With Facebook announcing that it is pushing brand and publisher content out of news feeds, how can businesses, especially small and medium enterprises in South Africa, remain relevant?
It was deemed a ‘rude awakening’ early in January 2018 when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the social networking platform had changed its algorithm, basically meaning it had changed what users see on their news feeds, shutting out that which friends are not engaging with.
This follows a harsh year for Facebook, where it was criticised for not having the right countermeasure to stop the spread of fake news and propaganda. So now its set of rules has changed; bumping up users’ friends and family members’ status updates and photos and underplaying public news articles and content published by brands.
But where does that leave the small or medium businesses largely and sometimes even solely reliant on communicating their brand messages through Facebook? How do they now reach Facebook users (estimated to be approximately two billion)?
There is still a way.
“Meaningful interaction is not something new to Zuckerberg’s focus on how brands engage with their Facebook audience,” said Jodene Shaer, International Business Owner and Head Strategist of Social Media Engagement Specialist at Chat Factory.
“In essence, there is a place for paid media, but if a brand is trying to be seen organically, then it must feel like it is part of the flowing content people want to see from friends and family. It is pushing for the reason that Facebook was created in the first place – to be social. “Having the algorithm at 0% now creates the demand for everyone with a page to ensure their focus shifts to creating engagement and interaction.
“Community management and authentic content is the only way a page will see any organic reach going forward.
“This will change the dynamic of how influencers are used, because once working alongside a brand, they are also responsible for ensuring that they respond to comments and engage with the online community. Facebook is watching very carefully how people manage the authenticity of their pages.”
She explains that ‘engagement bait’ is a call to action requesting your audience to Like or Share your content as a tactic to gain more followers.
“This has been long frowned upon by Facebook, but the organisation is now monitoring this more closely and pages who do so will have less visibility on their posts. The negativity stems from the unethical tactic of ‘trolling’ for new followers by putting the onus on your existing fans.”
Truly embracing the power of live videos and video content on Facebook – and then creating reasons for the public to engage with those posts – is an excellent move for any business that is budget conscious.