The recent social media privacy breach has overshadowed Facebook’s algorithm change earlier this year. Here’s what brands need to know if they plan on sticking it out.
Facebook, the social media giant, is no stranger to having its name in the news. Most recently, there’s the privacy breach scandal, but it wasn’t that long ago that businesses using the platform to build their brand had something completely different on their minds –the Facebook algorithm update.
In a direct quote, Mark Zuckerberg states his hopes for Facebook in 2018.
“Our focus in 2018 is making sure Facebook isn’t just fun, but also good for people’s well-being and society. We’re doing this by creating meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.”
Sounds great, but there’s more…
“Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people’s time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced the time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.” – >
Wait, did he say that time spent on Facebook was reduced by 50 million hours EVERY DAY? This wasn’t great news to shareholders, but there’s another population out there that are left wondering how the algorithm change is going to affect them personally in both the short and long term –the 5 million businesses that advertise on the social network.
These changes bring up some very important questions. For example, what does this mean for the future of social media advertising?
Currently, there’s a lot being said. The effects on paid advertising could be minor, major, or somewhere in between. Smart businesses are looking at how they can adapt and create the type of organic, meaningful connections that are now more important than ever.
Avoiding Clickbait at All Costs
Who hasn’t been a victim of an alluring piece of clickbait? Clickbait is defined as a headline that is meant to grab attention but leaves out crucial details, forcing people to click to discover the answer. Rarely does the content match up to the hype, and the user has played the part of a pawn in the whole scheme.
A major motive behind the new algorithm updates is to eliminate this type of meaningless content that detracts from the overall Facebook experience. This means that Facebook takes anything that even resembles clickbait very seriously, and if you want to reach your audience, it needs to be avoided at all costs.
With the algorithm change, it can be tempting to do whatever you can to increase your visibility on the network, but clickbait isn’t going to do the job. Facebook has a way of recognizing clickbait, primarily by measuring bounce rates, and will unprioritized content that doesn’t measure up.
The solution? Honesty.
Be honest and forthcoming with titles that reflect the value and meaning of your content. Titles should tell your audience the real reason why they’ll find value in it. Not only will avoiding clickbait keep you in good status with Facebook, but it also builds authenticity and trust for your brand.
The Influencer Connection
Influencer marketing is a strategy that had its spotlight and then seemed to fade away into the background. Maybe it was because smaller businesses felt ill-prepared on how to optimize influencer relationships, and it was just easier to try strategies that didn’t require so much legwork.
Well, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and become reacquainted with influencers. The reasons why this is going to be an even more valuable strategy for small and medium-sized businesses is that influencers are people, just like you, and that means that they’re less affected by the shift in the algorithm.
It’s important to remember that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to influencers, especially for smaller or local niche industries.
Local businesses are smart to develop influencer relationships with other companies, organizations, and personalities that are respected in their communities. For example, a restaurant that focuses on local, healthy foods could partner with a respected pediatrician or school to promote the value of healthy lunches and snacks for school-aged children.
The right influencer helps to bring valuable awareness to your brand without the need to invest in an ad strategy that might go unnoticed.
Rethinking Analytics and Data
Facebook data has always provided valuable information to advertisers about their audience. For years, brands have been using this information to learn how to better engage with their markets and create successful social media campaigns with paid ads.
However, the nature of the algorithm change means that Facebook might have no choice but to look at the type of data it’s collecting and what value it provides to businesses establishing themselves on social media. These are significant considerations, and any changes won’t occur overnight, but that doesn’t mean that your business can’t start adapting by looking at current analytics and data in a new way.
It’s becoming more important to learn about the behaviors of your audience on social media. For example, the very fact that you paid for an ad meant that your content was going to make its way to your audience at the right time. Now, with an increased reliance on the organic content, it’s up to you to make sure that it reaches them at exactly the right moment.
This means really digging into social media behaviors and asking questions like “When is my audience on social media?” and “How many times a day/week should I be posting to optimize my brand’s presence?”.
Being Proactive Is Key to Survival
In the wake of something with this magnitude, smart brands know that proactive response is key. It isn’t just Facebook’s reputation that’s at stake here, but that of every business that advertises on the platform. Businesses advertising on Facebook have been put in the position of playing defense, and with the right approach, this isn’t such a bad thing.
Just like you want to be proactive in addressing customer issues or negative reviews, it’s important to get ahead of the game in building an authentic brand image on Facebook. Now is the perfect time for brands to start building trust and relationships with their audience outside of paid ads. For most businesses, the approach to this is surprisingly simple.
For example, let’s look at content. Quality content is a tactic for promoting brand awareness and engaging with your audience that never goes out of style. A great piece of content, be it a blog, video or even a meme, can provide so much more value than a paid ad will ever be able to do.
Plus, making an effort to connect with your market outside of advertisements provides respectability to your brand, and generates more interest in the products or service you provide.
Taking it slow, resisting the urge to overreact and adapting to a changing consumer mindset on social media are the things all businesses should be keeping in mind as they’re working through the challenges of a new perspective on social marketing.
Don’t Let It Overwhelm You
Facebook advertising is important to businesses, but it shouldn’t be the core of a marketing strategy. Other digital marketing strengths, like responsive web design, SEO, and other avenues for advertising can’t be ignored. If you’d like to know more about surviving in the changing world of social media ads, we’d love to talk with you. Connect with Direction, Inc. today to learn more!
President, Direction Inc.