Facebook Algorithm update January 2018: Does this apply to ads?

Short answer: No….well maybe….

There has been a lot of buzz about the new algo update and I’m sure your inbox has been full of influencers giving you their take on it. Everyone seems to be up.in.arms over the latest update. Here's the official newsroom article

So, you're probably wondering "WHHHHHY does Facebook keep doing this to us?????"

Well, we might be part of the problem! According to Jon Loomer, it’s because we (as marketers) keep trying to push the envelope with organic and paid reach and when we do that (and it makes for a bad experience for Facebook users) Facebook has to compensate for that and make changes so users don't leave the platform. 

From what Jon mentioned, we are part of the problem. You can check out his (rant) blog post here. (And if you have a side hustle selling through a MLM (think: Thirty one bags, LuLaRoe, you definitley want to check out this article. Word to the wise: Do not start posting your products on your personal profile to compensate for this update. That is no bueno!) 

If you still need a bit of explanation about the algo change let me take a step back for a minute.

Here’s what we know about how Facebook works:

It knows A LOT about its users. It knows what we click on, what we like, what we comment on, what we talk about in messenger, etc so if you are constantly engaging with those funny cat videos on Facebook it’s going to show you MORE of those funny cat videos (I only know because a friend told me. ;) ) 

Facebook's mission is to create a happy-go-lucky, Pleasantville, type user experience so that people STAY on Facebook. If people are starting to get cranky with what they’re seeing in their newsfeed they’ll leave and find another platform to socialize on (notice the word socialize. I’ll get to that in a minute). Facebook doesn't want that. It likes it's over 2 billion users and wants to keep them happy!

So, in this effort, Facebook is now going to prioritize the things you see in your feed based on your experiences. So that means more friends posts and less page posts. Now, keep in mind, Facebook is going to MONITOR this new algorithm and see how it pans out with it’s users. If users like it, they’ll keep it and if not, they’ll make adjustments. So, don’t go leaving Facebook just yet. They are truly trying to make the user experience better and if the user experience is good people stay and businesses will advertise more on Facebook. 

So, back to the word "socialize" I mentioned earlier. Let me remind you of something. Facebook was created for USERS to connect with their family, friends and build a community online. It was created for users to SOCIALIZE.  It was not…..let me repeat…..it was NOT created for businesses. So, you shouldn’t get all upset over these changes as they are focused on how they can improve the USERS personal experience and less focused on how you can grow your likes or reach more of your customers. Capeesh?

So, what does this mean for business pages? Again, we’re talking about organic reach on your business page – not (necessarily) PAID ads.  It means you need to: 

1. Post better stuff!

You must do a better job of posting content that you know is meaningful to your followers. Not yesterday’s sale on your coaching package. Content that is going to GENUINELY help your users and yes, that means giving away free content…..free GOOD content. And that takes time so if you’re not willing to hire someone or do it yourself reconsider if you should be on Facebook. Gone are the days of trying to slide in some great promo you’re doing. Facebook doesn’t like that.

2. Grow your List!

Don't rely solely on Facebook to communicate with your followers and customers. You have to work on growing your list. Remember, we don't own our pages but will do own our lists. We'll have them forever so nurture them! Here's a blog I wrote on how to grow your list and get likes/followers as well. 

3. Use your group:

If you have a group and your running your group the RIGHT way (meaning—providing valuable content to your group members) then keep doing that. According to Mark Zuckerberg,

“The first changes you'll see will be in the News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups."  

Now, this doesn't mean you should go out and create a group. Not all businesses would do well with a group. They are time consuming and need to be managed well. They do provide you with more visibility and promote engagement which is why Zuck wants to show them to its users.  But don’t RUIN in! Don’t think “Hey, Facebook is going to reduce my organic page reach so I’m just going to make a group and promote the heck out of my stuff over there. " Noooo! That's only going to scream for another algo update down the road. People aren't going to flock to a group that is constantly selling. If you have a group already or are considering one, check out this blog where I share how to manage it properly.

4. Stop BAITING!

·  Engagement Bait: What the heck is Engagement bait? That’s when you ask your followers to do something to build engagement inauthentically and therefore be seen more in the newsfeed. For example: Like if you’re a Libra, Vote for A or B, tag a friend, Comment ‘Freebie’ in the comments to get my latest freebie <-- It will be interesting to see how this one pans out as chatbots are quite the rage these days. Here’s a newsroom article on engagement bait.

· Clickbait: It’s gross. It’s manipulative. (This applies to ads also!) What is it? It’s when you post a headline or content that entices someone to click on the link and lure them into reading the content. Often on the other end there is something spammy. So stop it. If you read your ad copy and headline and think it’s misleading the user or being tricky, that’s a red flag that it’s clickbait. Don't do it. The ad won't even get approved anyway. 

5. Ask followers to use the “See first” option:

Post on your page and ask followers to ‘see you first’ in their newsfeed. Email your list as well and ask them to do this or better yet, put some money behind it and boost the post so more people see it. Here’s how:

  • Take a snapshot of the banner image on your Facebook page. 
  • Put an arrow showing them where they can find the 'see first' option.
  • Ask them to click the drop down menu and select 'See First.' Now your page posts will be seen in their newsfeed first. 
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6. Use Facebook ads:

Remember when I said this update doesn't affect paid ads, well, it does. Sort of. This update now means that we need to put some budget behind the content we want our users to see. Guys…. Marketing is NOT free. Make sure you are putting some money behind your content. Facebook ads are now more important than ever to be seen!

7. Use more live video:

UGGGGHHHH... I hate video. I should be taking my own advice here and going live more on my page. I tend to go live in my student community but need to really step up my game. Here are some things you (and I) can do to get more reach with video:

  • Show behind the scenes videos (followers love getting a look inside of your world)
  • Offer a free training or provide weekly tips
  • Use your FB live as a paid ad to create more awareness of your business (Its a great way to introduce yourself to new fans)
  • Use it for lead generation. Include a link to a freebie in the copy.
  • Be you. Just go on to say hi, talk about a new program or product you found and loved. Be real and be authentic. People buy from people. Not logos. 

Tip: Don’t make any drastic changes yet – This algorithm is just rolling out. Monitor your stats on your page and see if you reach increases and decreases over the next few weeks. Keep an eye on your numbers and make a determination if you start to see a trend.

Bottom line: We need to roll with the pushes here. Facebook isn't out to get us as business owners. It's primary focus is to it's users and it's forcing us as marketers and business owners to step up or step aside. The choice is ours.