3 Ways Retailers Can Work Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Change

Late last month, Facebook announced via a blog post that the popular social media platform will prioritize posts shared by friends and family over brands, publishers and other pages. This is particularly important to independent retailers because this algorithm change means your customers will see fewer posts from retailers and brands.

“The growth and competition in the publisher ecosystem is really, really strong,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president of product management, told The New York Times. “We’re worried that a lot of people using Facebook are not able to connect to friends and family as well because of that.”

This change isn’t exactly unprecedented nor unexpected. Last year, Facebook experimented with several changes to its algorithm, again, favoring posts by friends and family over company or brand pages but that wasn’t really news either since this move really started in 2013 when Facebook announced how it would share content by pages/brands. When that happened, many business owners saw a huge dip in their reach. Some reporting that only 10% of their posts were being seen by fans, unless they paid to “boost” their posts.

So how do you get around this latest Facebook change? Here are three things to try:

  • Facebook says it will reward posts by friends and family. If that’s the case, ask friends and family to share your posts. Be strategic. Create a spreadsheet of content and list out your ambassadors – those who can help you get the word out. Having cheerleaders who are willing to share your content is going to be necessary going forward so get started now, before the crucial fourth quarter.
  • Post interesting content. This has been a given since day one but retailers could get away with posting anything in those early days because our News Feeds weren’t as much a crowded marketplace as it is now. Given our highly political landscape, too, more people than ever are looking for hopeful. Be that resource for your customers! Give them something to feel good about and share. It doesn’t always have to be product-focused. Post happy news that will be shared. Just remember to post it (rather than share it from another page) so people will see your company name rather than the original poster.
  • Facebook Live. I know not everyone loves these Live pieces in our feeds (these are the “live” videos you see when you’re scrolling through your feed). I’m usually in this camp. But right now, Facebook is rewarding companies that are using it because they’re driving traffic. I recently attended a workshop led by someone who is using Facebook Live successfully and she was astounded at how not only was this feature driving viewers to her clients’ businesses, but those viewers were translating into sales. Might as well use it while Facebook is rewarding you by giving you access to your fans because it’s only a matter of time that Facebook will begin to charge businesses more for their fans to see these Live posts, too.

Independent retailers aren’t the only ones who have to adjust their Facebook strategy. Major publishers like The New York Times know they’re going to have to open their wallets to get the same type of Facebook market share they used to get.

Another thought is to focus your energies on other social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. You don’t need to abandon Facebook because for many customers, it’s still an important communications vehicle. However, with Facebook, you’re only as strong as your last post. You need a concerted and strategic plan to make Facebook work for you. Simply posting your random thoughts won’t cut it. You can still use Facebook to engage and communicate with your customers and fans but to win this game, you need to play by Facebook rules. Currently, those Facebook rules are that you need shareable content or pay for it.

Megy Karydes is a Chicago-based freelance writer and marketing consultant. Learn more about her and her work at www.MegyKarydes.com.

One thought on “3 Ways Retailers Can Work Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Change

  • I just did a few Facebook Live posts from an event at our retail store and they seem to have more legs than other posts (and didn’t need to be boosted.) Amusingly, Facebook wouldn’t allow us to boost this post.

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