Earlier this year, Facebook announced some changes to its news feed algorithm that are making marketers reconsider their social media strategy. Nothing rocks the SEO world quite like a change to Google’s search algorithms, but does Facebook pull the same kind of weight when it comes to social media marketing? Maybe.
Do you need to rethink your social media strategy?
The changes, which Facebook has been somewhat coy about, are most noticeable on mobile devices, and are designed to help promote popular content pieces. The more clicks a piece gets, the more exposure it gets.
What does this mean for overall social media strategy? Initially, probably not a lot, although experts think that the changes will result in a gradual decrease in popularity for brands with their own Facebook pages. Until now, a brand’s social media strategy would have been to use Facebook to connect with consumers the way consumers connect with each other. Brands became Facebook friends with their target audiences and in doing so, got a lot of exposure to the friends of their friends.
In the beginning, gaining “likes” and “friends” on Facebook was evidence that a brand was successfully using social media marketing to reach out to its consumer base. Today, with so many people using Facebook, simply having a lot of friends doesn’t take a brand as far as it used to.
Having a large Facebook following could translate easily into a ready-made, customized advertising platform where a brand could “talk” to a group of somewhat friendly and engaged consumers who were at the very least likely to tolerate its advertising messages. Even better for the brand, Facebook allows consumers to talk back to the brand, which is ultimately what the marketers are after.
The changes to Facebook’s news feed require marketers to fine-tune their social media strategy to speak effectively with their engaged consumer audience. Facebook has become a much larger platform, which makes it easier for consumers to ignore. If advertisers want to remain on good terms with the crowd, brands that respect relevance to the consumer above all else will reap the rewards.
So what should your Facebook social marketing strategy now look like? Without a doubt, your social media strategy should include a measurement component. How does the target audience respond to your current content? If the response isn’t overwhelmingly positive, take that as a signal to change your content accordingly. If you couple your Facebook content with advertising, resegment your audiences and target content and advertising messages to individual segments. Recognize that a “middle-of-the-road” social media marketing strategy isn’t likely to resonate well with any portion of your audience.
If anything, changes to Facebook’s news feed mean that marketers will need to work harder to achieve the results that compare favorably to their previous social media strategy. The keys are still finding the right audiences and providing them with relevant, interesting content that aligns with their own interests, but advertisers will need to become more sensitive to the amount and intrinsic value of content that consumers receive through their Facebook news feeds.
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