Last week on January 11th, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to the Facebook algorithm. Facebook will now prioritize posts from friends over posts from brands in a user’s feed, and this news immediately got publishers and brands panicking and questioning their distribution strategy.

This signals a pivotal moment in the change of Facebook’s priorities from a place where you get your news and entertainment to a return to its roots – a way to connect with friends and family. Publishers and brands who have been reliant on Facebook as their main medium of content distribution suddenly find themselves facing a potentially drastic drop in organic reach.

All is not lost though. For brands that already have an active and engaged audience who write lengthy comment threads on their posts, this new change will be favoring them over publishers with little engagement on the post itself. An article or video may be amazing, but if users don’t actively engage with your actual post, you can expect your reach to decline.

Rather than view this update with doom and gloom, this is an opportunity to reinvent your content strategy. Remember: People follow people. When people follow a brand, they’re really following people behind the brand.

People want authenticity in marketing, and they want to share in the experiences that make your brand unique. They want to see the relatable behind the scenes and day-to-day of a brand that makes your brand more than a logo, but a community of special people that have built something special.

This is not the end for publishers, but rather an opportunity to showcase your team, and the various thought leaders within your company.

Here are some highlights you need to know about the announcement and some tips on how to execute your Facebook strategy:

Friends will be prioritized over brands

  • The new algorithm will favor friends, families, and groups
  • What this means to publishers: Leverage influencers in your network. If it makes sense, consider creating a Facebook group for your community.

Active Experiences = Good, Passive Experiences = Bad

  • If users are just consuming content then Facebook now believes this is a negative experience. However, content that encourages you to engage with a community is a positive experience.
  • What this means to publishers: Use formats that engage with your audience: Live videos, groups, stories.

Quality over Quantity

  • Zuckerberg expects users to spend less time on FB but that the times that they do will be quality time. This means less eyeballs = less ad revenue
  • What this means to publishers: Be ready to spend more and be more sophisticated on ads to keep cost in check.

People follow people

  • This means the rise of micro-influencers. As a company, create content about awesome stuff happening in your workplace that your employees will want to share to their network.
  • Tactical Execution: Document happenings in the office such as a birthday, a milestone achievement. Tag coworkers. Or simply ask your employees to share a content that they can be proud of i.e. a “Voted top workplace to work for” announcement.

Work with influencers that have an affinity with your brand.

  • For the influencers, it could be in return for monetary compensation but you’ll be surprised at how many people would do it because it adds legitimacy to their social media presence. One that is endorsed by a brand.
  • Tactical Execution: Influencer marketing. I.e. send samples of products or invite influencers to document an event that you are hosting.

Optimize for sharing vicarious experiences

  • A vicarious experience means that you’re experiencing something indirectly, like when your friend’s adventure feels like your own.
  • Why we watch reality tv or vlogs on youtube: we feel like we’re part of the show, living vicariously through the people on the program. After some time, you feel like you know them

Create content that allows your audience to have a backstage pass for your brand.

  • Stories: Stories allow you to document your brand’s story so that your audience and vicariously experience it.
  • Live Video: What better way to tell your story than to actually bring your audience into your brand – in real time.

Here at HeyOrca, we’re constantly staying on top of the latest developments in social media. What are your thoughts on the latest update? Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @JosephTeoLS or the team at @HeyOrca.