The other week, Facebook came out and stated their plans to shake things up on the News Feed. The new initiative, which is set to change the way content is displayed to users in 2018, has sparked a great deal of discussion in the real estate industry as to how it’ll impact the network’s usefulness as a marketing tool.
In the statement, Founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that the 2018 focus for Facebook is “on making time spent on Facebook time well spent.”
What he meant by this is that Facebook is going to give priority to posts from friends and family – the content type their research showed to have the most importance to its users.
In turn, fewer organic posts from businesses and brands will be shown in the News Feed. However, Facebook knows where their money comes from, and as such has made no claim that there will be a reduction in the number of ads displayed to its users.
Who Will be Affected by This Change?
The effects will be pretty widespread – in fact, any business that relies on organic posts as part of their marketing strategy is going to feel the squeeze. This includes everyone from news organisations, fake news pages and spammy entertainment pages.
Facebook’s primary goal is to facilitate meaningful interactions for its users, as opposed to the passive, one-way interactions that often occur with business posts. As a result, Facebook users can expect to see more posts from friends, and fewer tacky articles about how the first-born child is the smartest.
What can Businesses do?
Facebook are doing this. It’s going to happen. And whilst there’s not much we can do to change this, there are a couple of steps we can take to ensure we’re as prepared as we can be:
1) Don’t 100% depend on organic reach
On average, Australian real estate business pages on Facebook have received a 3-5% organic reach. So, if you’ve got 1,000 followers, only 30-50 of them are seeing each post you make.
If you’ve managed to incorporate organic reach into your marketing strategy, you need to set your sights on the enviable ROI boosted posts and paid ads can produce. Why? Because in 2018, your organic reach is going to plummet to zero.
2) Use Facebook the way it’s meant to be used
Facebook for Business is intended for professional use, but not in the same way traditional advertising is. After all, it’s meant to be social. So, don’t make your content overly promotional – try and make it entertaining for your audience instead.
Additionally, if you’re thinking of switching your business to a personal profile, remember – you’re going to be missing out on a number of targeting and boosting opportunities.
3) Ensure your content is high value
Sure, you can throw $50 at a post to get it in front of a few thousand people. However, if your content isn’t high-value, you’re not going to generate the results you should.
If your content is low-value, it’s simply not going to reach the number of people you’d like, and this is true for both organic and paid posts. Both are subject to Facebook’s algorithmic focus on user experience, so invest in the quality of your content and create something you’d want to read.
4) Brace yourself for an increase in Facebook advertising costs
With these algorithm changes taking effect, businesses that previously relied on organic reach for marketing their properties and general news will now have to put budget behind them to help them gain traction. And with increased demand comes increased prices.
The raised number of businesses seeking that coveted ad space on their audience’s News Feeds means more of us will be fighting for the same space, turning it into a real commodity. Ads are charged on an auction-like system – the highest bidder gets the ad space. So, it’s only natural to assume your ad space is going to get a whole lot more expensive. You can prepare for this by carving out an extra allotted budget to be spent on your Facebook advertising.
5) Seek professional advice
As always, if you’re unsure of what steps to take, it’s smart to get advice from an expert. Social media marketers will be well versed on these changes, as a large portion of their clients will already be questioning how they’re set to impact their businesses.
They’ll be able to give you the information you need and set you up on a new marketing plan that factors in additional expenditure and helps to maintain your ROI.