November 28, 2012

What Facebook's Algorithm Change Means for Marketers

by Kestrel Lemen, Marketing Strategist at Bronto Europe

Many have expressed their concern with the new changes brought on by the algorithmic changes on Facebook. If you monitor your Facebook business page you’ve probably experienced a dip (some would say a canyon) in views.

Facebook introduced a new system of choosing what is shown in a user's feed called EdgeRank. This system, much like an awkward hug from a distant family member: is meant to give a good user experience, but many businesses are finding it a bit constricting, and maybe a little smelly. Maybe you have found yourself in this embrace and your just wondering “Is this really happening? Why does EdgeRank smell like mothballs?”

Facebook is now more aggressively trying to become pay to play platform. Meaning if you want more people to see a post you will need to pay for it. Think impressions on PPC ads.

Both of these tactics, EdgeRank and charging to have your posts be seen by a higher number of your audience are very similar to what Google has been doing for years with Organic vs. Paid search. At the end of the day Google and Facebook both want their users to have a good experience, get what they want, and not be inundated with ‘spam’ or useless content. 

What does this mean for you? Well you have probably already seen a drop in viewers (awkward Facebook hug) AND now you're faced with unexpected budget questions.

All is not lost. Just because Facebook is giving you this awkward (and smelly) hug does NOT mean that you should pass it along to your viewers.  It’s time to rally folks! You’ve heard it before ‘content is king’ and it’s true now more then ever on Facebook.  Your posts need to be relevant, they need to be meaningful, they need to get me to like/comment/share/click!

A few things to keep in mind, remember to post:

  • Great/relevant pictures and videos. These have been proven to get more likes and comments than plain text posts.
  • Better content not MORE content. Posting a bunch of junk just to try and be seen won’t help anyone. Especially not you. (Remember you don’t want to be the one giving out awkward hugs!)
  • At optimum times of the day. You are able to see when your page gets the most traffic. Post at those times! If you know no one is looking at their feed at 2am then don’t schedule posts for then!

I've seen some debate over instructing FB fans to change their FB settings so that a companies posts can't be missed. I say go for it! You may not see a huge response, but those who do follow through are also the most likely to like and share content. Come up with a couple of great and really enticing posts that tell people what's going on and how they can continue to see you. Make sure the voice of the post is inline with your brand and that it doesn't come across as 'extra work' for the FB fan. Show your social following what they are missing out on because of the new FB changes. 

Final thought: Impressions/views are fine and great for exposure and branding and so on… But they certainly are not the only metric you should be looking at. Likes, comments, shares and of course clicks to the website are essential metrics you need to be looking at as well.

Remember you have other channels that you can use to engage with your contacts. If you're losing visibility on Facebook, email and/or SMS is still around to help drive sales and engagement. 

Have you experienced the awkward hug from Facebook? Views going down? If so what have you done to try and raise engagement? 

Kestrel Lemen
Marketing Strategist at Bronto

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Kestrel Lemen, Marketing Strategist at Bronto Europe

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