Facebook’s recent announcement that business page impressions and organic reach will be reduced even more than the lowest of lows they’re currently at have many scrambling for a new plan.
And for many, a new plan is desperately needed. For far too long marketers and publishers have been thinking of every way possible to “game the system”—to fool the Facebook algorithm into thinking that their content is extremely valuable to their audience.
But in reality, we’ve seen this shift coming for quite some time, and it should surprise no one.
Over time, there has become much more content on Facebook than could ever be seen by the average person. As Facebook implemented new algorithm rules to address the overwhelming amount of potential content, businesses got greedy. Publishers quickly implemented new tactics to trick the new Facebook.
“If Facebook is showing my content to half as many people, we’ll just post twice as much content!” The math will work out in the end, right? This tricky tactic worked for a season, but it has actually created today’s conundrum. More people publishing more stuff, even if it’s not that valuable to your users. The content funnel has reached terminal velocity—“no mas.”
So the system is getting smarter again, and the rules are changing. Facebook says that “great content” is now being measured by what generates conversation among users. And now, publishers are once again trying to figure out how to game the new system—a system they have only heard about in a press release! Instead of going down this path, here are a few pointers to help you slow down and realize it’s not the end of the world.
- Clarify the purpose of your social networks. If Facebook is the be-all, end-all of your communications strategy, start over. You can’t build a house on rented land (you can’t build all of your communications strategies on Facebook). It’s a communications tool, use it as a part of a bigger plan. Define realistic expectations for what it can produce.
- Realize that Facebook never promised everyone free publishing rights to billions of customers. Implementing a paid strategy into your content marketing is a necessary evil that we must come to grips with. You don’t have to go overboard, but supplementing your organic content delivery with money will go a long way to continuing to get value from Facebook in the new world.
- Post less. That’s right—focus on your best content, and leave the rest of it out. Having nothing but your best content on the platform will do wonders for your engagement, not to mention create happy readers, and less clutter for everyone.
- Listen more. Social media is more than a publishing platform. It’s a great way to engage with your audience, meet customer concerns, and have real conversations. What can you do to turn Facebook into a two-way conversation?
Lastly, remember that Facebook, Twitter, and whatever may come next, have always been changing and will always continue to change. Whatever the new world looks like, it won’t be the final version. Keep your audience in mind and adapt.
Kyle is an experienced marketing and communications strategist; having developed and managed social strategy at an Atlanta-area hospital, a state university, and several churches and ministry organizations. He is the senior integrated digital marketing strategist at LifeWay.