The new Facebook algorithm will focus on people-to-people, not business-to-people. Like, a LOT of focus.
Welcome back from the rock under whence you came! If you’ve checked your Facebook feed, or really any news related to business, economy, or marketing, there’s a massive buzz around the recent announcement by Mark Zuckerberg that the Facebook algorithm is changing. Nothing new, right?
Wrong. This change falls into the “once more with feeling” genre. Emphasis on the feeling.
What’s about to happen?
Things are about to get way more personal on Facebook. The new formula for your Facebook feed will put you in touch with posts from other personal profiles (your friends, friends of friends, people’s posts you tend to find interesting, etc.).
Additionally, it’s about (yeah, I’m going to use that word) engagement. But not just throwing out a quick reaction so your friend can see that you saw their post even though you made zero time to linger. Facebook wants conversations to happen. You see a post, it spawns a reaction out of you, and you actually type words in a comment on that post to share your more-than-a-GIF-or-emoji response.
Great! So all I need to do is use the word “comment” or “tag” in your post text, right?
Nope. Facebook announced at the end of 2017 that they will absolutely penalize engagement-bait text used to make people do things to your post. This whole “LIKE if you agree, LAUGH if you disagree” tactic is out the window, friends.
Oh, and your Facebook Page posts? As a result of this change, they’re going to get far less play in the timeline. (Page admins should be used to this by now.)
Should I, in fact, panic?
Noooooo. But you should take this for what it is: a robust scoop of change resting in a bowl of solid intention and topped with a dollop of upheaval.
Here’s what you can do (and probably should have been doing already):
- Craft YOU-centric posts. I cannot tell you how crushingly tired we all are of posts which lead off with “we” or “I,” especially when they occur on business or organization posts. WHY do you assume everyone else finds your stuff as interesting as you do? Instead, your post should take you out of your own brain and thrust you into the experience of your reader, because that’s what they are interested in the most. If you can grab them in a moment of how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking, your post can make them linger and engage.
- No more assembly-line posts. You know what you want to share right down to the hyperlink and one or two key calls-to-action (CTAs). But no longer can you just queue those up in a scheduler; going forward you need to flex more empathy and writing muscles to make the link timely and fairly crucial to the reader.
- Cultivate power users. If your Page or profile has at least a handful of fans who routinely do more than react to your posts, it’s high time you put a ring on it: build a group of advocates. Acknowledge their importance to your content by connecting with them, assembling them into a VIP gathering, and making this relationship meaningful… because these users will get you through this change.
- Get trained or get a resource. If you don’t know how to do these things effectively, you should either make the time to learn how or take the money to invest in a professional. I’ve got a short-and-sweet list of pros I can refer you to for digital work.
Where did this come from?
Zuck had a rough year.
There was that time when Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, appeared before Congress for grueling testimony about how much responsibility they own for political sway by foreign entities over their users.
There was the ruling by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that political ads on Facebook must show who paid for them that came in the wake of reports that Russian-based advertisers wielded their wiles through the Facebook feed to impact U.S. politics.
Then there was the report that scrolling through their Facebook feed (and social media in general) makes people feel generally crappy afterwards.
All of the billions of dollars or other currency in the world apparently hasn’t been enough salve for these wounds, and Zuck’s response is a more major shift than we’ve seen in the every-other-day changes Facebook routinely rolls out.
Where will this take us?
This is my favorite part. One reason I love social media is its role in shaping humanity and how we communicate (good, bad, or ugly).
I also love watching how the unique platforms change and thereby alter humanity’s course by slow degrees. This latest from Facebook is interesting to me on a few fronts: Zuck’s willingness to take a fairly massive gamble for this change; the political ramifications at a point in our history when a mistake could lead to nuclear war; watching how we humans (mis)handle the communication tools held in our hands throughout the day.
As far as this specific Facebook adjustment, look for more on how we as personal and professional communicators might shift our approaches on an app we use to the point of addiction.