It’s no secret, the social media landscape is constantly evolving. From emerging platforms, to hot new trends, there’s always something new that marketers must identify and adapt to.
The most recent curveball comes courtesy of Facebook. Earlier this year, the ‘original’ social network made headlines with the announcement of their updated News Feed algorithm. And for better or worse, this change is sure to have quite the impact on your B2B marketing strategy.
In today’s post, we give you the scoop on Facebook’s new algorithm, and we prepare you for the impending change. Keep reading!
How is Facebook’s new algorithm different?
Facebook’s new algorithm prioritizes content that sparks conversations and meaningful interactions between Facebook users.
As Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, puts it, “We’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
The new algorithm will allow Facebook to more accurately predict which posts a user may want to interact with and then pushes these posts higher up in the News Feed.
Prior to the update, the News Feed would present content most likely to resonate with a user. However, the system wasn’t a perfect science. As many users report, you were more likely to see irrelevant ads, than you were to see content you were actually interested in.
According to Facebook, you can expect to see more content that stimulates back-and-forth discussion and posts that you might want to share and react to. Additionally, the algorithm will also place a higher importance on content created and shared by friends and family, than that of brands and media outlets.
What is the reason for this change?
Facebook’s new algorithm is in part, an effort to return Facebook to its roots and original mission: to facilitate connections between people. While this goal hasn’t completely faded from view, Facebook recognizes that their ‘business-first’ mentality has impacted their original vision in recent years. As such, they decided it was time for a change.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook has “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.” With the release of its new algorithm, Facebook hopes to give the power back to the user, and create a more enjoyable experience.
How will Facebook’s new algorithm impact your B2B business?
Since the emergence of social media, Facebook has never been the platform of choice for B2B marketers. The reason for this is simple: Compared to outlets like Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook made it significantly more challenging to garner an engaged audience, primarily due to the platforms mission. However, if you thought connecting with your audience on Facebook was difficult before, buckle up. It’s about to become a lot more challenging.
Facebook explains it best in their release notes, “Because space in the News Feed is limited … we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.” In other words, you can expect your business profile to see a significant decrease in reach and engagement.
However, it’s not all bad news. As we stated above, these new changes are all in an effort to create a more enjoyable experience for Facebook users. And a more enjoyable user experience can benefit your brand immensely. We’ll let Mark explain further:
“I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”
As Mark points out, lower reach and engagement isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Don’t focus so hard on what you’re losing, but instead what you’ll be gaining: More relevant interactions with the individuals who matter most to your organization.
Is this the end of Facebook for Business?
While undoubtedly frustrating, we don’t recommend running out to immediately shut down your business’s Facebook profile. But, as with most changes, the new Facebook algorithm will require you to re-strategize a bit. Here are a few simple solutions to get you on the right path.
1. Become more audience-oriented.
One way of doing this is to create buyer personas.
Buyer personas are detailed profiles of your best buyers. The profiles are created using demographic, firmographic, and technographic data such as job title, technology use, management level, industry, and company size. They should also cover less measurable characteristics like pain points, personality traits, and buyer preferences. Buyer personas provide your marketing team with a deeper understanding of your target audience.
Once you’ve created them, your buyer personas can inform every aspect of your Facebook strategy– from the topics you choose to publish about, to what time of the day you post. The more you tailor your Facebook posts to the preferences of your buyers, the more audience interaction you will receive.
2. Encourage interaction with your content.
Interactive content is fast becoming the gold standard in B2B marketing. According to a recent report, 81% of marketers agree that interactive content grabs a prospect’s attention more effectively than static content (source).
While this tip may seem obvious, we felt it was still worth mentioning. After all, the more your audience interacts with your Facebook content, the better off your brand will be.
Unfortunately, there is no exact formula used to create content that elicits a response from your audience. However, there are a few ways you can alter your Facebook content to encourage more interaction with your audience. Here are our suggestions:
- Ask a question: Open ended questions get your audience thinking. Though simple, this strategy can provide great results.
- Utilize polls and surveys:Facebook’s polling capabilities offer a great opportunity to brands. Not only are they fun to engage in, but the results can provide your organization with valuable findings regarding your target audience.
- Host contests or giveaways: Remember, people love free things. Consider hosting a social media contest or giveaway in which you offer your prospects a tempting prize in exchange for their engagement with your content.
3. Prioritize live video.
Live streaming has taken the marketing world by storm– and for good reason:
- Streaming video accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic and is expected to jump to 82% by 2020 (source).
- 67% of live video viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after watching a live video of that event or a similar one (source).
- 79% of marketers say live video facilitates a more authentic interaction with an audience (source).
In his announcement, Zuckerberg explains that “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” As such, we can safely assume that, as part of the new Facebook algorithm, live video will rank supreme.
If your B2B organization hasn’t yet tapped in the power of live streaming, it’s time you started! Check out the following blog posts to learn how:
4. Integrate your paid and organic strategies.
In 2018, the argument for paid social media strategies is as strong as ever. In fact, 93% of marketers advertise on Facebook regularly (source).
If your budget allows, we suggest you incorporate your organic strategy into your paid efforts. Even a few dollars to boost your top-performing posts can exponentially increase the reach and engagement of your content.
So there you have it, everything we know about Facebook’s new algorithm. Although this news isn’t great for the B2B community, it doesn’t really change much. Think about it—engaging content should always be your first priority—as long as you don’t lose focus, your audience will continue to find you and interact with you.
At the end of the day, only you can decide which platforms make the most sense to invest in. If Facebook’s newest change significantly cuts engagement, we recommend spending less time trying to make it work. Instead, spend more time with other platforms that produce better results for your marketing team.
To learn more about the ZoomInfo B2B contact database, contact our sales team today! We can take your marketing efforts to the next level.