How to Adjust to Facebook’s Changes in the EdgeRank Algorithm

During the past month, there has been a lot of discussions regarding the change in Facebook  EdgeRank algorithm related to brand pages. Since September 20th, numerous of page owners have written blog posts, articles and comments to express their concern regarding a quite serious decrease in their posts’ reach by up to 50%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In response to an e-mail from EdgeRank Cracker, a Facebook Ad Rep wrote: “We’re continually optimizing News Feed to ensure the most relevant experience for our users. While overall engagement should remain relatively consistent as a result of our most recent optimization, your organic reach may be impacted.”

Have you already observed a decrease in your Facebook page’s reach? You probably have. And you are not the only one. But instead of spending time joining the “complain about Facebook” discussions, why not focus on how to make sure that your posts actually appear in the optimal amount of your fans’ News Feeds? Of course, there isn’t a “simply mix these ingredients” recipe that would guarantee instant success. But there are some general rules of thumb and practices that you can use as guidelines to move in the right direction.

 

Content, content, content

You know the greatest law of managing social media perfectly well: “Content is king”. You also know that if you want to build and sustain lasting and valuable relationships with your fans, you should always make sure that your posts are engaging.

According to the Facebook Ad Rep: “Posts that are more likely to be engaging tend to appear higher in feed. Some of the strongest factors that influence this are how engaging an individual post has been for other users who have seen it, and how engaged a user has historically been with other posts they’ve seen from that page. Feed also takes negative feedback into account, which is the number of people who have hidden a post or reported it as spam.”

 

Time and frequency of posts

Although a lot of research has been conducted regarding time and frequency of posting, truth is that there are too many factors that make inventing a universal “success formula” impossible. These factors being e.g. industry specifics, geographies, culture etc. Keep in mind the general rules but also try out different times and days, constantly monitor engagement rates and adjust and adapt accordingly. Incorporate the practice of weekly reporting of your page’s activity as that may help you easily identify which posts performed best at which times and days. You can find some useful guidelines about how to use ‘Facebook Insights’ here.

 

Monitor your industry’s influencers/leaders

Get to know your competitors. How are they managing their Facebook pages? Is their content gaining a lot of engagement? If yes, what exactly is it that makes people like or comment?

 

Use the new ‘Promoted Posts’ feature

Recently launched, the Promote feature gives brands the chance to promote their posts for a min. price of $7. Basically, by paying the fee, Facebook guarantees much higher engagement, explained as following: “If you don’t promote your post, many of the people connected to your Page will still see it. However, by promoting a post, you’re increasing its potential reach so an even larger percentage of your Page audience and the friends of those interacting with your post will see it.”

However, last Thursday, Matt Owen from Econsultancy shared an article expressing some concerns about the actual impact that ‘Promoted Posts’ have. Doing some experiments and promoting his posts, he witnessed a significant increase in reach, but stated that the higher engagement came from users geographically irrelevant to his page. Discussions on the subject thereby seem to remain open and page managers will have to continue adjusting and optimizing their strategies according to the dynamics of social media.

 

To summarize, Facebook has once again demonstrated that changes happen in the speed of light and only those who stay up-to-date and are willing to adapt will have the chance to win in the battle of being present in fans’ News Feeds.

Matt Wurst (@mwurst), from 360i, hits the nail on the head: “The bar has been raised. Create better content, supplement it with paid media. This is separating the proverbial “men from the boys” and that’s a good thing.”

 

 

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.