What Facebook’s New Algorithm means for Authentic Consumer Influencer Campaigns
Marketing professionals just let out a collective sigh. Again. Facebook recently announced another new change to its ranking algorithm for posts, videos and photos that appear in its users’ News Feeds. With the new overhaul, News Feeds will now rank posts from friends and family first. As Facebook users, this is likely a welcomed change. As marketers, it’s…complicated. What does the change mean and how does it affect your strategy going forward?
In short, the NY Times says users will see more posts from friends that have spurred lively debates in the comments and fewer cooking videos from brands and publications. In doing so, Facebook is pushing for people to spend time on the site in what their employees believe to be a more meaningful way.
If you’re one of the 50 million and counting brand pages, this change is probably hitting you hard. We’ve seen a continuous decline in organic Facebook reach for brands since 2012: In 2016, organic reach for Business Pages declined by 52 percent, and before this algorithm change, businesses already saw an average of only two percent organic reach. So what does this mean now? Reach is going to keep declining.
But don’t worry – as we’ve seen before, Facebook has offered an easy solution to solve declining page traffic, right? Wrong. To combat this issue, Facebook encourages marketers to start sharing posts that generate conversation between people. Simply put – share content that generates meaningful engagement.
Again, as marketers, we know this is easier said than done. In fact, 65 percent of marketers struggle to determine which content is effective. And since 72 percent of marketers today have a content strategy in place, marketers not only struggle to determine which content is effective, but they’re also tasked with competing for readers. Competing hard.
So what can marketers actually do to make up for the decline in traffic this algorithm will likely cause?
With organic reach declining, marketers need to a way to generate direct engagement with consumers. While Facebook will now favor content that promotes conversation, the most obvious solutions for marketers is to define and grow their influencer marketing and grassroots word-of-mouth strategies: “I expect more paid ads, less organic posts from brands and more Influencer Marketing partnerships with Influencers,” says Thomas Drew, Social Media Strategist at BLKBOX.
Read on to learn why consumer influencers are your answer.
Consumers Trust User-Generated Content More than Brand Content
With an abundance of products at the fingertips of consumers, today’s shoppers are looking for more authentic and relatable content to help influence purchase decisions. This means many consumers are turning away from typical advertising and messaging and tuning into content they hear from their friends and family. In fact, Seventy percent of consumers trust user-generated reviews and recommendations more than professional content and copy and 76 percent of consumers believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands.
Consumers’ brand skepticism is proven even further, as “90 percent of respondents said UGC had at least some influence over their online purchases. Roughly 53 percent rated it “extremely influential” or “very influential,” a higher percentage than for any other category.”
Consumers are More Likely to Engage with User-Generated Content
When comparing engagements rates between UGC and branded content, it’s no surprise UGC is the clear winner. A consumer is more likely to engage with a piece of content they believe is authentic – but that’s not all. When partnering with consumer influencers, brands are partnering with content creators who know their friends and followers the most – they understand what will motivate, influence and engage their friends and followers.
Consumer influencers want their friends to see their content, which is why they are twice as likely to share it. Since the content they create is highly relevant to their followers, this increases the chances a friend or family member will comment on, like or share the content: UGC gets 10 times more views than content uploaded by brands and generated 28 percent more engagement.
User-Generated Content Starts with a Community of Brand Advocates
While it’s clear that consumer influencers will help marketers battle the new Facebook algorithm change, finding the right consumer and prompting them to share can sometimes be a challenge. This is where a brand community comes into play.
With a brand community, marketers have direct access to everyday people who have a large influence on friends and followers. Unlike Facebook Pages, cultivating a brand community allows for marketers to highly segment and target these everyday people and turn them into consumer influencers for word-of-mouth campaigns. Marketers can find a consumer influencer representing their exact target audience and prompt them with personalized messaging and offers to share genuine brand experiences. Through these types of word-of-mouth campaigns, marketers should encourage consumer influencers to pose questions to friends to generate higher engagement and conversation – these posts will then rank higher on the new Facebook algorithm.
With a brand community, marketers can also ensure there is a home-base for their consumers that will always allow direct communication and engagement. Instead of a one-way conversation similar to those on Facebook Pages, marketers can have a multi-way dialogue with consumers. This enhanced relationship encourages authentic sharing on social networks.
While we understand marketers’ frustration with the new Facebook algorithm, it will ultimately help overall marketing initiatives, as consumer influencer strategies become more ingrained in marketing strategies. If you’re interested in learning more about how building a community through Social Media Link can help prompt word-of-mouth discussions on social media, drop us an email at email@example.com.