Social Media: The Algorithms Are A Changin’…


By Sarah McDonough

Social media platforms are constantly evolving 1) to stay technologically current 2) to stay interesting and 3) to earn more revenue. OK, I can’t prove the second one. It’s just my hunch as a skeptical PR pro because, let’s face it, these changes get covered in the news A LOT – everything from the likes and the dislikes.

One of the most recent changes comes from Facebook which altered its algorithm (again) to prioritize friends and family feeds over news sources and pages. Click here to read the “Values” the company will use to prioritize news feeds.

Our team has researched this latest algorithmic change because, as marketers, this move has a significant impact for all of us. As Facebook points out in its above Values statement, “This update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages.” In fact, we’ve already heard from a couple of clients that there has been a noticeable drop in their Facebook metrics (reach and click backs) in the last week. For media companies that will be on top of a 42% drop in reach and click backs that SocialFlow measured through their platform in the first half of 2016.

Because Facebook remains a very important platform for most of our clients (more than 1 billion people use Facebook daily), we need to continually hone and adjust marketing strategies for the platform, while at the same time decrease brand reliance on a follower list that is merely “borrowed” and not owned.

Below are Double Forte and The Barn Group’s recommendations on how to proceed with marketing on Facebook:

  • You need to pay to play. In fact, you need to pay more than you were. Even before this change, Pages were only reaching a fraction of followers when organic content was posted. With this move, businesses don’t necessarily need to double down on spend per post, but should consider boosting all posts to ensure they’re seen.
  • Timing matters. We recommend delaying boosted posts for organic/earned campaigns and use frequency instead of boosting in the beginning of a social campaign. That defined time before throwing weight behind Facebook (or Instagram or Twitter) programs should be determined by the program design.
  • Instagram is not the answer. We’ve heard from many Page managers in the last week, that they have had enough of Facebook and its constant changes, so they are turning their attention to other social channels. Yes, diversifying content distribution channels is a smart move. But remember, social media platforms aren’t owned, rather they are more like rented space and the “lease” can be lost at any time.
  • It’s critical to own land on the Web. Because social media platforms are “leased,” the surest way to build, own, and reach a following on the Internet is to have an owned channel. If your company does not already have a company blog, or isn’t collecting emails and building a list of customers, partners, followers, it’s important to begin considering how to get that underway. Of course, to keep the cycle going, there are a number of ways to amplify all of that owned content via social sharing.

If you have any questions about how to implement these strategies on behalf of your company, feel free to reach out to Double Forte and The Barn Group via the contact page on our website.