Is Facebook Still Relevant for Brands?

For years, Facebook has been the go-to social media platform for companies that want to build brand awareness. Then, recently, Facebook adjusted its algorithm to show brand content to a smaller number of people. The reason for this change? According to Facebook, the decision to adjust its brand algorithm was made to encourage brands to focus on building smaller audiences that are more highly engaged with the brand, rather than a broad group with minimal to no brand engagement.

Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm has long been a source of frustration for business owners, and many brands have not responded positively to the new changes. In particular, brands have expressed frustration that their overall reach is significantly down. A recent study published by the Copenhagen-based company Komfo confirmed this decrease in reach with the following statistics:

  • Fan penetration decreased from 25.2 percent in August to 11.3 percent in March 2014.
  • Viral amplification decreased from 0.42 percent in August to 0.39 percent in March 2014.

However, the same study showed that brand’s click-thru-rates actually increased over this same period, rising from 5.62 percent in August to 8.33 percent in March 2014. While organic reach has declined, it seems that Facebook’s adjusted algorithm is doing a better job of showing content to a higher percentage of people who are interested in this content. In short, Facebook and brand building still go hand-in-hand.

So, how can your brand make Facebook’s new algorithm work in its favor? Here’s what your business needs to know about the Facebook algorithm and brands:

1. Quality content drives engagement. Brands benefit from having smaller fan bases that are more highly engaged with their content. Interactivity is important for increased engagement. Rather than pumping out a steady stream of call-to-action posts, instead focus on creating content that drives fan interaction and comments. Facebook’s algorithm now aims to reward businesses when their fans are willing to engage with their brand, regardless of fan base size.

2. Local pages matter. Even for brands with national or global reach, these companies will still benefit from having local pages that speak specifically to one community. The same goes for brands that offer a range of different products or services. Consider creating multiple pages targeted at your different fan bases in order to tap into local search results (e.g., a page focusing on lifestyle content versus a page dedicated to your technical service offerings).

3. Buy ads, not fans. When it comes to metrics, you may be focused on the number of “likes” your fan page has over all else. It’s understandable: The more popular you appear, the more others may be persuaded to check out your brand. However, did some investigating, and discovered that the value of a fan that you’ve purchased does not equal that of one that you’ve earned.

Instead, focus on your content. Create sharable content with sticky headlines that grab the attention of the followers you do have. And when you write something exceptionally good, use paid ads to amplify its reach, having faith that Facebook’s algorithm will do its job.

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