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How the new Facebook Algorithm has changed Social Media Marketing

By Greg Cargopoulos

Ever Since Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be starting to focus more heavily on "meaningful interactions" in January, the world of FB marketing has changed forever.

These days, if you want your marketing content to go as far as possible, then you need to find a way of engaging with your audience in a world where simply posting on Facebook several times a day isn't enough. Now that Facebook is deliberately reducing the amount of brand content on user newsfeeds, businesses need to be ready to embrace a brand-new social media marketing strategy.

As Zuckerberg said himself:

"As we roll this [algorithm] out, you'll see less public content."

What's more, the "public content" (marketing content) that customers do see will be designed to

"encourage meaningful interactions between people."

In other words, the future of Facebook advertising is all about:

  • Paid advertising: Making your posts stand out in a sea of updates from family and friends.
  • Targeted marketing: Using Facebook's targeting functions to refine your audience
  • Driving engagement: Convincing your customers to interact with you through amazing content and immersive discussions.

Marketing in the Era of "Meaningful Interactions"

The latest algorithm updates make Facebook marketing much trickier to master.

However, that doesn't mean that brands should simply give up on their Facebook campaigns. After all, there are around 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook - and that's a lot of opportunity for brands that want to expand their reach and connect to new customers.

The key to success on Facebook today is understanding how Facebook measures the content you share online. Facebook will prioritize posts that gather the most interaction signals, such as:

  • Comments: Comments are the most important thing you can get on your Facebook posts today. To generate this high level of interaction, you'll need engaging content and targeted campaigns that connect with the right people.
  • Shares: Interspersing your paid campaigns with the occasional competition and share-able message will be a great way to boost your credibility on Facebook.
  • Reactions: Drive love for your posts by experimenting with the content you share. Try live video, images in your paid ads and more!

Let's take a look at just some of the things today's companies can do when they want to win with the 2018 Facebook algorithm.

1. Pay to Play

Ultimately, the new algorithm update from Facebook is designed to promote posts from friends and family over branded content. Regardless of what you do, you'll have a hard time competing with those organic posts from your follower's loved ones. That's why the best way to get ahead right now, is to move your advertising strategy into a new avenue.

While there's nothing wrong with working on improving your engagement (we'll show you how to do this below), it's impossible to deny the sheer power of Facebook ads. Research suggests that Facebook ads generate an incredible ROI. Already, 93% of marketers are using Facebook ads in their campaigns.

While all social media ad platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, the thing that makes Facebook stand out is its targeting options. Facebook offers marketers the opportunity to focus their advertising spend directly on the customers that are more likely to engage and connect with their company. By targeting your paid ads, you pull people towards your page that are more likely to interact with your brand, help your organic traffic grow, and buy your products.

What's more, there are countless different types of Facebook ads to choose from, including carousel ads, video ads, and a lot more. Now that Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform, it's important not to overlook the importance of a focused investment.

2. Create Content that People Want to Engage With

Whether you're working on your paid ad campaigns or your organic traffic, one of the most important things you can do to build awareness for your brand is create the right content.

For instance, in the era of engagement, Facebook recommends using video to drive higher interaction levels from your users. After all, social media is a fast-paced environment, and video is easier to engage with than infographics or text. What's more, with things like live video, you can even have direct conversations with your customers through Q&A sessions or behind-the-scenes interviews.

Videos are the perfect way to keep your fans focused on your brand, and it helps you to generate some interesting conversations too. The great news is that you can also use video in your paid campaigns to improve the reach of your content to new audiences too!

Experiment with video, imagery and carousel ads wherever you can, and make sure that you use Facebook Insights to track the performance of each campaign. This will help you to decide where you should invest the majority of your budget.

3. Focus on Starting Discussions

The new Facebook algorithm doesn't appreciate companies attempting to "game" the system by asking people to engage with their posts. That's one of the reasons why it's much easier to drive engagement using paid advertisements than basic posts.

Recently, Facebook started to penalize posts that were directly asking for tags, comments, and likes, as they believe that today's customers see this content as "spammy." However, that doesn't mean you can't be clever with your engagement strategy when you're looking to connect with your customers. Instead of just asking people to like and share your posts, give them a reason to do so.

Ask your customers questions that they'd be interested in answering or consider launching a paid campaign where you share a discount code with everyone who "likes" and "follows" your Facebook page.

Adding the occasional question to your content to spark discussion is a great way to improve the popularity of your profile without "begging" for engagement. Just be careful that you don't ask any questions that are too risky. For instance, studies suggest that customers who disagree with your political or social stance will be less likely to purchase from your company.

4. Get Involved with Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups operated with a focus on audience engagement long before the 2018 Facebook algorithm arrived. In an official press release issued by Facebook, "Groups" were mentioned as a powerful source of meaningful interactions. According to FB, groups allow local businesses to "connect with their communities" by posting information about events and company changes.

There are plenty of great ways for organizations to engage with the Groups to help boost engagement alongside their paid advertising efforts. For instance, you could:

  • Share top tips on how to use your products, or products in your niche.
  • Offer links to blogs, videos, and infographics that are relevant to the group (they don't have to have been produced by your company)
  • Launch conversations related to your niche. For instance, skincare company Deciem launched a group called "Deciem enthusiasts," where customers are encouraged to show off their preferred skincare regimens using Deciem products.

5. Connect with Influencers

Influencer marketing has been a popular strategy for quite some time now.

After all, influencers are people who have already cultivated a powerful connection with the customers that you want to reach. According to Facebook's official press release about the new 2018 Facebook Algorithm, influencers may be a powerful way to "prompt discussion" among your followers.

Connecting with influencers that are relevant to your brand and asking them to post positive things about your business or product should lead to increased engagement and a higher follower count.

However, it's important to make sure that the content is engaging and exciting in the eyes of your consumers. Just because a trusted person is posting something connected to your company doesn't mean the content shouldn't still be valuable, meaningful and well-researched.

6. Narrow Your Audience

As we mentioned above, one of the most significant benefits of advertising on Facebook comes from the fact that it allows you to zero in on your audience. If you have a relatively broad consumer base right now, consider narrowing things down to make sure you're connecting with the most valuable leads.

Facebook provides a wide range of targeting options to choose from. Although you might be worried about narrowing your reach, to begin with, the truth is that the more focused your posts are, the more likely you are to get meaningful engagement. After all, concentrated posts are more relevant, personalized and compelling.

It's a particularly good idea to target your ads if you appeal to audiences from different locations. For instance, a branded event in Miami probably won't appeal as much to customers in Texas.

Hacking the 2018 Facebook Algorithm

As powerful as social media can be as an advertising medium, it's important to remember that the algorithms and rules are constantly changing. After all, every social media channel wants to deliver the best possible experience to its users.

The new Facebook algorithm for 2018 requires companies to think more carefully about their content strategies, and how they're going to connect with their target audience. While engagement has always been an essential part of social media marketing, now's the time to bring your engagement strategy to life.

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Greg Cargopoulos

Greg Cargopoulos