Zuckerberg announced the new algorithm plans in a Facebook post last week. Source: Shutterstock

How your business can work around Facebook’s news feed change

THIS WEEK, we reported Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of a major change in the platform’s News Feed algorithm. According to the social media giant’s founder, users should expect to see a feed that prioritizes “meaningful social interactions” from family and friends over “public content”, such as that from businesses and publications.

The move follows user complaints of the overcrowding of public content on the site. The site, which now has over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, started off as a social platform for users to connect and interact with friends and family.

But in recent years, the platform has shifted from a place of sheer social interaction to a place where users are placed into filtered bubbles where posts from loved ones are drowned out by the wave of advertised content from big institutions.

“Most people are using Facebook less because from being a personal space it has become a content, brand-led invasion of privacy. We have so much data there and brands are constantly looking at advertising on the basis of the target audience’s demographics that is available,” Zafar Rais, founder of digital marketing agency Mindshift Interactive, tells Business Today.

Facebook’s latest manoeuvre is expected to bring more users back to the site but for businesses relying on the platform for audience numbers, the change has reportedly been less than well-received so far.

Pavel Naiya, senior analyst for devices and analytics at Counterpoint Research, told Business Today the move is likely to affect smaller businesses without budgets to push their content to users and which have been relying on Facebook to grow organic traffic and thus drive sales.

Facebook Watch

Facebook would change the filter for the News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share, while reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands. Source: Facebook

The change to a more personal feed will likely lower their reach, decrease video watch time as well as referral traffic of brands.

Because of this, it will be fundamental for brands and publishers to rethink their brand strategy on Facebook to ensure their organic traffic does not drastically plummet.

Rethinking your strategy

In a recent post, Adweek outlined a number of solutions on how businesses can best deal with the consequences of Facebook’s feed change.

See first feature

One way to make sure your content is reaching your audience is to actively encourage fans and followers to add your company profile page to Facebook’s “See First” feature. This will ensure your posts will be prioritized on their feed and not lost in the sea of content.

Leverage the power of Facebook Live

Facebook Live can be likened to the Broadway of the tech world. People seem to enjoy a live, authentic experience free from being edited, chopped or re-taken.

And with Facebook reporting that live videos gain a total six times the interactions of non-live videos, perhaps it is time for your business to start getting behind the camera.

Promote your products and services in Facebook groups

Whether you create a Facebook group yourself or join one managed by someone else, your business can use groups to your advantages.

Facebook is really perfecting the group feature. It brings together individuals who share a common interest, meaning this could provide a perfect pool of target customers for which you can promote your brand.

Facebook Local

For local small businesses, the “Facebook Local” application is a marketing must. The app, likened to Yelp or Foursquare, pulls in local business information on top events created on Facebook.

“Facebook Local helps [consumers] easily find what to do, where to go, where to eat, or what you need—all recommended by the people you know and trust,” said Aditya Koolwal, product manager at Facebook in a statement.

So, while Zuckerberg’s announcement of a more personal news feed may not be the best news for businesses, there are still many ways you can ensure organic reach.

Instead of viewing this as a dismal end for brand exposure, it should be thought of as a beginning of a big opportunity for businesses. It gives your brand the opportunity to stand out, pushes you to up your marketing game, as well as presents an opportunity to experiment with what content works best.