What to learn from Facebook’s latest newsfeed update.
Ah, the Facebook algorithm. The bane of many a brand marketer’s life.
Keeping track of its ever-shifting parameters is much like the decision to let Harry Kane take free kicks – difficult to understand and mostly faintly depressing – and yesterday’s announcement is no different.
While some of the changes, under the title of ‘News Feed Values’, will be welcomed – namely, Facebook’s commitment to political impartiality – others, like the prioritisation of content from family and friends over brand contents, will have social media managers scratching their heads.
So where do we go from here?
As anyone who manages a brand Facebook page will know, the organic reach of posts has dropped exponentially over the last two years. While this may not be a huge issue for big organisations with big marketing budgets (such as Nike and Coca-Cola) brands or campaigns with smaller spends may find themselves struggling.
I think there are some important lessons we can take from Facebook here. The organisation clearly holds listening to their users in high regard (and yes, squeezing every last drop of organic reach is also a great way for Facebook to sustain its ad revenue stream), but tuning in to audience feedback and acting on it regularly is one of the best tools marketers have at their disposal.
We as communications professionals need to keep in mind that we must give people what they want to see, not want we want to tell them, especially on social channels.
The relevance and usefulness of social media content to your audience now matters more than ever, if only to cut through the noise of birthdays, gap years, trips abroad, political musings, and yes, brand content, that appears in every newsfeed, every day.
Maintaining the quality and relevance of social media content, making it informative or emotive (or both), and preserving that ever-important dialogue, should stand you in good stead for the impending changes.
Until, of course the next News Feed announcement from Facebook.