What this Means for Brands and Marketers

There’s a new algorithm update that could affect small businesses, and it’s not from Google.

While everyone was busy with the launch of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm last week, Facebook made an announcement in the shadows about upcoming changes to News Feed, particularly how certain content shows up on a user’s timeline.

In a blog posted April 21, the social network said they will be making changes to News Feed that” may affect referral traffic for publishers.” The changes will be focused on how content is seen and consumed by users, particularly about balancing content from friends and Pages.

Based on user feedback, Facebook will be prioritizing content from friends over brand pages.

“The impact of these changes on your page’s distribution will vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity. In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline. Overall, pages should continue to post things that people find meaningful and consider these best practices for driving referral traffic.”

In all, the social network will be making three updates to the News Feed algorithm.

1. Improving experience for users who don’t have a lot of content available to see. Previously, there was a rule keeping users from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. Facebook is now “relaxing” that rule.
2. Content from “friends you care about” will appear higher in the News Feed so users are less likely to miss it. Users who enjoy interacting with Pages they have “liked” will still see content from those Pages. “This update tries to make the balance of content the right one for each individual person.”
3. Stories about friends liking or commenting on a post will appear lower down or not at all in the News Feed. With this, users are more likely to see content they care about directly from friends and Pages they liked.

What This Means for Marketers

This update clearly illustrates Facebook’s hard push for paid social reach. That is, the social network is following Google’s footsteps in that brands will need to pay more to reach users and improve user experience at the same time.

As we discussed some time ago, every business needs a proper social media strategy. It’s not enough to just have one, though. You have to do it right. To maximize social reach and referral traffic, Facebook advises Page managers to focus on content.

Much like how Google encourages best practices in search, Facebook will also be pushing brands to produce quality content regularly. Marketers and companies on the social network are encouraged to “create content with social context in mind” to connect with people. Some of the recommendations include:

– Posting quality content on a consistent basis
– Targeting posts based on message and demographics (age, location, gender, interests, etc.)
– Keeping posts fresh with a variety of new and timely content (links, photos, videos, and other posts)
– Making the most of Facebook Ads for promoting discounts, promos, and other specials

Other tips and information on improving your Facebook marketing strategies are outlined in the company’s blog.

With these changes in mind, it’s essential for marketers to ensure their content and social media marketing strategies are as engaging and relevant as possible. Users are looking for quality in everything they consume; giving them what they want will almost always lead to good things.

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