What every social media marketer needs to know about Facebook’s changes

23 Apr

By Dee Jardine

Set aside the frustration, learn about the latest changes, the opportunities they hold and how to adapt.  It’s not all bad news!

Facebook are rolling out more changes across their platform, if you work in social media marketing this likely fill you with dread.  With every tweak Facebook makes to their algorithm, EdgeRank, it’s getting harder for brands to reach their desired audience without having to pay for it.  It’s easy to see how this can be upsetting to companies who have spent so much time and money already investing in gaining Facebook “likes”; for the majority of these fans to now not even see their posts.

Try not to become too disheartened, believe it or not Facebook are doing this for all the right reasons.  Lars Backstrom, of Facebook claims that on average there are 1,500 Facebook posts a day that could appear on each user’s feed.  No potential customer can take in this amount of content, it would be overload, and so Facebook is forced to decide what each user may find most interesting.

Facebook aren’t doing this to force you to pay to be seen (although I’m sure it’s an advantage they aren’t complaining about), Facebook are doing this because they have to in order to keep their users engaged, and avoid losing them to other social platforms such as Twitter or Google+.  You can’t make any money from your Facebook account and adverts if all your customers are leaving the platform out of boredom.

Visual Value

Visual is the digital marketing trend for 2014.  Our customers have increasingly shortened attention spans, images are getting larger on both Facebook and Twitter to grab users attention while they can. Facebook photos will now span the width of the newsfeed.  For any brand with high quality and interesting imagery this offers a larger opportunity for promoting brand values.

Spammy images will appear less often on users’ newsfeeds.  This is good news if you’ve been playing by the rules and marketing the right way.   Facebook aims to cut down on the visibility of “memes”, “like-baiting”, and posts with deceptive links.

Less of this 

cat meme

More like this

coke imagery

 

Auto-play videos

Continuing the visual theme, video posts on Facebook now automatically play without sound as customers scroll through their feed.  If a customer wishes to watch the video they can click on it to hear the accompanying sound.  Automatically playing the videos helps to catch potential customers’ attention and encourage them to watch more.

This change has been rolled out slowly from September 2013 and has gone down well with brands so far.  According to Adobe’s Social Intelligence brands who videos have been auto-played on newsfeed have noticed a 58% increase on engagement during the first three months, compared to the prior three months before the change.

More Brand Content

Facebook is doing marketers a favour and tweaking their algorithm to help brands expand their audience. If a brand tags another brand in an update, their post can now be seen by fans of both brand pages, encouraging networking and allowing brands to make the most of existing relationships.

Breaking News Stories

Facebook altered its news feed algorithm to feature more news, current events, and the resulting conversation/debate this generates.  This is what Twitter does best, Facebook are attempting to compete, by attracting those who enjoy this aspect of Twitter.  This is motivation for brands to produce current blogs and quality news features to share on their Facebook.  Not only will this content improve your reach on Facebook but also your rankings on Google if links lead back to your website.

Resurfaced Content

Facebook wants to ensure users don’t miss out on stories that may interest them by repeating this content on their feed.  This change will mean users will keep seeing the same stories as friends continue to comment on them.  This holds further opportunity for a brand who can create and post interesting content, if you engage and encourage conversation your posts will be seen more often.

What does these mean for your brand?

All these tweaks will irritate those companies that until now have cheated their way to visibility on the platform through “like-baiting” and irrelevant “memes”.  However, if you are a brand who wants your Facebook account to reflect your brand’s personality and values, these changes are the ones you’ve been waiting for.  You can catch attention quicker with interesting videos and eye catching images.  If you post up-to-date articles and content driven blogs you won’t have to compete for their spot on the newsfeed with rival companies “like-baiting” posts.

Find out more about social media marketing

 

 

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