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The Small Business Buddy

How to make sure Facebook’s new algorithms don’t kill your social strategy

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Noticed a lack of holiday pics, pet snaps and plates full of food on your Facebook feed recently? Aside from giving us all a reprieve from the insufferable oversharing of friends and family, the gradual shift to business centric content on Facebook was an absolute blessing for marketers. But the golden days of the social marketplace are about to end. Why?

On January 11th Mark Zuckerberg announced a change in the Facebook algorithms that dictate what content you see. The intention is to improve the quality of time users spend on the platform by limiting the amount of blatant advertising, so prepare to start seeing way more baby albums and way less 21-days-to-a-fitter-body type posts.

What does this mean for your business?

Zuckerberg commented “As we roll this out you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.”

Translation: your business is going to have to work twice, three times as hard to reach and engage online audiences. While nobody knows yet just how much of an impact these algorithms will have, there are a few key tactics you can deploy to combat the changes.

  1. Step up the ante with your content

As the intention of the changes is to ensure users have access to content that enriches their lives and wellbeing – the content that is favoured will be pieces that encourage engagement. Zuckerberg pointed out ‘the public content you see more of will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people’.

So no more slap and dash posting, put some serious thought into how you can engage your audience, how to talk to them and get them talking amongst themselves. Some great techniques for this?
– Ask questions in your posts
– Use timely content where you can leverage ongoing conversation

2. Beware of becoming a spammer

If you’ve just had a little light bulb go off and are thinking ‘ppft easy, tag a friend posts here we come’ think again our friend.

‘Meaningful engagement’ is they key prase. Simply getting your audience to tag a friend that likes cats is cheap shot and will work against you. Facebook terms the technique ‘engagement-bait’ – the equally as ugly sister to clickbait, and states “using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”

Aside from being penalised – audiences are sick of being spammed and you’re likely to do just as much damage to your brand as good.

3. Prepare to invest some dollars

Whether you like it or not adapting to this change will end up costing in one way or another. Your organic reach will more than likely see a sharp decline – especially if your existing content fails to garner much engagement.

Think about where your money will best be served:
– Create a boosting and paid advertising budget – if you’re not going to spend the time improving your content, or your content already gets engagement but still suffers from the changes – set some dollars aside and experiment with boosting capacity

– Invest in good content creation – whether you buy a block of hours from a graphic designer to give your content an extra edge, or hire an expert consultant who has the engagement game down pat, content is key for this change

4. Swallow your pride and ask for follows

As much as we like organic follows and word of mouth requests, take the initiative and ask your Facebook audience to follow your posts so they continue to see them. Don’t know how this works?

You can select which businesses and organisations content your facebook feed favours and shows first. You can do this by selecting the ‘see first’ option in the ‘Follows’ option on a business’s Facebook page.

You can always use an image to help them out:

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• Take this with a friendly warning – don’t beg for likes – it rarely works out, and make sure your content is worth the following.

If it all gets too much and you’re time is better spent elsewhere – why not simply hand the reins over to a digital marketing or social media specialist. After all it’s their job to stay ahead of the curveball and manage the algorithm headache for you….(ahem, we know a good one we can recommend…)