Facebook has once again tweaked its News Feed algorithm and the change will alter how often content from brands appears in News Feeds from people that have Liked that brand’s page. This post seems to write itself 2-3 times a year, doesn’t it?
The newest changes, which rolled out last month and were announced last November, flip the script on brands. Previously, brands were told that they needed to add photos to their updates to increase engagement and visibility in Facebook’s News Feed.
Now? It’s the opposite, content with photos has the lowest reach.
Yeah. This is a big reason why I am always telling you to first plant seeds in the gardens you own. Invest in your website and blog first, not social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Because those sites can change the rules on you whenever they want, and Facebook is the worst offender here. What irks me most about this latest change is that it flies in the face of the advice that companies are hearing about social media. Companies have been taught for years that pictures drive engagement. That adding a relevant image to your content will enhance its value and the engagement around it. Now, Facebook is saying that pictures are penalized, if anything. This becomes a big problem for the companies that focus most of their social media efforts on Facebook because they will be learning what Facebook wants them to know about improving engagement on Facebook versus about what actually drives the engagement of social media content.
Facebook can be a wonderful complement to your existing online marketing efforts. Unfortunately, many companies use its Facebook page as a replacement for having a blog or even a website. And if they later decide to launch a blog or website, they can take the bad lessons learned on Facebook, and apply it to their blog. Like writing posts without images. Or only publishing ‘cute’ videos of kids falling in the snow and wondering why that’s not driving engagement on the company blog for an industrial lubricant supplier.
In a perfect world, Facebook’s goals would be aligned with your company’s goals. Facebook would want to show and teach you how to create content that is more engaging and valuable to your customers. But Facebook is now a publicly-traded company. Facebook’s goals are increasing revenue and profits. That’s likely a big reason why it’s moving toward putting more value on videos. Because watching videos means you stay on Facebook even longer. And as time spent on site goes up, Facebook can report that to shareholders as a sign of growth and to advertisers as leverage to raise ad rates.
Facebook’s goals are to make Facebook better for Facebook, not for your company. Your company is on its own, so plan accordingly.