The digital media phenomenon – the social network has changed the way businesses interact with their customers – granting them the power to deliver relevant content to targeted audiences thereby capturing the attention of those most important to them. Small businesses have seen a boom too, as social media provides a powerful, accessible, affordable and useful online tool for reaching customers easily and make sales.
Accordingly, over time certain social media sites such as Facebook shifted to prioritize content produced by businesses and media institutions over users. What at first seemed like a decision based solely on increasing revenue earned by the platform ended up creating certain unexpected negative effects. There have been several cases of bots used to promote false opinions and spread inaccurate news, Experts have begun to call this action “computational propaganda” – the use of bots and automated accounts to sway public opinion.
Many major Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and former members of Facebook have also criticized the platform. and out against the practices of the company raising concerns over the exploitation of human psychology and its negative effects on children and young-adults. In a statement communicated on his official Facebook page, CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself has acknowledged that fake news on Facebook may have had an impact on the U.S Presidential election.
Therefore, in light of criticisms faced by Facebook concerning potential ; Facebook ostensibly decided to prioritize users over businesses. In a test conducted by content was split between user created content and page created content onto two different feeds. However following the test, the feeds were merged once again, now with the content populating algorithms simply populating feeds with much more user generated content than page content.
In an interview on the matter, Facebook’s Vice-President of Newsfeed – Adam Mosseri made a statement saying; “what we’re going to try and do is better identify and value meaningful social interactions between people. We want newsfeed to be a place where people have conversations, where they connect with people. So, we’re going to focus more on that, and less on how much time people spend on Facebook and on newsfeed, and less on even how much they share directly.”
With the shift to serve more user generated content; the businesses that use Facebook to reach their customers will stand to significantly lose their reach.
So, how do businesses ensure that their content is being picked-up by the algorithm and served to their audience? Businesses will need to familiarize themselves and begin using Facebook’s targeting filters to ensure that their ads are being seen by the correct audience. Creating eye-catching, visual content that will stand-out from the personal posts that are on the feed will also be helpful. Once users click on the ad, ensure that your users are directed to a relevant landing page and if your brand is promoting an offer, you can use a form on the landing page to collect data from potential customers such as a name and an email address, and then build a relationship with them from that point.
Businesses should also aim to, by publishing quality content; create more engagement in the form of comments and reactions so that the content they publish will continue to appear on the newsfeed. This means content that will spark conversations between users, businesses could use tools such as polls, questions and riddles which would prompt opinion from users and thereafter prompt discussions and connections.
Businesses could also encourage followers to use the “See First” option on Facebook which means that they always see content from the business’s page first and the content would not be lost in the algorithm.