Facebook Updates You Need to Know
July 11, 2018
Despite being around for years, Facebook is still a powerhouse social media network with over 2 billion monthly users.1 With this many users, Facebook has more responsibility than ever to both protect and engage those who consume media using their platform. To achieve this, some significant platform changes have taken shape in 2018. In this blog, we’ll break down the key fundamental changes that you should be aware of in order to make the most of your business being on Facebook.
1. Algorithm Changes and the News Feed
We think it’s best to start by tackling one of the most difficult topics surrounding Facebook right now: the recent changes to the algorithm and how they affect the newsfeed.
While it’s true that Facebook did recently make some changes to the algorithms they use to show users content, this change really isn’t as bad as you might think. Facebook actually frequently makes adjustments to the algorithms used to display content; they’re just often so subtle that we as users barely notice them.
That said, the most recent change to the newsfeed this year was indeed impactful: Facebook made it so users see less public content, such as posts from businesses and media, and in turn see more private content, such as friend and group posts.2 Facebook’s primary goal with this change is to encourage more meaningful interactions on social media, which definitely doesn’t sound good for business, right?
While this seems concerning, there are simple ways to fight back against this algorithm change and create an even stronger brand presence on Facebook. The key now is staying visible, which comes down to engagement. The more engaged your audience is with your content, the more valuable your brand will appear to Facebook’s algorithm, so your content will be shown in the news feed more. With engagement being more important than ever, you should keep in mind that your content should encourage interaction in the form of comments, reactions, replies and shares without actually baiting the user.3 Nowadays, just having your fans watch, view or click on your content will no longer be enough to reach their newsfeeds! Nevertheless, a true, engaged audience is essential and should always be a key performance indicator in your social media strategy, so don’t let these new algorithm changes scare you!
2. Privacy Policies
If your company is partaking in social media advertising or engaging in social media contests, the most recent changes to Facebook’s privacy policies/tools will definitely affect you. Many of these changes are in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.4 In order to protect itself, Facebook has made some fundamental changes for users to prevent data breaches like this from happening again in the future. Users can now easily update their privacy and security settings using options such as:
- Removing any content they have posted that they no longer wish to be on Facebook
- Controlling their ad preferences to choose the types of content they are or are not interested in being targeted for on Facebook
Users can also download Facebook’s entire record of their own personal data at any time. While these tools have always been available, they are now very simple to access and are explained in clear language to the user in a way that has never been accessible before.
In the long term, this doesn’t necessarily have any negative impacts for businesses on Facebook, but it’s important to know that users are more aware than ever of the type of personal content they post, how it might be shared, and what might be done with their information in regard to receiving targeted ads.
Moving on to some of the more fun features of Facebook, we have the Messenger feature. While you may think that this primarily benefits end-users only, many businesses are now taking advantage of Messenger to make the most out of every interaction with their potential customers. Some evolutions of Facebook Messenger include:
- Facebook posts and ads with the “Message” Call to Action
The benefit: Choosing “message” as your CTA helps you directly engage your potential customers and create a more personal relationship through the sales cycle journey.
- Bot Messaging using Artificial Intelligence (AI)5
The benefit: Setting up a third party chatbot can help your customers receive immediate answers to questions about your business including your available inventory, hours and location—some chatbots can even book an appointment if required!
Now you know that Messenger is continuously growing to meet both the needs of end-users as well as businesses. We recommend keeping an eye on Messenger’s updates to find new and unique ways to better assist your customers!
If you’re not sure if Stories are right for you, just take a moment to think about your target audience. Do they post to their Stories once a week, three times a week, or daily? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ then the odds are pretty high that you should be posting to your Story, too!
We are noticing more and more that social media users are missing a lot in their newsfeeds as those aforementioned algorithm changes tweak what is shown to them. The wonderful thing about Stories (both on Facebook and Instagram) is that they are not subjected to the same algorithms, so users get to enjoy Stories in a much more authentic way.
While Facebook Stories are only available for 24 hours, their impact on your customers could be much greater than you think. Stories are the perfect way to cut through some of the heaviness that is traditional social media marketing and really tell your brand story or give your customers a look at your business behind-the-scenes. Stories are also a fantastic way to provide limited-time offers, share user-generated content and just learn more about your audience by asking them questions!
While we know that 2018 has been a very busy year for Facebook changes, it’s important to remember that all of these changes are manageable and that businesses will always be a part of Facebook’s best interest. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the Facebook changes will stop here! In fact, we highly recommend regularly seeking out new information about social media trends as they change quickly and it’s easy to fall behind. By the time you’ve seen an article on Facebook about its most recent change, it’s already too late!
Marketing & Media Coordinator
1 Chaykowski, Kathleen. 2017. Mark Zuckerberg: 2 Billion Users Means Facebook’s ‘Responsibility Is Expanding’. June 27. Accessed June 25, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathleenchaykowski/2017/06/27/facebook-officially-hits-2-billion-users/#7edc601f3708.
2 Tien, Shannon. 2018. How the Facebook Algorithm Works and How to Make it Work for You. April 25. Accessed June 25, 2018. https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-algorithm/.
3 Peters, Brian. 2018. The New Facebook Algorithm: Secrets Behind How It Works and What You Can Do To Succeed. February 8. Accessed June 25, 2018. https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-algorithm.
4 Confessore, Nicholas. 2018. Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: The Scandal and the Fallout So Far. April 4. Accessed June 25, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/us/politics/cambridge-analytica-scandal-fallout.html.
5 Carter, Rebekah. 2018. The Future of Facebook Messenger for Business in 2018. January 17. Accessed June 25, 2018. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-messenger-for-business/.