Family and Friends First – Where Does That Leave Your Business?
By Natalie Hays
As you have probably heard, Facebook announced that they are changing the algorithm to show users more of their friends and family instead of new sources or businesses. If that is the case, what does that mean for your business? Understanding Facebook’s algorithm is key to understanding what this change means for you and finding a solution to this new and unique problem.
Facebook’s algorithm at its core operates with four core mechanics – Interest, Post, Type, and Time. These core mechanics measure how well your post will perform in front of any given user. Before your post appears in front of a user, the algorithm looks at several different conditions; like if the user is interested in your content, liked your posts in the past, whether they like the post type (picture, video, etc.), and when you posted. If you meet all of these requirements, your post will appear in a user’s feed, giving you reach and a chance to build engagements. Over the last few years, Facebook has been making it a little harder for businesses to build their reach and engagements organically, which you might have noticed yourself in your analytics. This change is similar to changes they have made in the past.
Outside of previous algorithm changes, this is one of the few explicit “user-centric” algorithm changes. While every change is for a better user experience, many times it goes without a vocal press release. Usually, a change to the algorithm is under a more technical pretense. For example, if a page takes a long time to load a user will click off of a page before it can finish loading. Therefore, the algorithm checks how long a website link in any given post takes to load, and if it does not load quickly, then it does not show up in as many news feeds. With the focus shifting towards more family and friend content, the shift is not about a specific technical issue, but a social one. It is solving a problem many users have with social media in that they feel that it needs to be more social on their terms.
So how is this affecting your business differently? The companies that will feel the most impact from this are news sources. Online news has been on the rise in the past few years, and many of them post numerous times a day to keep people “up to date” on all things, tech, pop culture, and political. Their organic reach rates and engagement rates are likely to dip considerably as this new change goes into effect. These big news outlets and brands are the most likely to be hit the hardest. This is not to say that other brands will not be harmed, they will still see decreases in organic posting and engagement rates. While this is disheartening for many businesses, don’t throw away your social media calendar just yet.
There is still value in posting to your social media for a variety of reasons. One, it has become the new press release for new items. Your customers who like your page and are highly interested in your products will want to see the new products you launch, and Facebook is a great way to showcase what you have in store. It has also become one of the front lines of customer service. Like it or not people will talk about your products on your page, and it is the fastest way to get in touch and solve customer complaints and talk to happy customers. While your organic post rate might decrease, you can remain active with customers who engage you regularly.
When all else fails, there are still Facebook ads your company can invest in as well as other social media accounts. If your brand does not have an Instagram, now might be the time to start one up and building your following. By no means should you cease posting on Facebook altogether, far from it, but you can decrease your postings if you are feeling stress about creating content down the road. If you have any questions related to strategy or implementing ads, reach out to Orca Communications, and we would be happy to help through the next steps of Facebook’s ever-changing interface.
Natalie Hays is the Social Media Manager of Orca Communications and former editorial writer with years of experience in social media success and management.