Don’t believe the hype. Facebook isn’t changing everything.
Recently, Facebook announced that it is going to prioritize stories from people you actually know in your newsfeed, rather than showing you more promotional or news-related content.
So what does this mean?
Facebook is continuing its trend toward requiring businesses and news publications to pay for visibility with users.
You may have seen others in the marketing or advertising industry decrying this as potentially very negative for businesses. AdWeek proclaimed that this is… yet another blow to publishers. Other bloggers have forecast that businesses’ “Facebook referrals will likely go down…way down”.
And for some businesses, this doom and gloom perspective may be accurate. When Facebook first launched, early adopting businesses took advantage of the free publicity. But the network, and social media in general has moved on. Any business that is still relying on organic reach on Facebook – that is being seen by many, many people without paying for that visibility – will likely see some downtick in their Facebook marketing results.
For FindLaw clients, however, the good news is that Facebook’s news feed algorithm changes only impact organic social traffic. That’s not how we do social.
Here at FindLaw, our social media strategy heavily leverages paid advertising to build our customers’ brands on Facebook. Here are the two reasons I’m not worried about this week’s announcement, and why FindLaw customers don’t need to worry either:
- Facebook has always prioritized organic posts from people you are connected to over news and other posts. In fact, this is the third time Facebook has announced a similar algorithm change to further reprioritize organic business posts. That’s why FindLaw has been integrating paid Facebook advertising into our marketing solutions since 2015.
- Facebook’s preference for showing personal stories in users’ news feeds only applies to organic postings. Meaning that yes, your firm’s latest non-paid Facebook post about, say, your participation in a charity golf outing might be de-prioritized. However, this change does not affect paid ad placement within the news feed.
What should we take away from this change?
First, that not much has changed for your firm. Facebook is still the best social network for law firms to be seen by thousands of people in their communities. Yes, it requires paying for Facebook advertising, but that was already true before Facebook’s most recent announcement.
Secondly, what it says to me is that Facebook is constantly striving to keep users happy. Facebook makes algorithm changes based on their data about the posts that users are most likely to engage with (by clicking a link, liking, commenting or sharing). This change is simply another case of Facebook keeping its users happy.
And while the two things may seem disconnected, happy Facebook users are good for law firms who advertise there.
Happy users check their Facebook news feeds more often. Making them more likely to encounter an ad for an attorney, and engage with that ad.