Hot on the lips of anyone who works in or even just thinks social is Facebook’s latest algorithm. Earlier this month it was revealed that Facebook had tweaked its EdgeRank to reduce the organic reach of brand posts by 50%. This meant it was back to the drawing board for many social strategists. And while we all think and talk about what this means for brands and where they can go next, it leaves me wondering how much control and ownership a user has over their account anymore.
What about the user?
The one almost forgotten thing is that a user *opts* in to liking a page – I used to like pages for films, music and lifestyle interests to keep up with current content and news. Chances are that information won’t reach me anymore – unless the branded page decides to pay for me to. But I made that decision? In fact, I’ll use one particular example – I got a text last week “love the Twinings update, so cute” – I mean, this must blow a brand’s mind for someone to like something *so* much they text about it (nice one, Twinings). I went onto Facebook – couldn’t see anything. I actually had to go onto their page to view it. Which could be the start of big brands getting stronger on the platform and the smaller companies having to drop out.
Facebook’s main focus has always been said to be the user – but if a brand can simply pay to feature their content to the masses, then how can you control its quality? And even when these paid-for posts are being spread throughout Facebook, it doesn’t always mean that users will interact and engage with said post. So essentially these brands are paying for impressions – not interactions.
I unofficially bowed out of Facebook some time ago – by that I mean, I don’t participate often, if ever, I don’t post status updates and I definitely don’t use it to keep in touch with friends anymore (reverting to the old-fashioned telephone). One of the core reasons was that my newsfeed was just full of useless stuff – information that was only there because someone had paid for it to be and status updates from people who post once an hour to keep you informed on their every move. I couldn’t see the stuff *I* wanted to see.
How do we tier content?
When did Facebook stop being about the user? Facebook’s number one priority these days seems to be Facebook, followed by the people who invest in Facebook financially. But hey, Facebook, over here! I’m the user who is willing to comment, like, share – PARTICIPATE! What about me? While so much focus is put on where Facebook needs to go financially I feel as though they’re losing their core touch which is humanity. The human element to the platform. How long will users put up with content being hidden behind closed doors? Just because a brand is on Facebook doesn’t mean users want to see their content less – in some situations that might be the exact case, but what about when it’s not?
Do we need tiers of content – as a user, when I opt in to liking a brand do I get to choose whether I want to see everything, every now and again or only the important stuff. Though from a business point of view, I can see how this would be suicide rather than allowing brands to control with special green paper. Where does Facebook go next in order to thrive financially but keep users happy?
Optimise your content for the new algorithm…
Facebook’s changes mean brands’ focus will shift to *needing* to create engaging content – not in a ‘like this post if…’ kind of way, but a quality kind of way. That doesn’t mean you have to go away and come up with a campaign, design new images or create videos – just come up with content that people will want to engage with. Timely topics that don’t come across as forced or patronising always go down well – connect with users on a fun and genuine level. Make it easy for yourself by; checking that it’s simple, to do with your core topic areas – and fun, would *you* enjoy seeing it in your news feed?
As always, the photo is king – try to add some sort of image to your status for added visibility and engagement.