Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular social media networks in the world, and thus are an important part of most businesses’ digital marketing strategy.
But in 2018, we’ve seen some major changes to the Facebook and Instagram privacy policies and algorithms, which might be affecting your marketing efforts.
A data breach affecting more than 70 million users caused Facebook to revise its data practices (and those of Instagram, since Facebook owns Instagram).
The changes that came into effect in April of 2018 largely affect third-party applications, such as social media scheduling tools. The new policies limit how third-party tools can use social data.
For instance, on most scheduling sites, marketers used to be able to tag Facebook or Instagram users directly from the third-party scheduler; however, the privacy changes have made it so that is no longer possible. There are also restrictions around tagging and commenting via the scheduling feed.
Around the same time as the data practice changes, Facebook and Instagram also made changes to their algorithms, affecting how content is rolled out to followers.
For instance, in December of 2017, Facebook banned “engagement bait” — posts like “Comment YES if you love ice cream!” or “Tag a friend to win!” Brands that continue to share these types of posts will have their reach severely limited.
But the algorithm changes affected more than just engagement bait. They also put emphasis on meaningful interactions.
This means that Facebook and Instagram are boosting organic posts that:
- Have more engagement (likes, comments, and shares).
- Are more personal and thought-provoking, rather than attention grabbing.
- Come from family and friends, rather than businesses. This can severely limit the reach of organic posts from businesses and brands.
Have you noticed your post reach dropping substantially with no real change to your content? The algorithms could be the reason. On Instagram, posts used to be sorted by time of posting. Now, however, they appear in news feeds based on an algorithm of how interested Instagram thinks the user will be, so someone might see your post four days after it has been published, rather than the same day.
Even little actions can affect your posts’ reach. For instance, on Instagram editing an already published post resets its reach to zero in the algorithm’s eyes. Since posts with more reach and more engagement are boosted, editing a published post can hurt your analytics.
How to Navigate These Changes
Is the answer to dealing with these changes to give up on social media marketing? Not at all! The following tips can help focus your approach:
- Continue to create great content that is reflective of your brand. Don’t release a post just because you think it will be attention grabbing. The more authentic and personal your content is, the better.
- If you use a social media scheduling tool, be sure to keep up-to-date with their restrictions and changes.
- Post directly to social media sites, rather than sharing links. For instance, if you create video content, you might be tempted to post the video to YouTube and share the YouTube link on Facebook. Don’t do this! Instead, post the video on YouTube and post it directly to Facebook. Facebook favours “native” content that is posted directly to the site, in particular videos and photos.
- Consider paid social media advertising. One way you can get your message out to your audience without having to rely on organic reach is social pay-per-click advertising. If it’s not already in your strategy, consider including this for large events, promos, and product launches.
- Don’t forget about your other digital marketing presences. Ultimately, social media is one piece of the marketing pie, and it’s a piece that doesn’t belong wholly to your business. Be sure to continue to concentrate on the platforms you can control — an optimized website, an email list and newsletter, a great blog, Inbound campaigns, and the like.
DigiForce Marketing is your best ally for creating an effective digital marketing strategy. We’ll help you navigate social media algorithm changes, new privacy policies, and more.
Get in contact today. Call 1-888-701-4441 or visit www.digiforcemarketing.ca.