On January 11, Facebook made an announcement about some pretty radical changes being made to the algorithms that build their users’ newsfeeds. The company plans to roll out changes over the next few months designed to make it easier for users to build and maintain personal connections. The overall goal is to make Facebook more personal and, believe it or not, less of an advertising machine.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said in his announcement, “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” This is a fairly good summary of what the company’s intentions seem to be. The plan is to get back to the roots of what Facebook was originally intended to be — a way to connect with friends and family.
The bottom line is that the new algorithm will prioritize posts and content coming from friends that spark discussion and interaction above everything else. The display of content generated by public business pages and news outlets will be sacrificed in order to meet this goal. At the most basic level, the company wants the average user’s Facebook experience to involve more interactivity with friends and less passive time reading articles or watching videos.
An alarming excerpt for businesses from Zuckerberg’s announcement might just be this quote, “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.” It leaves little room for free interpretation. Facebook’s intentions are pretty clear.
What These Changes Mean For Your Law Firm
While these changes to the Facebook newsfeed will have some drastic effects, all is not lost. Some adjustments will need to be made, of course, but the platform will undoubtedly remain one of the most important channels for digital and social media marketing.
Paid Advertisements Will Always Be Available
The most important thing to remember is that Facebook runs on paid advertisements. Campaigns might take a bit longer to complete and traffic might not come in such a rush, but the company is still going to need to do right by advertisers if they want to survive. The way you create and manage campaigns shouldn’t change at all.
Shareability Becomes More Important
Even those who like and follow your law firm’s Facebook page will be much less likely to actually see any content you post in their own newsfeed. The key to getting your Facebook posts in front of other people is going to be interactivity and shareability. You’ll need to create strong content that gives people a reason to talk about it. It’s also been made fairly clear that posts which generate long and thoughtful comments will see a significant boost.
Groups Will Make Things Easier
Taking advantage of the way groups work, either as an administrator or a member, will help you to get your content in front of more eyes. Groups naturally inspire discussions and interaction which should actually give their content a boost under these new algorithms. In addition, people are more likely to check in on a group to see what’s been going on, even if they don’t see an update in their personal newsfeed. If you already have a Facebook Page, you can set up a Facebook Group for that Page.
One Thing Hasn’t Changed
Regardless of any upcoming changes, one thing remains the same. If you simply create higher quality, valuable content for your audience, you’ll always do better than your competition and shouldn’t have any problem staying on top of any of the social media platforms.
If you’re creating good content that resonates with your audience and provides them with real value, it should hit every one of the importance markers that Mr. Zuckerberg has laid out so far. Quality content is naturally going to spark some discussion. It should entice people to share with their friends. And, great content can most certainly become the foundation for a group of like-minded people who will continue to consume, create and share each other’s ideas.