audiences and distribute their content directly to them and thus relying less on a 3rd party platform like Facebook.
8) Build a Facebook "Group" community. Your Group will be core loyalists. Consider incentivizing your audience to join your Facebook Group with Group exclusive deals and content.
9) Encouraging your community of followers to select the "See First" option for pages that you want them to see. This requires great content and encouraging your audience to take an action to select the See First option for your pages (doing so requires a compelling reason for them to really become brand loyalists, aka Tribe members).
10) Thoughtfulness and quality of content will be more important than quantity of content. For brands that make great content that engages, they will be in a good position to continue to be successful at reaching their audience on Facebook. Like with all good content, strategies should be sure to include data analysis as an essential part of the process. Optimize your high-value content based on the data and you will be digitally authentic and continue to delight your audience on Facebook.