What Facebook’s New Algorithm means for Brands

Panic stations! Facebook has waved its magic wand once more and decided to overhaul its algorithm and in the process, send publishers, brands and media into meltdown.

If anything, the responses to the proposed changes to Facebook’s newsfeed shows the incredible influence it holds over…well, pretty much everyone. For the last few years, brands have steadily migrated to Facebook in order to access millions of active users and its advertising might.

Mark Zuckerberg’s had a change of heart and in response to fake news, election tampering and online abuse, he’s realised that perhaps Facebook isn’t the force for good he once thought it was.

It’s back to all things ‘community’ and ‘connection’ and the first step towards this include changing algorithms so that users will see more content from their family and friends, instead of online advertisers trying to sell them stuff.

According to Head of Facebook’s News Feed, Adam Mosseri, it’s about “making updates to ranking, so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.”

Where does this leave brands and should everyone be scared? Let’s see.

Why this is a big deal

Reading between the lines, Facebook wants users to create meaningful relationships with each other. So, if you’re a brand who wants to perform well on Facebook and generate high engagement rates, you need to work on creating ‘meaningful’ content.

‘Meaningful’ is quite a subjective term, but Facebook’s dropped some clues about what it means. Instead of focussing on ‘likes’, Facebook believes that comments and specifically long comments means that users are starting conversations with each other and using Facebook for its original purpose, connecting.

This is happening because Facebook is seeing that users are attracted to other platforms where they can escape adverts an find more friends and family sharing.

So expect to see:

  • Reduced organic reach
  • Less brand and advertising content
  • More content from friends and family
  • Increased reach for conversational content e.g more comments and longer comments
  • Content that’s shared amongst users
  • Less public video content

How to create new Facebook friendly content

There’s not much brands can do about the new influx and visibility of ‘family and friends’ content, but you can make some changes to your content strategy to optimize content for Facebook.

BUT, arguably if you’re already creating content that provides value, starts a conversation with your audience and is generally high-quality then you shouldn’t be too worried about the new algorithm. This should be part of any good content strategy anyway.

So, here’s what you should be doing:

  • Create deeper connections and a community feel on your brand’s page
  • Produce high-quality content that gives value to an audience
  • Work on meaningful content that’s memorable and can provoke responses
  • Collaborate with other users and leverage user-generated content to build bonds

And also, don’t stick to Facebook. Look at the uproar that’s been caused by an algorithm change. This is a wakeup call – don’t rely on Facebook. Start building communities and audiences on other platforms too.

Final thoughts

If your content strategy is effective then you shouldn’t be too worried about the new algorithm. Tighten up your processes and ensure you’re creating content that ‘moves’, so users are sharing, engaging and interacting with it.

Facebook’s already a pay to play world, so organic reach has reduced massively over the last few years anyway, so withstand this by continuing to deliver value to your audience with informative and entertaining content is important.