On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced that it would be updating its main news feed algorithm. The new algorithm cuts back on publisher and third-party content within a person’s news feed, because according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections.” This move is an effort to refocus the purpose of the platform on social interactions and engagement with friends and family and to pull-back on advertisement proliferation.

If you’re a business or brand that uses Facebook to promote your business, here is more information about what the algorithm change is, as well as how it will impact your social media strategy, budget, and deliverables.

What is an algorithm?

A social media algorithm is a formula that sorts posts in a users’ feed based on relevancy, instead of publishing posts in real time chronologically. As social media management software company Sprout Social explains, “social networks prioritize which content a user first sees in their feeds by the likelihood that they’ll want to see it, instead of just scroll past it.”

What is the algorithm change?

Facebook will populate posts in a person’s news feed from family and friends over those of businesses, meaning you will see more content from your mom and Uncle Joe over content from “pages” or companies you follow on Facebook.

How does this affect my business?

Brands already get little traffic to their business pages without putting spend behind their posts, so organic social traffic will be minimally affected. Facebook said that the new algorithm will not change paid posts that are promoted, but rather aims to filter out “click-bait” and tabloid-style content that is sensationalized. If you are putting paid spend behind your posts, they will still be seen. Ad rankings will also not change under the new algorithm.

How does this change the way we approach social media?

If you’re counting on organic social traffic, it’s time to start looking towards a paid strategy that puts spend on compelling posts that will generate traffic to your business page and ultimately, your business. The age-old adage that “you have to spend money to make money” has never rung truer than when it comes to social media.

Facebook’s new algorithm is making a huge shift towards distinguishing personalized content from marketing content for its users. Strategy will become crucial for your business and should involve content that is relevant for your fans while also being engaging enough to attract new followers. Knowing your audience and targeting the right users will be of paramount importance going forward.

How does this shift my social media budget and how it is used?

Businesses may want to start thinking about budget allocations and adjusting their cadence to reflect more dynamic content where money is better spent, rather than content that is profuse and less effective. As budgets are formed for 2018, and beyond, we would suggest preemptively increasing your social media budget to stay competitive as the real estate battles for public pages in news feeds increases.

How will this modify what WRAL Digital Solutions provides for my business?

WRAL Digital Solutions will do what it has always done — which is adjust to the ebb and flows of the ever-changing social media industry and provide you with strategy and solutions that take your business to the next level. We are confident that we will continue to be able to promote and publish social media content for your business in a cost-effective and impactful way that benefits your business and the communities you serve.

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