As the undisputed giant of social media, Facebook is an all-important part of any social media strategy, and it’s become one of the most pivotal mediums for brands to connect with their customers. Now its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has just made an announcement that’s going to have a huge effect on how businesses like yours use the platform in 2018. If this sounds a little scary, don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for! As you might expect, it’s massive news for the industry, but my mission is to save you all the trouble of frantically sifting through all the different articles. So, cutting out all the waffle, here are all the important facts on what’s unfolding, and what they’ll mean for your business.
Last Thursday on the 11th of January, Zuckerberg published a post detailing Facebook’s vision for the year ahead. To break it down for you, essentially he’s said that following feedback from its users, Facebook has found that public content (that means posts from businesses, brands and media) is starting to dominate people’s news feeds to the point where it’s actually causing them to miss what’s happening with family and friends. In Zuckerberg’s words, it’s “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” In fact, he says, Facebook sees its main purpose as helping people to connect with each other, and for the first time, the company views the increasing dominance of public posts as starting to intrude on that mission.
So what is Facebook doing about this? Well, essentially, the company is changing its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family first, while businesses and brands come secondary. This means that the average news feed is going to see a reduction in organic posts (although not paid ones – we’ll come to that in a second), so that the majority of content that users will see will be updates from their personal Facebook friends, rather than Liked pages or brands. The plan is for this change to be rolled out steadily in the coming weeks.
Obviously this isn’t going to be the most welcome of news for lots of businesses, but bear with me. Firstly, Facebook isn’t blind to the effect this will have on businesses using its platform. It expects that on the whole, most organisations will see engagement with their unpaid organic posts decline. Plus, pages that don’t gain regular interaction from their users like ‘reactions’, shares or comments are going to be downplayed too.
However, the updates won’t affect the positioning of paid posts or advertisements in news feeds. Paid posts on Facebook are major part of many of the most successful social media strategies, so if you have a presence on Facebook, it’s unlikely you’ll be solely reliant on organic posts anyway. It’s true that your Facebook campaigns might now require a bit more investment and even more creativity, but they still form a vital way to stay connected with your customers.
Plus, I should point out that Facebook itself is going to lose money from this change. Zuckerberg even openly warned investors about this last year. Facebook is prepared for this financial backlash, as it deems its commitment to its users to be worth it, but there’s no ignoring the fact that the company receives dizzying amounts of revenue from its corporate and business users. It’s not in Facebook’s interests to abandon them entirely, so don’t worry about being left out in the cold! Sure, it poses a new challenge for your social media marketing campaigns, but then again, aren’t new challenges exactly what marketing is all about?
As I say, this isn’t the end of Facebook marketing, far from it. The algorithm updates won’t make advertising on Facebook impossible, but it’s very likely that it will require even more creative thinking. You may need to rethink your marketing strategy entirely, finding new and different ways to connect with your users on social media.
Don’t forget – different brands have different definitions of success on social media, and it’s even possible that your competitors might be affected more by the change than you will. Whatever the case, we’re always on hand to help here at 21Digital Agency. Social media is my personal specialism, and it’s my job to stay on top of these trends so that I can help your social media campaigns to continue delivering results for your business.
Social media marketing is one of our core services, so rest assured I know what I’m talking about! If you’ve got any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give me or one of the team a call on 01254 660 560, and we’ll see what we can do to get you sorted.
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As 21Digital Agency Social Media Executive, Ben is responsible for crafting engaging, innovative campaigns that achieve each client’s specific commercial objectives. As well as curating content through liaising with in-house copywriting and design teams, Ben is constantly adapting his campaigns to the latest industry trends, to ensure they’re always delivering the very best results.