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Crowdstaffing featured as Rising Star and Premium Usability HR platform in 2019

Crowdstaffing has earned the prestigious 2019 Rising Star & Premium Usability Awards from FinancesOnline, a popular B2B software review platform. This recognition is given out annually to products[...]

May 13, 2019

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Don't Worry; The New Facebook Algorithm Isn’t Going to Tank Your Business

Facebook is changing. So much so that it’s getting hard to keep up with all the news. From social VR to updated news feeds, the social media giant is clearly trying to do something. It may have been a rough couple of years for Facebook, but it’s still one of the most popular platforms for businesses – provided you can break through the new algorithm.

It’s no secret that Facebook has been having some problems. Surely, Zuckerberg had no idea just how big Facebook would get when he started it way back in 2004. As with any rapidly-growing technology, it becomes hard to stay on top of the challenges that come with innovation. Facebook’s biggest problem is abuse, and it’s a problem that’s nearly impossible to regulate. What started out as a neutral zone where people could connect has turned into a hotbed of political arguments and corruption. In 2016, the problems came to a head. Fake news and Russian bots plagued the site, and nothing was done about it. The once innocent Facebook was taken over, twisted, and abused. No wonder Wired’s March 2018 cover features a bruised and battered Zuckerberg.

Facebook’s Foundational Cracks Start to Show

The problem began with the algorithm that collated Facebook’s Trending Topics. A small, outsourced team was responsible for monitoring the algorithm, and one team member was ultimately responsible for the “leak” that sparked the political controversy. So, was it a tech problem or human error? Well, the answer is both. Facebook’s algorithm was corruptible, and the team monitoring it was treated poorly. Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein, authors of the Wired cover story, spoke to 51 Facebook employees:

The stories varied, but most people told the same basic tale: of a company, and a CEO, whose techno-optimism has been crushed as they’ve learned the myriad ways their platform can be used for ill. Of an election that shocked Facebook, even as its fallout put the company under siege. Of a series of external threats, defensive internal calculations, and false starts that delayed Facebook’s reckoning with its impact on global affairs and its users’ minds. And—in the tale’s final chapters—of the company’s earnest attempt to redeem itself.”

And it’s still trying to get there. Facebook is working to right itself with all the tenacity of a turtle on its back. Zuckerberg’s pledge to “fix Facebook” this January was just the start. Now, the social media giant is rolling out changes left and right in an effort to reclaim its neutrality (and popularity):

  • Tech Crunch reported yesterday that Facebook signed with the music licensing group ICE to provide royalties to artists associated with the group. Artists represented by ICE will receive royalties when their music is used on Facebook and any of its subsidiaries.
  • In December, Facebook announced its new messenger app for kids. The app was co-developed with parents and expert advisors to allow kids ages 13 and under to connect with each other in a safe, online space. The app connects via the parent’s Facebook account, and parents must approve a contact before video chatting is enabled.
  • According to Mashable, Facebook is on the hunt for two editors to manage their tech stories and brand campaigns. Both positions will be tasked with coming up with fresh ideas for content and delivery - and both are pivotal to the culture of quality and transparency that Facebook is trying to nurture.
  • Facebook developers have been working on bringing VR to social media. On Tuesday, they began ramping up 3D post capability by supporting gITF-2.0 file formats. Members can share 3D content in myriad ways, whether directly from their business website, via the Oculus gallery, or through other mediums soon to come. Richer 3D support is especially beneficial for e-commerce businesses that use Facebook to promote their products.
  • Facebook has changed its news feed algorithm as part of its plan to reinvent how the site is used. The new algorithm will facilitate “meaningful interactions” between users by prioritizing personal content over branded content. Quality will be the new standard, and only public posts with high (legitimate) engagement will be appear in news feeds.

Giving Social Media Back to the People

When Zuckerberg said he wanted to fix Facebook, he meant it. The wealth of changes we’ve seen over the last six months show a clear effort to engage the younger user base, which is expected to decline significantly this year. But they also hint at something more profound: Facebook is trying to do the right thing. Of course, the biggest change, and the one that’s left many businesses shakin’ in their boots, is the new Facebook algorithm. Zuckerberg explained the shift in his announcement last month:

“Recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other… As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

How to Co-Exist With the New Facebook Algorithm

It’s not all bad news for businesses. Content has ruled as king for a long time; this is simply a new iteration. If Zuck wants to see quality engagement, let’s give it to him. There’s no time like the present to take a long, hard look at your social media campaigns. Here are a few tips to ensure your Facebook posts meet the new standards:

  • Revisit your buyer personas and get to know your audience. Generic messaging won’t work anymore. You need to fully understand your customers before you can start creating targeted content. Think about what type of content would be valuable to them, then create it.
  • Publish content that prompts a discussion in the comments section. The more comments you get, the higher your content will rank in the eyes of the algorithm. Don’t just come out and ask people to discuss or like your post, though. Facebook considers this engagement bait and will demote you for doing it. Inspire meaningful interactions by exploring trending topics or even (gasp!) controversial ones.
  • Ask a question or host a poll. People naturally want to answer questions, so you should have no problem getting others to chime in. Use it as an opportunity to learn more about your customers and how they interact with your brand; you could poll for a favorite product or service, get suggestions for new blog posts, or simply ask what their upcoming weekend plans are. All the while, you’ll be improving your engagement stats.
  • Videos get a lot of views – and a lot of comments. In fact, Zuckerberg’s announcement directly states that live videos get more interactions, and thus will be favored by the new Facebook algorithm. So, it’s probably time to start publishing regular videos if you’re not doing so already.
  • Take advantage of Facebook’s new 3D posts in ways that are relevant to your brand. If you sell tangible goods, the benefits are obvious. Users can examine 3D versions of your products before buying, share with followers, and even port over your 3D post to see how it looks in Facebook Spaces, the site’s VR environment. This is a big opportunity for businesses, and it’s only going to get bigger as Facebook continues to develop its VR and AR capabilities.

Opportunity is Knocking - Will You Answer?

I get it; change can be scary, especially when it has the potential of affecting your business. But let’s look at it this way: perhaps Zuckerberg will finally fix the parts of Facebook that have long been broken. His mission to foster meaningful interactions and improve the well-being of Facebook users is a noble one. Businesses would do well to follow suit. Consider it a push to for you to update your social media campaigns and truly connect with your customers. As long as you keep quality as one of your top priorities, you’ll be just fine.

 

 

Sunil Bagai
Sunil Bagai
Sunil is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, thought leader and influencer who is transforming the way companies think about and acquire talent. Blending vision, technology and business skills honed in the most innovative corporate environments, he has launched a new model for recruitment called Crowdstaffing which is being tapped successfully top global brands. Sunil is passionate about building a company that provides value to the complete staffing ecosystem including clients, candidates and recruiters.
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