Last night, Facebook announced a big change in how its News Feed algorithm will operate. “Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships,” the January 11th news release introduced. As another step in tweaking the news Feed, the company announced it will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
This update isn’t surprising for many of us marketers—Facebook, among other social channels, have been on the road of authenticity for some years. In the aftermath of the 2016 election year, information giants such as Facebook also have come under intense scrutiny for how they limit, or even diminish, valuable culturally impactful conversation.
However, with this update, businesses and publishers will be largely impacted, with less public content, including videos and posts, displayed in news feeds. Pages will likely see a decrease in reach, video view times and referral traffic.
So what can businesses do to ensure they continue to engage their audiences, distribute valuable content and participate in necessary conversation?
6 Tips for Publishing Authentic Content in 2018
- Think quality and authenticity over quantity. In an increasingly competitive content world, it’s not how much you distribute but what you distribute. Investing in well-developed, thoughtful content has a bigger bang for your buck than inundating your channels. In fact, overly distributing your content not only makes your channels noisy but causes information overload within your hard-built audiences. Instead, think about creating high-quality content that can be leveraged over time and that has staying power.
- Leverage your influencers. Every company has incredible access to a wealth of information that can impress even the most hardened critic. Where do you find it? Simply by turning to your own thought leaders. Internal influencers are a company’s hidden gem and often overlooked as valuable elements to an overall strategy.
- Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Once you’ve developed quality content, make sure the majority, versus the minority, see it. That means promoting that content over and over again on every channel, over a period of days, weeks or even months. With finesse, the same message can be framed in a multitude of ways without sounding redundant or boring. And if you created an incredibly quality piece of content, the variety of messages that can be shared to promote it are endless. If content publishing giants like the New York Times, Mashable and Buzzfeed follow this tactic all the time, they must be doing something right!
- Prepare to pay. Investing in your social audience and pay to play isn’t new, but given this announcement, it’s even more pertinent. Regardless of the size of your audience, your goals and how large a presence you have, it’s time to pay the piper to ensure your content reaches your target audience. The good thing with carving out a paid budget within your overall strategy is becoming hyper-focused in crafting messages that resonate with your desired audience, and reaping the results.
- Engage your audiences natively. Each social channel has unique engagement functionality that allow you to interact with your target audience in special ways. Facebook is no different. Use these opportunities to create hyper moments that only your brand can provide your audience. Find ways to leverage native video, Facebook Live, and Facebook Canvas to interact and create the authentic content that sparks conversation.
- Start with a strategy. None of the above works without a well-oiled content strategy that identifies your key message themes, your audience segments, and the most effective tactics to achieve your goals. With that foundation laid, even significant Facebook algorithm changes are surmountable because you have a solid strategy driving your efforts.
In the end, while this change will impact overall performance, it will push all of us to create more authentic content that resonates with our audiences. The audiences who engage with our content will be more valuable and the individuals we should spend more time talking to. Instead of flooding our channels 24/7 with content, the resources we put behind our content development will become more focused on long-term, quality content.