What Your Business Needs to Know About The Facebook Algorithm Change

By Scott Conlon |

  | Feb 14, 2018  /  Solutions |

In early January, Facebook announced sweeping changes to its algorithm and everyone started talking about it. This wasn’t a small algo tweak that only dedicated social media managers would notice. Facebook’s changes were covered by CNN, NPR, and even local news channels. The majority of the general public was trying to figure out how the change would affect their feeds.  

Mark Zuckerberg said he wants Facebook to transition away from promotional pieces and clickbait, instead promoting posts that create in-depth conversations. While the concept is noble, the algorithm update has thrown a wrench into the social media strategies of millions of companies that are on Facebook's platform. They’re left scrambling to change and wondering what this update means for their traffic and businesses.  

If you rely on social traffic to generate sales and bring people to your website, then keep reading to learn how the update will affect your brand -- and what you can do to benefit from the Facebook algorithm change.

What Does the Facebook Algorithm Change Entail?

The powers that be at Facebook want the network to become a center for discussion. Pages and posts that encourage people to share ideas and exchange thoughts will be promoted with this algorithm, while clickbait pages and highly-promotional brands will likely see their reach reduced.  

“As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”  

This is the last thing that many brand managers wanted to hear. Social media specialists have noted the steady decline of Facebook reach since before 2012.  

While Facebook says the average brand post reaches 16% of followers, industry leaders have found that number is closer to 6.5% or even 2%.  

With the previous algorithm, a brand that has worked to accrue 50,000 followers over the years could barely reach 1,000 fans per post. Does Zuckerberg’s announcement mean that number is going to continue to drop?

The answer depends on your brand strategy. Essentially, Facebook has reached a saturation point with its page content. It can’t increase brand reach without seriously impacting the number of friend posts people see -- which is still the main reason people log into Facebook.

Brands who have a strong following and post engaging content might actually see a boost in traffic from the change, while those who don’t engage fans will continue to see their reach decline.

How Can Your Brand Benefit from the New Algorithm?

If you want your brand to come out on top as this algorithm roles out, then you need to enact changes today. Some brands might have to make a few minor tweaks to their strategies, while others will need a complete overhaul. Here are six steps you can take to benefit from the Facebook algorithm change.

Stop Posting Clickbait Headlines

Even before this algorithm was launched, Facebook started punishing clickbait headlines.

Instead of bringing people to your website with non-news, focus on sharing unique content and writing titles that major publications use. Turn to outlets like the Washington Post, not Upworthy, when crafting your headlines.

Let Your Fans Know About the Change

Facebook users can adjust their News Feed Preferences in their Settings tab to prioritize who they see first. This ensures their favorite blogs won’t be hidden from them because of the change.  

Consider writing a blog or Facebook post with guidelines for fans to add your blog as a favorite in their settings. This will ensure your core followers will still access your content.

Narrow Your Audience

It might seem counterintuitive to limit the people who can see your content, but narrowing your audience actually allows you to focus on quality over quantity. Would you rather have 50,000 fans who ignore your brand and never buy from you or 5,000 fans who love your content and visit your website almost daily?  

Sprout Social shared how brands can narrow their audiences specifically to target preferred audiences. This should help increase engagement rates and prompt quality discussions.  

Retool Your Engagement Metrics

Facebook provides a variety of opportunities to engage with audiences, from Facebook Live streaming to 360-images and videos. Consider reviewing your content and looking for ways to make it more engaging.  

Through this process, expand your idea of engagement beyond likes and comments. Track metrics like average time viewed, replies, and emotions to see how people engage with you. These metrics provide insight into the quality of the engagement with your brand, not just the quantity.  

Engage With Other Pages

Facebook won’t promote pages that just broadcast content and try to drive people to their website. They want to see pages interacting with each other, curating content, sharing valuable insights.  

Try to add curation slots to your social media schedule where you share other pages. This is also a great way to expand your reach when other pages start sharing your content as well.

Temporarily Increase Your Facebook Ad Budget

In the short-run, it might be in your best interest to expand your Facebook Ad strategy and promote your posts to existing fans. This is a great way to increase your overall reach with people who are already familiar with your brand. You can also expand to new people if you want to attract new people to grow the conversation.  

Just make sure you’re putting your best posts forward, or your promotion efforts could go to waste.  

Contact MyArea Network for Personalized Advice

If you have specific concerns about the Facebook algorithm change and worry about the future of your social media traffic, contact MyArea Network for a free consultation. We will review your account, website, and industry to see where you can improve and how you can take advantage of this update.  

You don’t have to manage a page like Oreo or Taco Bell to see success on Facebook. With the right engagement strategy, small businesses can still break through the noise and succeed.