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The Side Dish

Is Facebook Dead for Brands?

David Gould / 1.22.2018

Facebook recently announced that it will be prioritizing posts from friends and family in people’s News Feeds. The move comes following user feedback that business and media posts were crowding out the “personal connections” that made Facebook a valuable experience. While this is a positive for user experience, the consequence to brands is that already low visibility with followers will be reduced even further.

Facebook News Update

The Shrinking Facebook Playground

In recent years, Facebook has steadily been reducing the number of followers that brands reach with their organic social posts. Research suggests that brand posts may reach as few as two percent of followers.

While overall reach declined, posts that got high engagement continued to enjoy better visibility. If your posts were getting lots of reactions, comments and shares, it would be more likely to be shown to your other followers.

Facebook Penalizing Baiting

However, many pages sought to game the system with posts that encouraged cheap, high-volume engagement over authentic interactions. As a result, Facebook announced last month that they would be penalizing brands that repeatedly attempted techniques like:

  • Vote baiting – asking users to “vote” using reactions
  • React baiting – similar to vote baiting, this asks users to react to posts in an artificial way
  • Share baiting – incentivizing sharing, like making it part of a contest
  • Tag baiting – prompting users to tag friends in images or content that aren’t directly about them
  • Comment baiting – asking users to add comments that are high-volume, low-quality

While calls for genuine interaction are still allowed, the change is just the latest in a series of steps that make it tougher for Facebook Page posts to be seen.

How to Survive the New Facebook Algorithm

With post reach declining and quality standards rising, brands were already struggling to stay on the radar of their followers. The latest update has many brands questioning the viability of Facebook for reaching their customers and community.

All is not lost, however. There are steps that your organization can take to best navigate these new waters and make the most of this marketing channel.

Treat Facebook As a Paid-First Platform

Boosted posts allow you to maximize reach with your existing followers, as well as new audiences. The good news is that you can reach your audiences without the investment some other channels may demand. Content worth sharing should be given a budget to promote, and measured on engagement.

Focus on Fewer, Higher-Quality Posts

Don’t post for the sake of posting. Whether backed by paid promotion or not, audience interaction still matters for audience reach. If you consistently post quality content that gets solid engagement, your chances are better to continue to get good organic reach on Facebook. Focus on sharing your best stuff.

Establish a Cadence

Whether it’s a few times a day or a few times a week, have a consistent rhythm to your content. Nothing can kill an audience’s interest like getting a firehose of posts followed by a long drought. Be sure that you’re delivering content at a pace that you can sustain, and that can support a solid level of follower engagement.

Use Compelling FormatsFacebook Live

Video rules when it comes to Facebook. Sharing content in a video format will likely improve the reach over image and link posts. Be sure to include captions when possible, as the vast majority of Facebook users watch video with the sound off.

Facebook Live videos are particularly high-interaction, and often followers get an alert when brands post them. Be sure to encourage interaction, such as asking questions and presenting content that has immediacy.

Audience Optimization

A highly underutilized feature on Facebook is Audience Optimization. This option allows you to share posts only with certain audience segments within your followers that are more likely to be interested in the content. Brands can limit reach based on interests, demographic and geographic details, or language.Facebook Audience Optimization

Utilizing segmentation allows you to focus on the portions of your audience who are most likely to connect to a given post, rather than broadcasting to your entire follower base.

The Future of Brands on Facebook

With post reach declining and quality standards rising, brands were already struggling to stay on the radar of their followers. The latest update has many brands questioning the viability of Facebook for reaching their customers and community.

Luckily there are many opportunities for savvy marketers to pivot and make the most of this evolving landscape. Committing to an updated posting approach and sensible, low-cost promotion investment will help keep your business connected with your followers going forward.