Social media marketers have been given another kick in the Facebook.
The content sharing giant has announced a change to its News Feed algorithm that practically wipes out the scant organic reach small businesses did have.
As a result marketers are challenged to change their Facebook marketing strategy again. According to Vice President, Adam Mosseri, Facebook want to return to their core roots and promote stories from family and friends.
This was the result of an alleged referendum taking the results of Facebook user preferences.
A statement released by the company confirmed users are likely to spend more time in their News Feed when they “see content they are interested in.”
Is this an admission that Facebook are concerned about the growing influence of social rivals such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest?
Mosseri noted that Facebook users are more interested in stories from family and friends, but also added that the social network intend to promote “All Ideas.”
The social network claims publishers still have a way in by using their Pages initiative.
Encouraging publishers to use Pages to post content their audience are likely to share means Facebook still intend to maintain some organic reach even if the network is forcing you through channels they want you to use so that users stay rooted in the network.
How Facebook intend to manage this contradiction in terms remains to be seen, but given the company acknowledged content that is shared from source sites rather than posted to News Feeds will favour established brands with bigger marketing budgets.
In other words, Facebook are favouring recognised brands people are familiar with and severing a marketing channel small businesses have spent years building up and boosting profits.
The decline of organic reach has hit rock bottom.
Is this the end of social media marketing?
Despite the curtailing of organic reach, small businesses may not want to abandon Facebook just yet. The rules of engagement have not changed even if the algorithm does.
Creative, relevant content your audience want to read is still the order of the day. Facebook’s intention is to provide users with a platform whereby they can enjoy a “personal” experience. And social media networks are the best roads for online businesses to provide customers with a personal brand experience.
Rather than investing time in Facebook as part of your marketing drive, use it as a tool to provide aftercare to customers.
The value proposition of retaining loyal customers pays far greater dividends than attempting to recruit new customers through marketing. If Facebook users want to receive stories from the people they care about, businesses have to show that they care about their customers.
If you perform gestures that evoke emotion, end-users will share their stories and promote your brand to a wider audience.
Algorithm updates don’t always mean you have to change platform, you just have to find develop new strategies of getting the most from the platform. Relevant content will always be the main driver, only now, the vehicles move traffic slowly.