It's important for businesses that use social media to be fully aware of how the platforms work, and when these platforms are changed or updated. Most recently, the major change sweeping the world of social media has been Facebook Zero.
Have you noticed that the reach of your business page's posts on Facebook has decreased recently? This is probably a result of Facebook Zero, and it's likely left you with some questions - like "why is this happening?" and "what do I do to fix it?"
In this blog, I'll explain the details of the changes, and the strategies that a business should implement to successfully leverage Facebook to reach and engage with their audience moving forward.
The Major Shift - Summarized:
Facebook Zero is a major shift in the way that Facebook evaluates and prioritizes the content that is served to a user’s newsfeed (which is done of course, using an algorithm.) Here is the quick overview of what we are going to see happen:
- ALL posts from people and pages will be impacted (not just pages)
- Links to external pages will get less visibility
- Facebook will prioritize posts that spark conversation and meaningful interactions between people
- Video posts will get less exposure because viewing is considered a passive engagement.
- This type of engagement is lowest on the totem pole of engagement importance, and will thus be shown less on newsfeeds (see below for Engagement Hierarchy)
- It is important to note that video is still very valuable -- it generally performs better than still image posts
In summary, Facebook will shift the focus from ranking content that’s directly consumed from pages (which will shrink in reach) to content that is shared and talked about among friends (which will grow in reach).
Why the Change?
Facebook has received an influx of negative feedback regarding “spammy” posts on newsfeeds - what felt like a business-page-based takeover of their social platform. These changes are in efforts to rectify this experience for users, keeping them more closely connected to their friends.
They’re adapting to the changing habits of their audience and tweaking the News Feed to provide what the users are asking to see. Here are some things to keep in mind:
The “Signals” that Affects Ranking:
- Who posted a story
- Frequency of posts from that person / publisher
- Previous negative feedback on an author
- Average time spent on content
- Overall engagement a post already has
- When the story was posted
- Friend tags
- A recent comment from a friend
- Story type
- Completeness of page profile
- Posted from a friend or page
- How informative the post is
The “Hierarchy” of Engagement Value:
Facebook considers the following from most valuable to least valuable:
4. Post impressions/video views
Navigating New Strategy
With a full understanding of what Facebook will be doing differently, businesses need to accommodate for those shifts in the marketing strategy implemented on this platform.
Best Practices to Help Adapt Your Content to Facebook Zero:
- Create content likely to elicit positive feedback
- Publish content that promotes engagement and an investment of time
- Post content that’s social and shareable
- Maintain a consistent content schedule
- Build your audience and following that are relevant to your overarching goals
- Proofread your copy
- Double check your links
In order to get prepared to combat "Facebook Zero," here are 3 steps to take right away:
1. Show followers how to become “See First” fans:
Navigate to the business page
Select “See First”
2. Diversify - Ensure that the other social platforms best suited for your business are upkept. Because it is increasingly difficult to get in front of your audience on this platform due to these changes, that value associated to the attention and production may decrease in comparison to other opportunities. All in all, a re-evaluation of the value of time and resources spent is in order, and reallocating those efforts into things such as other social platforms, SEO development, etc. may be worth considering.
3. Consider creating a Facebook Group - If you think you have an audience that is very interested in getting frequent product updates from you on this platform, then you should create a community with them. Facebook Group posts will continue to be delivered in newsfeeds far more frequently than business page posts.
- Limit posting to once per week - quality over quantity. Once or twice per week seems to be the sweet spot, as long as the post is crafted to inspire engagement.
- Put more skin in the game - Businesses are going to have to pay to get more reach. Even maintaining existing paid reach, without increasing that reach to make up for lost organic reach, is expected to cost more since the demand of the ad system (and consequently the competition between businesses) is going to increase. At the end of the day, so-long as the cost aligns with the value of the result, shelling out the cash may be your best bet for getting in front of your audience.
- Post more live videos - Facebook live videos get 6x more comments and likes than normal posts. (Try for 15 minutes+, but if you can only do around 5 minutes, it’s still worth doing!)
- Leverage Facebook more often for event promotion - The sharing of events among friends and family on Facebook is popular today, and is expected to increase in the Facebook Zero era.
- Link clicks should no longer be the objective of your on-platform posts - discussion should be, because the more engagement your posts get, the more reach you’ll get.
- Don’t use engagement bait - Among the complaints that Facebook received was a large number specifically regarding how pages use "engagement bait". Basically, a page uses it's followers to promote their post/page for them, by requiring sharing, liking, tagging, or other actions in exchange for some reward - often a chance to win something. These types of posts will now merit demotion by Facebook.
- Use storytelling - Think about the personal stories connected with your brand, how to inspire people or how you can educate your fans. The trick is to educate about your brand while entertaining by prioritizing the true interests and values of the user. Tap into the emotional connections people can make with what you do/who you are.
To summarize, the changes that come with Facebook Zero will de-prioritize types of posts that have been typical of business pages in an effort to filter out promotional posts and click bait from the user experience, that was always meant to prioritize meaningful discussion and connection between peers.
The best thing a business can do when using Facebook in light of these changes, is accept them and adapt to them, instead of trying to "fight" them. All of the tips in this blog should help you revamp your strategy so it aligns with the purpose and value that the platform is committed to providing.
Your opportunities are not long-lost! The way that you take advantage of those opportunities has simply shifted. Take a look at what you've been doing, what you need to do differently, and set those changes in motion!