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Facebook Algorithm Updates of 2018

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement that the Facebook newsfeed will only show relevant content from friends, family and groups and less public content. This led to a dramatic downfall of organic reach of brands who could not reach their audience now without paying for Facebook advertisements.

Zuckerberg stated that this was done to weed out unwanted content from the newsfeed promoting the brands to produce relevant audience-oriented content. This meant that any brands or businesses would just have to work a tad harder to gain their customers on this online platform.

Facebook is by far the largest social media platform with an impressive percentage of users above 65 and understandably the brands and businesses responded with apprehension towards the same. But decrease in the organic reach does not mean a death sentence for the brands. Press releases and webinars were conducted to ensure the brands what they needed to do to survive the algorithm change.

So what does the meaningful interactions mean in this new update? Facebook is no longer interested in the amount of time you spend on it as long as it is “quality” time. The new algorithm determines the reach of a post after considering the following factors

  • Time of posting
  • Engagement on a post
  • Number of shares (on your page, to another person’s profile or via messenger)
  • Post content
  • Post relevance
  • Reactions on the post

How can the brands and businesses endure the algorithm update and what strategy should they adopt?

As the main motive of the algorithm change is to derive authentic growth for your brand or business, developing great content will ensure real interactions and shares. Let’s take a look at some of the strategies adopted for the same:

  1. Video Marketing – It is predicted to be the most used content strategy for the year 2019 by digital marketers and is one sure shot way to increase your organic reach on Facebook. Facebook themselves have said in a data-driven study that videos get more traffic and reach than static post. You don’t need to create elaborately produced videos, but short and simple video with an engaging message will also appeal to the audience. Another way to increase engagement and reach is by using the live video! Zukerberg stated that live videos tend to perform six times better under the new algorithm proven with high level of engagement! 
  2. Facebook Groups: They are becoming a popular commodity for brands to share their content with and get thousands of users in one group to see their brand. This is best suited for like-minded people. For example, a food brand reaching out to people in a food group will see a positive sale and increase in his reach because the content is relevant to the people he has shared it with. Facebook wants the brands to create content that drives discussions. A travel company can spike a conversation with a travel group on Facebook driving relevant content and subtly promote their brand and increase engagement.
  3. Don’t bait your audience: Facebook has started a way to shadow ban the brands or businesses that are spamming their audiences with bait clicks and comments by ensuring that irrelevant content is not visible to majority users on Facebook. So, the best strategy for brands with the algorithm update is to shift their modus of operation from click-bait like posts directly asking for likes and comments which is marked as spam by Facebook. Using questions, polls on posts are found to be more effective while seeking engagements and interactions with your audience. The only catch is that the content posted should be around a trending topic and worthy of debate. The more the engagement, the more your content will be visible to other people via the new algorithm update.
  4. Brand Ambassadors: Ever since the new algorithm update, with user-based content being more focused on relevant audience, who better to advertise your brand than your own friends and family. They are your first point of organic reach and their recommendations will promote your brand to reach authentic likes and engagement. The organic reach with the new algorithm is nil and depends on your page following to determine the number of users your content will be visible to. Encouraging your friends and family to share your posts makes other people 16 times more likely to read the content when published by their known friend or family member.
  5. Paid Ad Campaigns: With a rapid decline in organic reach on the largest social media platform from 2% to nil, with the new algorithm update, brands have reluctantly but steadily embraced the trend of paid reach. Facebook ads help you prioritize the type of audience you want with an objective in mind. You can choose out of the 11 marketing objectives offered by Facebook that will help the brands according to the way they want to establish themselves in the market. These objectives are
    • Brand awareness – Reaching out to a new target audience.
    • Reach – The average people your ad will reach out to depending on the budget.
    • Traffic – Driving traffic onto a specific page or link.
    • Engagement – Increasing your page likes, number of people reached, promoting an event, overall reaching out to a wider audience.
    • App Installations – getting people to download your app
    • Video Views – Promoting your video to increase the number of views and making more people watching the same.
    • Lead generation – Finding new prospective business leads.
    • Messages – encouraging your audience to reach out to you via messenger for queries or enquiries
    • Conversations – getting x amount of people to take a specific action on your website depending on what you want to promote.
    • Catalog Sales – Showing Facebook ads to relevant audience who are most likely to buy the products.
    • Store Visits – Notifying the nearby people to drive traffic to an offline store
  6. Timing is Imperative: With the algorithm update, the timing for posting has become highly significant to post reach. If posted at the best time when maximum users are online, this can be highly beneficial to increase the post reach and engagement. The best way to strategize this is using a content calendar to understand the best time for posting on social media.How do you feel about the current Facebook algorithm?  Whatever the social media overreaction about the same, the ever-changing Facebook algorithm has sure forced brands to revise their content strategy for the better.

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