Last month Facebook announced something that sent many into panic mode. The all important Facebook algorithm, used to decide what shows in a user’s News Feed, is changing.
The changes being implemented will shift the focus of the News Feed to feature more personal interactions. This realignment will result in fewer posts from businesses in the News Feed.
Facebook is going to restrict your ability to reach your target audience, in this particular case truck fleets or owner-operators, through the News Feed.
In a Facebook post (shocking), co-founder and current chairman and ceo, Mark Zuckerberg (or as he’s known to geeks the world over, the Zuck) announced the platform’s change in approach and new algorithm update.
Considering the popularity of Facebook among fleet executives and owner-operators, these changes should be something you are aware of at the very least. The following are self-reported numbers taken from the Overdrive 2017 Connectivity Study and the CCJ 2016 Connectivity Study.
Source: CCJ 2016 Connectivity Study
What’s changing with the Facebook algorithm?
The following excerpt is from his original post, and I believe it sums it up pretty nicely, however, if you’d like to read the whole statement you can check out Mark Zuckerberg’s News Feed algorithm announcement.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”
So, what does the News Feed algorithm change mean for truck dealerships?
It is still relatively early, and Facebook has been vague on the ramifications .Here’s what we know so far. Facebook is trying to shift its focus back to its original purpose – meaningful interactions between people.
It’s safe to say we can count on Facebook holding true to its word and actively limiting the exposure of businesses featured in the News Feed as we move forward. This, however, does not mean you should abandon the social media platform.
Yes, the News Feed has been a great way to reach people, truck fleets and owner-ops included, but the organic reach of Facebook has been on the decline for quite sometime now.
Facebook has been tweaking operating algorithms and changing how the News Feed identifies and prioritizes posts ever since it introduced the feature.
What does this mean moving forward and how should your strategy change in light of this new announcement?
Are the changes to the News Feed the end of social media marketing?
Does this change take away your ability to reach the fleets you’re after on the platform? Well the short answer, is no.
If anything, it just means you may have to reevaluate how you approach your messaging on Facebook. In a recent interview, the vice president in charge of Facebook’s News Feed stated:
This once again goes back to Facebook trying to realigning with their initial goal of helping people connect. He goes on to say –
So? Essentially this means is the News Feed is going to be more discerning and rank content based interactions and what gets people talking. If people share and comment on content, it creates a conversation and helps stimulate meaningful interactions, which is exactly the aim of this change.
In the end, your reach with the News Feed is going to be limited, but you can give yourself the best chance if you make sure your content is valuable to begin with.
Facebook already ratcheted down on clickbait, and advertising didn’t come to a screeching halt.
We’ve seen other platforms, such as Google, release updates and change formulas over the years with the goal of weeding out spam. This is just another Facebook attempt to do the same.
Starting with quality content is the best approach if you want to continue moving forward with the News Feed. Postings that encourage comments or remind people to follow their page certainly won’t hurt. But, there are plenty of other options available to you in the way of Facebook paid advertising as well.
Using paid advertising to target fleets on Facebook.
While Facebook does want to nurture personal interaction and help people have positive experiences, considering that nearly 98% of Facebook’s total revenue in 2017 came from advertising, I’d say it’s safe to say that advertising as a whole on Facebook will be safe for the foreseeable future.
In his statement, Zuckerberg acknowledged that time spent on the platform and engagement could actually decline. However, as I mentioned previously the organic reach has been declining, so in all actuality most have already stopped relying on their organic reach on the platform. That’s where the paid advertising options come into play.
Facebook custom audiences, which we recently discussed here, Are You Making the Most Out of Facebook Custom Audiences?, are a great way for you to target the fleets or owner-operators you’ve worked with in the past. In addition, building your ads around lookalike audiences will allow you to target others that are similar to your existing customers.
Once you’ve identified who you want to target, there are a variety of options to move forward with in terms of ad types Facebook offers. These ads can be anything from single images, to slideshows, mobile exclusive targeting, and more. It really all comes down to you. Who is your audience? What type of ad would speak to them most? Canvas ads designed for mobile phones? Mid-roll video ads? The options are all there and allow you to craft the best ad possible for your particular target audience.
Moving forward with advertising on Facebook.
The key takeaway is that while, yes, the changes to the News Feed will affect your visibility and organic reach, there are other options available to you on the platform. Do what you can to make your posts engaging and valuable to get the most out of them. Remember that engaging content that promotes conversations and comments are weighted more heavily.
If you haven’t already, explore your options for paid advertising on Facebook.
If you’re unsure of where to start or what to do next take a moment to clearly define your goals and audience.
You have something that fleets need or will need in the coming future.
Beyond that, if you’d like some professional input, the experts at Randall-Reilly have amassed years of experience across all sorts of platforms, Facebook included, and they can get you headed in the right direction.
This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last change or update to Facebook that will shake things up in terms of how you approach marketing on the platform. Stay calm, move forward with quality content, explore the paid advertising options, and you’ll be just fine.