A few weeks ago, Mark Z decided to do a ‘New Year, New Facebook’ update by changing the algorithm of the Facebook News Feed. The reason, he said is so people can have more meaningful conversations/experiences with people they actually care about rather than to just ‘consume content’. While this facebook update is GREAT! For personal interaction, it is not so much for businesses because it means that the visibility of organic branded content will reduce drastically on newsfeeds. In other words, if you have a business page (regardless of the number of likes it has), your organic content reach will get lower.
This changes the game for brand owners, Facebook page admins and digital marketers. How? You may ask.
Well, the most obvious way is the increase in ad spend; literally now, to be seen or heard as a page you definitely need to run ads. But there are other less obvious ways… For instance, It will induce the use of Influencer marketing on the platform, influence growth of communities, use of chatbots and Whatsapp for business.
Have you ever wondered why the social media influencers we know are typically Twitter or Instagram influencers? We never hear about the influencers on Facebook. Maybe because everyone has a 5000 friends limit. But! I believe that with this update; ‘a niche’ of facebook influencers will gain recognition.
Even with the friend limit, they are a few people whose content always draws the attention of the bulk of their friends, who keep engaging and sharing their content – the Multiplier effect. The algorithm favours these people and these kinds of engaging content. The truth is that a lot of times, on Facebook, it is not so much about the content as it is about the person.
What this means is that we will need to start identifying those people with active presence and influence on Facebook and get share your content. This time though, not in the typical advertorial way as we know how to, but in a manner that is also relevant to their ‘friends’.
The algorithm is SMART! With Machine Learning, Facebook is going to able to detect engagement baits and advertorials; which means, your influencer marketing on Facebook, has to be highly organic & subtle. The keyword is subtle. A brilliant example is @lasisielenu (at least when he started); his adverts were strongly subtle and was the product of his rant (not the rant itself). In other words, the facebook influencers and brands that will win are those that know how to slip in adverts subtly in an organic content.
With this Facebook update, I think more brands will (and should) lookout for how to grow communities & interaction via Groups and Chatbots.
This new Facebook update to the algorithm primarily affects news feed. It has no impact (yet) on Messenger or Groups.
So, what if we start working on ways to build up chatbot subscribers and group members. This way, we will be able to put out content – advertorial or otherwise straight to our target audience. No ranking problem!
‘’Yes! Let’s talk about ranking for a bit; Everyone needs to get more quality content focused – even if your content is an advert. Quality will always get shares. For instance, if your advert is quality, people will still share and re-engage with it. Think of GTBank’s 737 advert or Airtel’s Life without data ad, or Lasisi’s rants where he advertises Coke Studio. The more the quality, the more engagement, the better your ranking!’’
… and so my advice is that every brand should start building their community. With every campaign, put a little focus on community building. Get your influencers to get people to subscribe to your chatbots (this is even easier than getting them to join groups), use incentives to lure people to your facebook groups. In fact, the seeding phase of your campaigns should at the very least, community building.
Of course, there is going to be more competition and maybe soon, more restrictions on Facebook advertising. Gone are the days when 100k likes on a facebook page can support your campaign & push your brand. Right now! You just have to spend to gain reach and visibility. For businesses, this is a great impact, especially for SMBs.
… and honestly, I foresee that in the coming weeks, Mark will give restrictions on who can and what can be advertised; still in a bid to make the experience richer for users.
But as always, ad spend has ways it can be controlled.
- Stop boosting post except you real and final campaign objective is to get likes.
- Better Targeting: Use more than just demography (age, sex, gender, location) and interest (keywords) for your targeting. Go a bit deeper and use behaviours, job titles, connections, devices. Also, having multiple ad sets that different in placements might help. Of course! Split Test your ads.
- Use Conversion tracking & Retargeting to increase ROI
WhatsApp for Business:
I think it’s quite impressive (mildly suspicious too) how the Facebook update came almost at the same time with Whatsapp for business (which is now available in Nigeria now). I might be wrong but I think this Facebook update might have a positive effect on the rate of adoption of the new WhatsApp for Business App.
Therefore, I think it would not hurt if you check how effective the app is. For one, I know it will impact customer service and make more people ‘WhatsApp Sellers’ (like we have Instagram sellers). Most likely too, it will have the advertising feature.
It is great to know Facebook & WhatsApp each have over 41% of total social media population in Nigeria (HootSuite wearesocial stats, 2018). So, if Facebook becomes difficult, is there a chance that WhatsApp can be a fallback plan? Who knows?