Last week, Facebook made an announcement about some changes to their News Feed algorithm, which sparked a lot of discussion amongst the publishing community.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about” – said Mark Zuckerberg in his post.

The social network wants to focus more on “meaningful interactions” and reduce News Feed noise, by making posts from friends and family more of a priority over updates from Business Pages and ads. If you think about it, Facebook wants to get back to basics. It was built on “friends” and relationships, and they want to return to this, so peer-to-peer interactions and conversations will get higher priority.

What does this mean for publishers and brands? Essentially, the new update will likely mean a reduction of organic reach for branded posts and increased pay-per-click fees for Facebook ads.

According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Head of News Feed: “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

Now more than ever, Facebook business pages need to be creating content that will engage users and spark conversation. A real differentiator for Facebook as a medium and distribution channel is that it offers the ability to create a two-way conversation between content producer and audience. To maximize organic traffic as a publisher, you’ll want to leverage and encourage that behavior to get users commenting, talking and interacting with your content – more conversation will equal wider reach.

Facebook live

The recent update also highlighted that live video will be more integral to Facebook than ever before.

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, 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.” highlighted Adam Mosseri.

Live video content driving organic reach is nothing new; nearly half of live video content is discovered via News Feed because of friend reactions, comments and shares. With these changes it will be even more important to drive organic distribution, so live video should be an essential part of any content producer’s strategy moving forward.

A few key things to keep in mind with the new changes of Facebook’s algorithm:

1. Go live

If live video isn’t currently part of your strategy for maximizing reach on Facebook, it needs to be.

2. Strategize for engagement

If you’re a publisher and you’re looking at Facebook as just another channel for canned content, and don’t strategically plan for engagement, you likely won’t maximize the organic reach of the video and could see a decrease in viewers compared to previously.

3. Be aware of and avoid click bait

Content producers want to avoid engagement bait. It’s likely to work against you and won’t deliver results long term. Removing this type of content from News Feed and highlighting more dynamic content is at the heart of Facebook’s new algorithm changes.

4. Strive to create organic conversations

Engagement and interactivity will be critical to drive real conversations and therefore organic reach for publishers. How you adjust to these changes will define your success.

5. Consider boosting your posts

Focus on boosting your content organically first delivering better placement via the algorithm. Plus if you can spend on media, here are some tips:

– Boost the scheduled post.

– Try to make the scheduled post part of the engagement campaign, e.g. collect questions for Q&As – this will help the overall reach of the scheduled post.

– If boosting live, then be sure that the stream has sufficient time remaining, otherwise it’s pointless (or at the least you get a lot less return).

– If boosting after the event, consider using custom and lookalike audiences for better re-targeting/personalization of the outreach.

Telescope’s Live Studio platform has been built built specifically to help publishers and content producers create that two-way conversation with their audience and ultimately drive more viewers. If you want to see some examples of our work, click here.

Written by: Michael Porter, Senior Vice President, Business Development at Telescope.

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