Facebook and Franchise: How is the New Update Affecting the Industry?
Just when you thought you had this Facebook situation figured out, everything changes… Again.
On January 11th, Facebook made a major change to its News Feed algorithm that is perhaps the biggest update to the site in recent years.
Several sources seem to think this is the nail in the coffin for organic posts, or the newsfeed armageddon, the death of organic reach, and some even going so far as to posting survival tips for what’s next. Even stock in the social media giant saw a significant drop after Zuckerberg’s January announcement, prompting many content publishers to wonder, could this really be the death of organic reach on Facebook for business?
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Now that the shock-and-awe reactions have subsided, we’re ready to share our own findings of this update and what it means for franchises on Facebook. (We’re not ready to throw in the towel just yet.)
What is the Facebook update?
Generally speaking, Facebook is taking us back to its roots as a social-networking site. This means newsfeeds will now prioritize content from friends and family over brands, as well as posts “that spark conversations and inspire meaningful interactions between people.” Comments will now be the top ranking factor on Facebook with shares and messages taking a close second and likes and reactions taking a backseat to everything. Franchisees will need to work harder to create content that speaks to their audiences and generate these kinds of conversations as the “Heart for Yes Angry Face for No” type posts are now functionally useless in terms of organic reach.
Conversations as the New Content
So, what does a “meaningful interaction” even look like for a business? Thanks for paying attention, we’re glad you asked! Let’s find a few examples of prioritized interactions that you’re likely to see on your business page:
- Multiple people replying to each other’s comments on an article about your brand
- Your own page’s response to a consumer review or comment
- People commenting on or interacting with a live video you post of an event
- A comment by a friend of a customer who shared your post
Essentially, engagement has a new set of rules. 1,000 likes no longer define social media success for businesses and content publishers. Be prepared to revisit your strategy here, whether you’re a franchisor or franchisee. The goal is to establish active communication with your audience whether it’s with neighborhood events, interesting news from your corporate office, or fun content related to your business. As always, there are no hard-and-fast rules to Facebook, only opportunities.
We’re sure you have a ton of questions, so we’re here to help you out.
Will my organic post reach drop?
It is very likely you will see less reach from your organic posts. This will vary from page to page and post to post.
My posts have been getting great engagement. Will this stop?
At this point, it’s too soon to tell. If your posts have been getting the kinds of engagement (comments and shares) that Facebook ranks as relevant, you may continue to see great results. However, you could still see a drop off from posts with more likes and reactions versus comments and shares.
Will this affect content from my corporate office?
The same rankings apply to your branded content as your other types of content. It’s just as important for corporate level content to create meaningful engagement as it is for more localized content.
Is all business content moving out of Newsfeed?
No, the priority will simply be placed on posts by friends and family, rather than business pages.
Will my ads and boosted content be affected as well?
Your sponsored content should see little to no change based on the new ranking system. Facebook will continue to take relevancy and user feedback into account when delivering your ads.
Should I start optimizing my Facebook Ads for Page Post Engagement over real business outcomes?
No. Property Managers should continue to focus on real business outcomes. Facebook doesn’t rank ads based on engagement and we encourage you not to shift your strategy based on the new changes to the Facebook algorithm.
Why A Comprehensive Social Media Solution is More Important Now Than Ever Before
Franchises will need to shift their focus toward content that will actually receive “meaningful engagement.” But how do you know what content produces the most engagement on Facebook and beyond? Smart social media solutions will have a Content Center that is easily accessible and will show you what content, across which platforms (especially Facebook) is already getting the conversations and shares businesses need to share to stay relevant. The Content Center will find top performing posts, allowing businesses to view their most successful posts and optimize new content for their Facebook pages, essentially removing any guesswork from the equation.
We can’t stress this enough, engagement is key to the success of your business online. Franchises should be in-tune with the conversations happening on their page— especially now that Facebook ranks a page responding to a comment as a “meaningful interaction” that will get more attention. You’re no longer simply a “content creator,” you’re facilitating a meaningful conversation that’s relevant to both your audience and industry.
Review your metrics on a weekly basis, and keep track of what works. A “like” is no longer a measure of the success of your content strategy. Facebook tells businesses to look at “reach, comments and shares to determine if they are succeeding.” Yes, your organic reach may drop, but a “like” was never contributing to your business success. Interacting with your audience creates a positive brand experience that gets results not only online, but that can also translate to real-world dollars earned.
Are things changing? Yes. Could these changes affect your business? Yes again, but there’s more to it than the doom-and-gloom getting casually thrown around the blogosphere. If your content wasn’t contributing to your overall business success, you probably weren’t getting much out of your social media strategy in the first place. Accept the challenge posed by Facebook and look to create real moments with your audience that cut through the noise and start to impact your business in bigger and better ways.