Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media giant is making changes to its algorithm – again – and as a result, brands, businesses, and publishers will see less organic reach.
And in case you didn’t read The New York Times article or read Zuckerberg’s Facebook post about the changes in store for 2018, here’s a summary: “posts from businesses, brands and media” are “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other” so they are making “a major change” to how Facebook is built, starting with the News Feed. He promises that “you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups” and “less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.” He also acknowledged the drastic consequences of their new focus – like decreased engagement measures and time spent using the platform.
This caused a lot of marketers and business owners to panic.
But there’s no need for that. (At least not yet.) Here’s why:
Organic Reach is Already Low for Brand Posts
Each time you share a post organically on your company’s business Page, it’s going to see pretty low reach already. On average, organic posts (these are posts with no paid support) will show up to 1-2% of your followers. Yes, you read that correctly. In 2013, there was a major, well-publicized and criticized change to the Facebook algorithm that reduced reach to near nothing.
This change is likely going to affect publishers more than brands.
Since the 2016 elections, Facebook has come under fire for its indirect involvement in the spread of “fake news” including Russian sources and content from unverified sources. In 2017, Facebook attempted a few different strategies to address the spread of unreliable news sources, but none have seem to take off as they expected. So, in order to combat the bad PR and perceptions, I think they are making these changes to change the kinds of news that is shared and how it can be shared. We can expect publishers to take the hit – at least first, anyway.
Facebook still has to make money
Facebook is publicly traded; it’s in the business of making money. Users will not pay to use the service, so those dollars have to come from advertisers. Read: businesses like yours. Facebook still has shareholders who only get paid when people spend money with Facebook. They will have to keep incentive for brands to keep using the platform whether they pay or not.
So, what does this mean for brands? I have a few predictions that I think we’ll see in 2018. Facebook will:
1. Make tighter ad restrictions to make branded content more authentic
2. Push more ads to Messenger
3. Push adoption of Facebook Live
4. More persuasive content urging company page admins to use Community and Group features
5. Even change ad formats for a while
So, how should you adjust adjust? Here are a few recommendations:
1. Consider adding community features to your Page, such as Community and Groups.
2. Allocate paid support for Facebook.
3. More focus on influencer/third-party content. Borrowing their reach and positioning.
4. Prioritize other channels where you still have organic reach
I will leave you with this. So far, as of mid-February 2018, I’ve seen no major indication that brand Page reach has been further affected by these changes. We’ve got a lot of year left, so things can change. But for now, there’s no need to panic. Just remember these two things: quality over quantity and allocate funds for boosting your best content.