under constructionIn mid-January, Facebook announced a change to its Facebook News Feed algorithm that would “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people, and prioritize posts from friends and family over public content.” Understandably, this caused widespread panic amongst business users of the Facebook social media platform, and concern that their carefully cultivated communities would suffer damage or even disappear.

While this doomsday scenario isn’t the case, there are several things marketers, advertisers, social media managers, and small business owners can do differently to mitigate the impact of the algorithm changes on their communities.

  • If you were already building good, brand relevant content, you’re ahead of the game. If you were really taking the time to understand your community, create content that pushed them to engage with your brand and bring value to their conversations they were having online, then you’re working within Facebook’s “meaningful interactions” framework.
  • However, if you were just slapping information into a post and not taking time to understand what appealed to your audience and what didn’t, now is the time to start doing that, or risk getting relegated to the “non-prioritized” pile.
  • Understanding how your engagements are stacking up against the competition and tracking that information periodically is a good way to gauge how well your content is working. Engagement percentages in Facebook aren’t calculated for you as part of your Insights metrics. Here’s the formula you need to be using:

Facebook Post Engagement = (Number of reactions, comments, shares on a given day) ÷ (Total reach of the posts on the same day)

Then, take the resulting number times 100 to get your percentage. A good benchmark for most companies is 5%. If your results are more than that, congrats, and keep up the good work! That means you’re putting up content your audiences are interested in and care about, and you can be sure Facebook is taking notice.

  • Make sure you are benchmarking your competition. If your Facebook site has more than 100 followers, you have access to Facebook’s benchmarking Insight tool. This allows you to watch the engagements of pages that are similar to yours, or the pages of competitors. Every organization with a Facebook page should be using this tool! Nonprofits should be benchmarking against other volunteer or nonprofit orgs with their same mission or location. For-profit entities should be benchmarking against the pages of vendors, B2B partners, competitors, and anyone else in their industry or niche. If someone else’s numbers are beating yours on a week-over-week basis, make sure you’re checking out their site and watching what they’re doing to garner the response they are from the audience. Then do the same!
  • Give Facebook a bit to work out the kinks. In the two weeks since the announcement, the personal news feed has changed remarkably, and will continue to change. At first, almost NO business pages were being shown, but that led to stale feeds. Each day a little more business page content trickles on, and the news feed display carousels with “Pages You Like” are showing up more frequently. Tweaks will continue until Facebook feels like they’ve got it right.
  • And be ready to "pay-to-play." Organic growth and reach are going to be severely impacted by this change, so your business should be ready to answer that with a more robust and well-designed advertising strategy. Watch post performance carefully, and then strategically employ post boosts to reach beyond your immediate audience.

If you need help understanding your social media metrics, building your social media advertising strategy, reporting on social media performance, or managing your content, contact GYRE Marketing for assistance!