Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Change

Mark Zuckerberg certainly started 2018 off with a bang by recently announcing major changes to the way our Facebook newsfeeds perform. This declaration sparked more than a little panic among smaller businesses who depend on social media engagement to connect with their target market. Facebook didn’t pull any punches, making it very clear that they fully expect this update to have a negative impact on the reach that brands have, particularly those that typically don’t receive many comments or shares on their posts. For quite some time now, Facebook has emphasized posts that generate interactions such as likes, comments, and shares. It also pushed forward public content that its algorithm expected people to find interesting based on broader trends across the site. This will still hold true, but posts coming from within personal social networks will be given even more weight than they were before.

Essentially, this means that companies who tend to churn out self-serving marketing messages with little actual value will see a major decrease in organic distribution. In order to successfully navigate these new Facebook waters, brands will have to do a better job of not only engaging and interacting with people, but also encouraging them to interact with each other. It’s easy to understand why so many people are feeling overwhelmed by such a big change, and why there’s so much concern about the amount of branded content being consumed! There’s a great deal of speculation floating around out there about exactly how significant the impact will be, and it’s hard to say exactly what the future – both immediate and long-term – will hold.

That said, Facebook has been quick to emphasize that brand posts aren’t being completely removed from the newsfeed, and this leads us to believe organic reach will continue to benefit brands willing to put the work in. While this new emphasis on personal interactions will likely reduce the amount of content seen as brands post from their pages, it also gives us all the opportunity to rethink how we engage with our clients and customers to drive business results.  In spite of its idiosyncrasies, Facebook is still the largest social network in the world, and the data and tools it provides can help any company grow their business, regardless of size. So, how can we capitalize on that and work with these changes, instead of against them?

Reach the right type of people with the right kind of posts at the right time

Social Media

Put simply, posts that don’t inspire likes, comments, and shares won’t gain any distribution. Generic posts aimed at a homogeneous audience don’t normally encourage interaction, and the newsfeed update is a great way to get back into the mindset of viewing social media as an ideal “one-to-few” method of communication.

To achieve this kind of approach, try analyzing your Facebook insights for an invaluable way to understand the makeup of your audience. There’s a tremendous amount of information available within these insights about your fanbase, the people who typically respond to your posts, and at what time of day they’re responding. With this wealth of information in hand, you’ll be able to segment your audience into smaller groups with focuses such as geography, demographics, interests, language, etc. This will allow you to tailor your content to each target audience individually, so that you can make it as relevant as possible.

Produce content that generates interactions

The days of creating a funny meme or cleverly captioned image just to garner as many likes as possible are sadly behind us now. With changes to the newsfeed, we’re going to find it is imperative to challenge ourselves in really considering the needs of our target audience groups in order to create and share content that people will respond to on multiple levels. We actually see this as good news! You’d be hard-pressed to find any of us who enjoy seeing our Facebook feeds overflowing with low-quality clickbait. By making it harder for these to be seen, it makes it easier for brands producing interesting and engaging content to be seen by more people.

What makes interesting and engaging content? Aim for the kind of content that generates conversation. Steer clear of asking yes-or-no questions and don’t pick the low-hanging fruit of engagement bait. Focus instead on creating relevant content by asking meaningful questions that spur community conversation.

Like in coffee cup

Neon Canvas believes that overall, the latest update to Facebook’s algorithm is good news for brands who engage their customers and produce quality content across the board. We’re especially looking forward to clickbait posts decreasing in volume, freeing up space for us to enjoy higher-quality content that encourages community interaction and sharing. These changes may mean fewer brand posts are seen overall, but the ones that are visible will provide value to both the brand and those viewing it.  

There are many other ways to work with the new Facebook parameters, and we’ll be exploring them in later letters. For this month, we encourage you to work with both our talented team and your own to create content your target audience cares about and wants to share and discuss. You’re likely to have some questions or concerns related to such sweeping change, and we’re here to talk you through them. As always, Neon Canvas appreciates you and your business, and we look forward to helping your practice grow in social media savvy this year!  

Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS

Co-Founder, Neon Canvas