Major changes in social platforms seem to be the bane of every marketer’s existence. From Instagram’s no longer chronological feed to Twitter’s 280 character expansion, announcements in platform modifications can bring forth panic and backlash from those whose industries depend on the content sharing capabilities of the sites.
The latest announcement from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no different. The announcement that Facebook would be pivoting to prioritizing friends and family posts over public Facebook pages has left brand marketers and publishers alike flat-out shaking in their boots.
The change in focus stems from Facebook’s overall criticism throughout the past year for being the source of false content and misinformation. Shifting to a more friends and family oriented algorithm is thought to drive “meaningful interactions.” Basically, Zuckerberg’s vision is for Facebook to go from being the internet’s junk drawer to a more relevant social environment.
If you’re looking at the change from the perspective of being one of Facebook’s 2 billion users, you don’t have much to worry about. Contrary to popular belief the new algorithm won’t be comprised solely of your neighbor’s cousin’s engagement pictures; an interest in puppies dressed as Star Wars characters and real news don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Both can still live on your newsfeed harmoniously so long as you mark the pages you want to still see come up on your newsfeed as “see first.”
So why are marketers so alarmed by the new algorithm?
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook’s newsfeed will filter out content from public pages that businesses and brands post unless the brand pays for a spot in your newsfeed; a luxury smaller businesses can’t afford.
If a user is not following a brand or company on Facebook, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach a brand’s audience organically. You now have to take steps like creating content that users will connect to enough to not only hit the magic share button on, but also prompt them to click “see first” on your company’s page to keep your brand relevant on Facebook.
Although the algorithm is new and its ramifications are still murky, you can expect that a higher focus on things like community engagement, promotion of the “see first” option and interaction through real-time features like Messenger and Facebook Live will be the main goal of marketers from here on out.
Do you have any predictions on how media companies and brands will roll with Facebook’s latest punch?