If your brand is on Facebook, you may have noticed your posts reaching a smaller audience lately. That’s because in April 2015, the social networking site announced changes to its algorithm that royally ticked off marketers. Organic, or unpaid reach, was already slashed to just 2 percent, meaning only 2 percent of a brand’s community would see an unboosted post. But in April, that changed to just 1 percent.
“Brands that were already great at content and had an engaged audience won’t find this much of a challenge,” says Jen Boyles, Content Strategy Director for Olson Engage, a PR and social media agency. “This will be challenge for brands that were still posting about themselves and their product all the time.”
So, in this new era of Facebook marketing, when it’s all about engaging content, what does your brand need to do to get noticed? Here are three things you need to know about the Facebook algorithm to get started.
Free Reach is Hard to Come By
These changes were in part meant to prioritize friends over pages, and were also meant to encourage brands to pay for their reach. In fact, in the first quarter of 2015, paid impressions have grown by 8 percent, according to an Adobe Systems study. During this latest wave of algorithm changes, Facebook also decided it would stop serving up images that look like ads, and posts calling for fans to engage with a like, comment, or share, says Boyle.
“Probably the worst part about all of this is that we no longer see our friends liking and commenting on content,” she says. “The only free reach brands are getting now is that 1 percent and when fans share their content. It’s all like a bad puzzle you think you’ve figured out and the you find one more piece.”
Video is King
While unpaid organic reach is down, one kind of content is surpassing all the rest. Boyles says that in her work she often see unpaid video perform 10 to 20 times better than all other content. Video is growing in popularity across all platforms, and Facebook users now post more of their own videos directly to Facebook, rather than sharing a YouTube link. It’s no surprise video is ranking high, as Facebook amps up its efforts to compete with YouTube.
“I see YouTube as a library of video content, and Facebook has more of a real-time discovery platform,” says Boyle.
You Need to Create Value for Users
Consumers expect to be entertained or inspired, especially on social media when brands compete with their friends for attention, explains Boyles. Her advice? Always think of the customers first and add value for them. “Then repeat that to yourself 100 times.”
“The best branded content is the stuff you don’t even realize is branded until the end,” she says. “The days of the indulgent title card on videos are going away. You now have two seconds to make an impression, so make it count.”