“It’s clean and simple. No Disneyland. No live nude girls.”
In the film The Social Network this is Mark Zuckerberg’s response to Eduardo Saverin’s compliment on seeing the simplicity of Facebook for the first time. When Facebook first launched in 2004, their main competitor was MySpace, a website that had become infested with moving glitter backgrounds, iPod quizzes, and feeds overrun with clickbait. Facebook stripped all of that away in an effort to connect people together. Mark Zuckerberg even stated a few years later that his main goal with Facebook was to “connect the world.” Fast forward to today and you’ll find a newsfeed populated by clickbait, jaded news articles, and ads upon ads upon ads. Facebook in many ways has become what it set out not to be. In an attempt to be good at everything, the network had lost sight of their core values.
But on January 4, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that his main goal for the year was to fix Facebook. Then on January 11, we found out exactly how he was going to do that and while it’s not a pretty picture for brands on the platform, it also isn’t the end of the world.
A Changing Algorithm
Facebook is implementing some pretty drastic changes to how audiences view content and which content is favored within their newsfeed. In a nutshell, the visibility of public posts from pages, brands, and publishers are being diminished in a substantial way. These changes are being implemented to create more person to person conversation. Rather than having posts from businesses show up based on engagement, interpersonal engagements between personal accounts will be privileged in the feed. Changes like these will directly affect and decrease the reach and engagement of a business page on Facebook unless a strategy shift is implemented.
While this update is brand new, we are already at work as an agency to develop a strategy to overcome these new challenges. However, we understand that there is no blanket solution for everyone. Each brand will need to develop a customized strategy to ensure that content is seen and that brand goals are met. Through research we have listed out 6 initial best practices that can potentially ensure we are creating effective content and reaching the right audience.
Increase Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has become incredibly popular over the years. It has become an alternative way to reach a targeted and engaged audience. This will continue to be an effective and necessary strategy in 2018.
Increase Ad Spend
Some are arguing that Zuckerberg’s moral goal of “fixing Facebook” is really a more greedy, money driven goal wrapped in a package of ethicality. Whether or not that’s true, what is true is that brands will find that simple “boosts” are going to increase in cost as more brands compete for ad bidding space.
Create more ad-related campaigns while decreasing weekly content schedules
In conjunction with the option above, we want to make sure that we are using our time and resources effectively. We want to analyze whether a weekly content strategy (i.e. 4-5 posts a week) is more effective or detrimental for our reach. The law of diminishing returns is real on Facebook. If our time is better spent focussing on targeted ad campaigns rather than an increased weekly content schedule then we might want to look at a strategy shift.
Decrease/stop engagement-bait contests. (i.e. Like/comment to enter)
The days of “Like and Comment to enter our contest” might be coming to an end. Zuckerberg stated that tactics like these will (not could, but will) result in a demotion of post ranking. These should be ended immediately.
Encourage more individuals to click “See First” on our content
This is the most immediate and effective strategy for a brand to implement. When a user selects “See First” it means that a brand (or person’s) posts will always appear at the top of their news feed. While this seems like an easy solution, it’s much easier said than done to get a person to opt in to making this choice. The Abbi Agency is looking into the correct strategy to incentivizing users to choose this option.
Create a more Instagram Heavy Ad/Content Strategy
While this may seem like it, we aren’t jumping ship. Facebook is still the most active social media platform in the world. There is still a huge opportunity for brands and pages to reach their audience on the social network. That being said, Instagram has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 2 years and is continuing to do so. While the demographic for Instagram is significantly younger than Facebook, we want to make sure brands and pages are not left behind when it comes to growing an organic, engaged audience on the platform.
These effects from Facebook are only in their infancy. TIme will tell what when it comes to what strategies work and what strategies don’t. While we aren’t able to predict the future, we want to make sure we are staying ahead of the curve and are prepared for the changes when they happen.
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