On January 11 of this year, Mark Zuckerberg shared a post on Facebook that rocked the marketing world and affected businesses across the globe – whether they realize it or not.
That might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true. See his comment below:
“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.”
[bctt tweet="What Facebook's News Feed Update Means for Dealers" username="JandLMarketing"]
Though the personal side of our Facebook use is a bit relieved by this information, the business side of our Facebook use will be greatly affected by it and we must learn how to adjust to it.
Zuckerberg’s post continued with:
“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.”
The goal of this shift to user-generated connections is meant to serve users by filtering out public content and prioritizing friend and family-related content as well as breaking news. Its design is to increase the value of Facebook to its users by allowing them to spend their time on the site browsing through posts they want to see and are more likely to engage with.
Facebook Business posted on the same day – detailing more specifics of how this would affect those who use Facebook as a marketing platform.
“With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about and show these posts higher in feed.
These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion. We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values.”
What it Means for You
For dealers like you, this means you’re going to have to be more creative with your posts.
The thing is, Facebook’s News Feed has an algorithm that filters what is called, “engagement bait” and penalizes those pages. This can be posts that encourage viewers to “tag a friend” or claims something will occur if the post is liked. These are posts that don’t provide viewers with any value and simply request an action in order to gain more followers and viewers. Efforts like this will not be rewarded.
Your dealership’s posts might still make their way into your customers’ newsfeeds, but that will occur less often and will no longer be a guaranteed way to reach your audience.
What it Means for Your Organic Posts
All that to say, your organic reach is going to diminish.
Now, that said, Facebook Live is a great tool if you’re hoping to ensure user engagement and quality interactions. This type of content will still be prioritized! And, Facebook says these videos get up to six times the engagement of a regular video. If you’re hoping to reach a target audience organically, don’t shy away from this incredible tool. It’s easy to use, instant, and engaging – which officially matters more than ever.
You should really see this as Facebook challenging all of us to produce better organic content. Before, companies were able to lazily share weak content and know that their users would see it while browsing Facebook. Now, businesses have to be strategic and really prove that their content is valuable to our audience – which probably should have been happening long before this update.
Henry Franko, Hubspot’s social and campaign strategy marketing associate said he sees this as an opportunity for brands to pivot their content towards driving a meaningful conversation.1
“Brands should take this opportunity to listen to their audiences,” he said. “and create content that’s catered to their interests and that will drive meaningful interaction.
It’s inbound marketing – on Facebook.
It’s also worth mentioning that users can choose to see your content. Facebook provides the option for users to choose which content they see first in their News Feed.
Unfortunately, the “See First” choice is concerningly close to the “Unfollow” button. I recommend making sure your content is top-notch before pointing your viewers to this tab.
What it Means for Your Paid Advertisements
All that said, paid posts are your best bet – unless you’re just ridiculously good at sparking conversation and interactions about your current inventory.
Why? Well, because, at this time, this change to the news feed is not going to affect advertising. In fact, it might only serve to help it! By eliminating unwanted posts and prioritizing content that Facebook users want to see, the News Feed could see a spike in engagement.
Zuckerberg mentioned in his post that he expects time on the site to diminish with less content in the feed, but he made it clear that the goal is to allow for more a more positive user experience. I believe this will lead to more quality opportunities for Facebook ads to be seen and engaged with.
Basically, it’s filtering out trash posts and giving family, friends, and ads the limelight. With less garbage in the News Feed, your ads will have more of an opportunity to shine.
What Your First Steps Should Be
Your first step is to look into Facebook advertising as this is, for sure, the direction things are going for dealers. And ads are getting more and more advanced. Consider VIN-specific campaigns. These campaigns use your DMS data to match inventory to a car shopper’s exact internet search. When clicked, they lead shoppers directly to the vehicle’s detail page on your website – which drives leads to your site and gives shoppers the exact information they want.
Your second step should be to boost your current content and make sure you’re providing quality information and even entertainment for your viewers. Facebook Live should be a go-to – especially during events and sales. I’d also encourage your employees to share posts from your page to friends and family. Their personal shares will go much further than your original page posts.
Thirdly, see what you need to do to work with Facebook Local. Facebook also announced that a part of this change will be to promote local posts to keep users informed on local news and events. If you can utilize this feature, you can push your organic posts further, despite the recent adjustments.2
That said, organic shares should no longer be a priority in your marketing plan. While your pages should still be present and active, the time spent on daily posts should be diminished and I would even argue that daily posts are no longer practical. Your time and effort should be focused towards other, more profitable outlets.
Posting 1-2 times per week and supplementing with live videos and paid ads should be the new norm for Facebook use on the dealership level.