How Brands and Publishers can Survive on Facebook in 2018
Facebook just announced that it will start aggressively throttling brands and publishers from feeds in favor of keeping users close to their friends and families. The company has been implementing this change into their roadmap for a while, first citing the shift as early as 2016.
In 2017, their algorithm rollout started to change the ‘face’ of Facebook, dropping engagement for publishers and brands by 20%. In response, brandsupped their social strategies by pouring millions of dollars into video to appeal to the algorithms that prioritize video content. Some publishers went as far as creating static videos to manipulate algorithms into promoting their fake video content.
But 2017’s changes were just a small taste of what Facebook had in store. The 2018 Facebook news feed algorithm was briefly tested in Guatemala, where publishers reported their traffic being cut by half overnight. Half the traffic means not only half the ad revenue but also half of the site conversions. That’s definitely not good for groups that rely heavily on Facebook traffic. They’ll be decimated within months unless they take a serious look at their content and distribution strategies.
Facebook is kind of like a party, and you know that guy at the party who manages to tell one long-winded story about himself after another for hours on end? Most brands on social play the role of that guy. They create media about themselves without considering their community’s interests or connection to the brand.
Their communities desperately want to participate in the creation process, but brands only make half-hearted attempts at giving their fans the opportunity to create alongside them. By including fans in the content creation process, fans feel a meaningful connection with brands and they share the hell out of the resulting content — distributing it directly into the pipeline that Facebook prioritizes.
Seattle’s Best Coffee used this exact strategy in August when they asked their community “Who is most deserving this time of year?”. Their community responded via Facebook with “Teachers!”, and Seattle’s Best created a fan-driven collaborative video of teachers across the US getting teachers’ lounge upgrades. When Seattle’s Best posted their final video, Facebook went insane. By including their community in the content creation process, the brand had their final video shared (re: distributed to Facebook’s priority channels) nearly 1,000 times, receiving 3 million total views.
Brands and publishers who create with fans are strengthened by the 2018 Facebook algorithm, and those who do not are significantly hurt by it. Since the brand’s fans are sharing with family and friends, their content is prioritized and thus seen far more than selfish brand content published to a single audience.
2018 is the year where we will see which brands and publishers innovate their social strategies and which ones die in a rigid social blaze.
To demo the software that Seattle’s Best used for their video click here.