Back in January 2018, Facebook announced a change in the platform’s algorithm particularly regarding the number of public contents and personal posts that appear on users’ News Feed. The change is designed to prevent users’ News Feed from getting overwhelmed by public posts from businesses, media, and commercial brands. In other words, Facebook is trying to be more personal by prioritizing the contents or posts that spark meaningful social interactions among users. Such changes may not bring any adverse effects to established brands, but small businesses and startups that already struggle to get more exposure on Facebook may have to revise their online marketing strategies to stay visible and relevant to all users.
While posts from businesses will not be entirely gone, it would take some real efforts to gain enough exposure and conversion. You need to try and post contents that people truly care about and to which they are willing to provide feedback. The following tips should help you acquire an active engagement level on your business page despite the change.
- Encourage interactions: at its core, Facebook is an online community or forum in which users share thoughts, ask questions, and basically have online conversations with each other. By encouraging interactions with every post in your business page, you are trying to be relevant and connected to users’ personal life. An informative content is always good, but it is better if the same content also sparks conversation among readers. Make sure the topic of the conversation is relevant to your business or products as well. This means you have to be active in replying those comments, too.
- Social sharing: there is nothing wrong for a business to post contents about their lines of product, pricing, discounts, or events via employees’ personal accounts. Instead of using strictly formal language as if you are making a public announcement on behalf of the local government, keep the tone casual enough to attract more readers. If you have some employees, ask them to share any update to their own personal channels. Although the original post on the business page may not appear on users’ News Feed due to the algorithm change, this social sharing method helps keep an active level of engagement between the company and potential costomers on Facebook. If your employees have a large network of Friends, those friends can then help spread the words to an even larger audience. The main purpose here is to encourage people to eventually visit your business page and read more about your company.
- Valuable authentic contents: a post can be quite short (about several sentences only) or considerably longer in the format of an article or infographic. If needs be, post explainer how-to videos about your products/services. Multimedia contents are more attractive and, therefore, users are more inclined to give feedback, including criticisms. The general trend is that original, valuable contents receive more online exposure compared to re-posts or repeated information. Sometimes, you have to focus on the big picture rather than continuously adapting to the ever-changing algorithm. People are hungry for new ideas and stories; you can fulfill the hunger by giving them thoughtful updates.
- Feature individual users: another good idea is to focus on people and their stories. Link your posts on the business page to personal posts already shared by individuals. Choose popular posts if possible, so you have a better chance of being in the spotlight as well. Think of it as a mutual relationship where you improve someone’s popularity to acquire the same exact effect.
- Get in touch with influencers: similar to all other social networks, Facebook has a lot of influencers. They are active individuals and considered authoritative in certain fields they specialize in. Building a relationship with those influencers plays a crucial role to determine whether your posts will go viral or end up at the bottom of the feed. More often than not, influencers also have large networks on many social platforms other than Facebook; for example, LinkedIn and Twitter. People trust influencers’ words and recommendations, so endorsements (or a simple thing like a mention) from them can set a really big difference in the virtual world of Facebook.
- Be an influencer yourself: use your knowledge and expertise in business fields to offer free basic consultancy on Facebook through personal accounts. Write practical tips and insightful contents on topics related to your business and start building an active community outside of the business page. As you earn more online exposure on the social network, your business should improve its popularity at the same time.
- User-generated contents: encourage your loyal customer base to create some personal contents for your products or company in general. You may offer rewards or coupons for all quality contents posted. This is probably the most effective way to blur the line between promotional and personal contents. All the updates are created and shared by personal accounts, but they are mainly talking about your business. Keep every post professional and informative to gain stronger exposure on Facebook.
- Give direct answers to people’s questions: Facebook prioritizes contents in more or less the same way search engines do. Original, useful posts that answer people’s longstanding problems or give new ideas are worth promoting. The social network itself wants to be seen as a professional community in which users have and share their informed insights about everything. It is safe to say that quality posts intended to solve users’ problems will receive more attention.
The algorithm change is a great idea in the sense that more businesses are forced to be more serious and thoughtful about every post. It keeps the competition alive, and only the most qualified companies will earn their rewards. All the methods mentioned above may not give immediate results, but they are free of charge. If all else fails, please consider a paid marketing strategy on Facebook with which your contents will be visible to users’ News Feed. After all, Facebook also needs to run its business and earn a profit, so the algorithm change may not be as generous as it may seem. If you are able to spend money on Facebook’s advertising products, do not hesitate to sign-up for them. Complement the paid-advertising methods with the aforementioned organic strategy to get the best possible results.