Facebook's Newsfeed Algorithm: What it Means for Your Page.
At the end of June, Facebook announced another change to its newsfeed algorithm. Score a win for cat videos, a blow to great rate posts.
The gist of the change will result in more newsfeed content coming from friends and family and less from pages and publishers.
Within a day of the announcement I had clients and credit union colleagues asking about the change and whether Facebook was relevant to their marketing program anymore.
I'm sharing with you, my CU Times readers and friends, my response.
What is Facebook, Really?
I have always believed that Facebook's value and overall objective isn't rooted in its website and pages per se. Its value is derived from the connectivity it creates, a social glue connecting the internet. If we look at major product enhancements and acquisitions, we'll see this theory supported.
For example, one day back in 2011 "Read" and other verb buttons started showing up on publisher sites. Suddenly everyone in my network could see what I was reading on the Washington Post or listening to on Spotify. Naturally, this serves their purpose of collecting vast, anonymous, insight data on users. But how relevant is all that data to my newsfeed and my friends?
User Experience Comes First
Recent years have seen Facebook succeed in data collection and increased relevance in advertising, but it's also slipped on its core function, connectivity. As a result the newsfeed has gotten messy and users have grown disloyal.
So while at first glance the move sucks for businesses, it doesn't entirely and here's why.
Your Credit Union Facebook Page Still Has a Place
The role of the business page won't go away. However, the focus on high quality content on that page just intensified. Your content will still break through assuming you're posting content that your audience wants to share, like and comment on. If the content is junk, the page won't break through. That's a great user experience. Planning and data driven content will go a long way in helping you achieve break through content.
Great Content Means Great Network
That great user experience lends to a livelier network, for all of us, which supports the primary objective of Facebook, to be a glue. If it's full of junk, no one wants to participate and Facebook can't be successful at its business objective, which is where your credit union should really have stakes.
The Growing Power Of Paid Social Advertising
The two predominant gobblers of online advertising dollars are Facebook and Google. While it might feel crummy that your credit union may have to pay to play, the treasure trove of data and tools that Facebook continues to roll out should make advertising and goal-oriented marketing your main objective via the platform.
For example, Facebook recently announced it will be rolling out its audience network (ads that show off Facebook.com to Facebook users) to non-Facebook users. Facebook is now going head-to-head with Google and other major display networks, but with even better ad units (opinion) that drive higher engagement and higher ROI.
The only reason they can do this and be successful is because they maintain a product that's useful to the consumer user and still has a relevance to a business user. So yes, the change is kind of a bummer because now we really have to be good at we do organically, but it will push overall marketing efforts and even better, results, into new territory.
Your Facebook page, audience and the content you share shouldn't be mutually exclusive from your paid tactics, your conversion metrics and overall objectives. They all work together to create success on the platform, now more than ever.
The Sum of the Change
So while some can grumble about the change to Facebook's algorithm and decide to boycott, it's their loss. The pages that will struggle will be ones that are inconsistent, post irrelevant content, don't leverage strategic paid tactics, and aren't engaging.
By engaging I mean doing more than just posting links. Ask questions, respond to comments, create a lively place for your members to talk with you and each other about the things that matter to them and their community.
Let your page be a gathering place with your brand at the center, and you'll reap the rewards.
Ryan Ruud is the CEO and founder of The Credit Union Consulting Group. He can be reached at 612-799-0803 or email@example.com.