By Emma Fitzpatrick
We all knew it was coming, and it finally happened.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote on January 11 that Facebook users would “see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
All the clues were there. Organic reach for brands and publishers on Facebook has been plummeting for years. Plus, in the summer of 2017, Facebook moved all non-ad posts from Pages in the News Feed to Facebook’s new Explore feed in six countries. Pages received four times less engagement and lost up to 75% of their reach.
While your bank’s content won’t be moved to the Explore tab, it will appear less in the News Feed. Here’s what Facebook hopes that will achieve and how it will affect your bank.
Why is Facebook making this algorithm change?
People wanted to see more content from friends and family and less from brands and publishers. Because of that, Facebook will soon prioritize moments from friends, family and groups. To be clear, that means posts from brands and publishers will be shown less (unless, of course, you pay to display).
Zuckerberg also mentioned that one of Facebook’s “big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.”
In his statement, Zuckerberg continually came back to two words: connect and community. He envisions Facebook evolving from passive activities, like watching a video or reading an article, to active ones, where people have conversations and cultivate meaningful connections.
Research shows that the more time people spend on social media, the more depressed, lonely and anxious they feel. Zuckerberg hopes this change could alleviate that problem.
How will this affect my bank’s short-term Facebook strategy?
With this shift, your bank will need to rethink how it uses Facebook. This time ‘round, your strategy will likely focus less on raking in views and garnering a massive reach. Instead, it will be about creating connections and fostering community.
In more specific terms, here’s what we know so far about the update.
- Posts from friends and family will be ranked higher in the News Feed. Specifically, posts that Facebook believes users want to comment on, share, or react to will be prioritized.
- Again, Facebook will be showing fewer posts from brands and publishers. But posts from brands that generate conversation will rank higher in the News Feed. Videos (and especially live videos) tend to do well at that.
- Brand and publisher posts that are engagement-bait will be demoted. That’s any post where you request people to vote using reacts or directly ask them to share or react. If you’ve done that in the past, now’s the time to phase that out.
- Minimize the loss of your followers by asking them to add your Page to their “See First” list. Here’s how.
- This new ranking system will roll out over the next few months.
What about long-term solutions?
Start by building a real community in a Group. Facebook has mentioned Groups will be getting more play, so think about the elements that connect your followers and create a space for them.
Plus, we know Facebook is prioritizing friends and family content over brand content. So, get followers talking about your bank on their own Facebook page. User-generated content could be the perfect solution.
Influencer marketing may also play a role, but remember, if the influencer has their page set up as a brand or publisher, their content is also going to be ranked lower. To explore either of those possibilities, you should meet with your bank’s compliance team to talk specifics.
In the meantime, focus on creating content that generates conversation. Get people talking. Ask questions. Start a dialogue and get ready to get social on social media again.
Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at firstname.lastname@example.org.