Whether you love Facebook or hate it, there’s no denying the important role it plays in public relations and marketing. Therefore, when Facebook leader Mark Zuckerberg announced changes to the News Feed algorithm a few weeks ago, our clients expressed concern about whether the change would affect them. Yes, it will. That’s clear from Zuckerberg’s announcement, which said in no uncertain terms, “you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.”
However, all is not lost. This is simply an opportunity to be more intentional about how you use Facebook. Consider the following strategies:
1. Be proactive by asking for “see first” status
If your followers love you, there’s no shame in asking them to make it Facebook official. (Just envision a cute little heart emoji here.) Before the algorithm change fully takes effect, post some quick instructions on how followers can ensure they see your content. You might want to send this message through other channels like email, as well. This message should include, at a minimum, language about:
- WHY people would want to see your content. For example: “Make sure you don’t miss announcements about special events and discounts.”
- HOW followers can continue to see your content. For example: “To keep seeing our posts in your News Feed, just go to our Facebook page, tap the Follow button, and then select the See First option.”
2. Connect to your fan base in a group
Even if your brand’s Facebook Page disappears from the News Feed, your brand message can still come through loud and clear in a Facebook Group. As an example, I don’t see posts from the Penzey’s Spices Brand Page often. However, I see posts from the Penzey’s Spices Fan Club Group Page every day. While the follower count for the group page is much smaller, the community is active – which increases visibility on Facebook and benefits the brand. The difficult part is getting the word out about your group. Plus, you’ll have another page to maintain. But for some organizations and companies, that effort is worth it.
3. Use Facebook Live video
If there’s one type of content Facebook wants to show, it’s video. Consider using Facebook Live to broadcast one-off events (like press conferences) or regular “programs” at a set time. As an example, my Realtor hosts “Wine Down Wednesday” on Facebook Live. She covers a topic of interest for home buyers or sellers while drinking a glass of wine. It’s a simple concept, but it works. These videos are easy to produce (all it takes is a cell phone), they stay on the Facebook page after the live session is over and, best of all, they are free!
4. Emphasize quality over quantity
With the new algorithm, Facebook is putting more emphasis on content that drives “meaningful interactions” among people. Think about how to increase engagement with your posts, which suggests to Facebook that your content is doing just that. For example, a transportation-related organization could ask followers to share stories about favorite family road trips. One caveat: do not overtly ask people to like or share your content. Facebook might limit visibility of the post.
5. Increase your budget
Not surprisingly, Facebook is still ready and willing to take your money. As far as we know, the algorithm change doesn’t affect paid placement – so for those messages that really need to get out, it may be worth it to pay for a boosted or sponsored post.