In 2018, after copping much flack for being increasingly flooded with ads, Mark Zuckerberg announced a landmark change to the Facebook algorithm in support of “meaningful connections”.

Now as a Facebook user this is probably a relief. It means you’ll be exposed to more content that matters to you from your friends and family, and less spam. But it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to suffer as a business either. In fact, if you understand the type of content and engagement Facebook encourages, and tailor your social media strategy in suit, you could see much better outcomes in the new year.

So, what does Facebook mean by ‘meaningful’?

In the past social media was a pure numbers game. You were winning if you had the most likes, most views, most time spent on your site. In 2018, Facebook changed the paradigm, now preferring quality over quantity.

One way they do this is by prioritising “active interactions”.  Rather than users mindlessly scrolling through their feed for hours on end occasionally pausing to ‘like’ something, they’d prefer they got online quickly, saw content that inspired them, and started a conversation from it. Therefore, if you want your posts to be prioritised in people’s news feeds you need them to start a conversation. You don’t just want to get a bunch of likes. Rather you want people commenting, replying, sharing the post directly through their friends or publicly with their followers. In other words, engaging with your brand and content like they would people.

How should this shape your Facebook strategy in 2019?

Firstly, it should be clear by now that Facebook is no longer the place for hard sales. Rather it’s where you build the personality of your brand and stay top of mind for your clients. The best way to do this is to continue posting quality content (content is always king) and to know what the newsfeed likes. Facebook is pushing video content hard. So that might be worth exploring. They also want to see engaged users. So, try making interrogative posts, conversation starters and emotion stirrers. Facebook emotion reacts such as the heart or haha symbol yield better results than a regular like.

What the algorithm LOVES:

  • Video (especially live video)
  • Local and community-minded posts
  • Complete Facebook business pages (don’t leave gaps in your profile)

Facebook is also really excited to return to its roots of being a space for online community building. This is where their groups functionality comes into play. Groups are great for a few reasons: the option to make them private means that they can be safer spaces than your public page, which in turn fosters brand engagement; they allow you to foster more genuine connections with your clients; and your clients can use them to meet and exchange ideas with like-minded people.

What about Facebook Ads?

As a business you should still consider investing in some Facebook ads or boosted posts if you really want to get enduring exposure in newsfeeds. But it’s not enough to simply boost a post, you also need to keep in mind the algorithm changes outlined above. Aim for great content and avoid hard sales – informational posts which start conversations will be the big winner.

In a nutshell, you should prioritise:

  • Quality over quantity
  • Active interactions over passive interactions
  • Informational/personal content over promotional content
  • Meaningful engagement over engagement bait

Final words

As an adviser, Facebook can often get overlooked, or simply used as a landing page. And for many of you this will be more than appropriate depending on the demographic of your clientele. But if you want to up your game in the new year and gain the competitive edge, make sure you factor in the changing nature of the algorithm.

The take home point is this: Facebook is a place for users to interact with your brand in a meaningful way. Keep this in mind, and your social media presence will soar.