The Facebook Algorithm
In January of 2018, Facebook is updating their algorithms. This will change the Facebook News Feed, and it will become more difficult for a small business to be seen. The algorithm controls the Facebook content seen by the users, and posts from friends containing discussions and meaningful content will be prioritized. The Facebook reactions such as like or love will additionally receive priority. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, the change is being made to highlight meaningful social interactions and relevant content. There has already been a lot of discussions regarding the upcoming changes, including one of the experts, Chrissy Weems.
Once the change is in effect, the users will see a lot less of media, brands and business pages, and much more content from family and friends. This may be problematic for small businesses because their visibility will significantly decrease, and potential customers will no longer be viewing their messages. This means small businesses will be scrambling to find a way to be found by Facebook users.
The changes are expected to be noticed by the Facebook users by the end of January. The news feed content will show more content from family and friends, and less from business brands. The actual difference the changes will make is still unknown. For approximately a year, Facebook has been testing various changes regarding the way media and brand content is presented. It is highly likely many more changes will follow the update to the News Feed algorithm in the near future. Mark Zuckerberg stated the changes began last year, but a period of months are required for the focus to work its way through all the various products. The News Feed represents the first change, and groups, family, and friends will be highlighted.
The Survival of the Small Business
Despite the drop, small businesses will see in their engagement and reach, hope still remains for businesses who find new customers on Facebook. The announcement made by Mark Zuckerberg provides clues pertaining to the updates, posts, and visual content from businesses being found. The said the same standard will be used for posts from family and friends and businesses, but the media, brands and business postings in the public content will decrease. The same standard will apply to public content, and meaningful interactions will be encouraged. These standards are content promoting active engagement, authenticity, community, and meaningful interactions.
The prediction of the definition of meaningful content is expected to be the new buzzword for 2018. Examples can be found in the communities that support sports teams and television shows. The best way to post meaningful content is with posts emphasizing a conversation. Something customers will enjoy talking about and discussing with their friends and family over lunch or dinner. For a small business to successfully compete with the new Facebook algorithms, their posts must start conversations, bring in shares and likes, and generate comments in order to be visible to their potential customers.
An Active Experience vs a Passive Experience
Mark Zuckerberg has shared his ideas regarding what makes an experience active instead of passive. This directly relates to the new algorithm and is incredibly important for small businesses. He stated if a discussion is not inspired by a video or article, even if it has entertainment value, it is passive. The best way for a business to determine if their post is active is to figure out if it is meant to inform, such as changing items on a menu, or if it fits the criteria for inspiring a meaningful interaction. The post must contain information to ignite the interest of the Facebook users and spark a discussion garnering likes and comments to be considered an active experience, and bring visibility to the business.
The Meaningful Conversations
The official change of Facebooks’ platform has been designed to create a way for Facebook users to connect with the things, places, and people they have an interest in. This means small businesses will have to humanize their approach to the content they post to engage the social media audience. Communication with the users will become essential to a small business receiving any visibility on Facebook. The business must establish followers who are interested in their content and will begin discussions by making engaging comments. The users must feel like their voice is meaningful for the business for this to occur. Automated updates such as business hours will no longer be enough, and the content must attract the attention of the users, and get them involved in the business. This will never be accomplished with the old standards, and the businesses must change their approach to remain competitive on Facebook.