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How to ensure your time spent on Facebook is well spent

The average person will spend five years and four months on social media in their lifetime*.

In that time, you could walk the Great Wall of China 3.5 times or fly to the moon and back 32 times. So, it’s pretty great news that with its latest algorithm change, Facebook wants to make sure that time spent on the platform is of value to its users.

Facebook has announced that it’s making changes to prioritise “meaningful social interactions” over video, pictures and posts shared by businesses, following complaints of over-crowded newsfeeds filled with public content rather than updates from friends and family.

So why the change? Founder Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be “good for people’s well-being” and he wants his children, Max and August, to be proud that “what their father built was good for the world”.

But, what does this overhaul to the newsfeed algorithm mean for brands and media outlets which have been enjoying this powerful social platform to reach their target audiences?

98% of digital consumers use social media, reaching 100% in the 16-24 category, making social networks excellent platforms for communication. Facebook engages 90% of all social media users, which makes it the most popular network. (Source: Global Web Index)

Facebook currently allows businesses to reach vast numbers of people at the touch of a button. Promoting content to key demographics with the aim of generating large numbers of engagements – comments, likes and shares – is a communications professional’s dream, offering almost instant results with the reach and impact of messages.

However, audiences are becoming increasingly disgruntled, accusing media outlets in particular of posting clickbait – the kind of sensational headlines that encourage readers to click-through to a website where they have to read through a long and rambling story to reach salient points, passing countless adverts as they go.

Working in a public relations consultancy, specialising in strategic communications online and in print, I welcome the changes to Facebook and would suggest that there’s even greater strength for our marketing discipline in a “cleaned-up” version of Facebook.

By cutting out the noise and disruption of low-quality content, engaging, organic and honest content will have more impact with new audiences. They may see fewer messages, but they will be of a higher quality and far more worthwhile.

How can you make the algorithm changes work for you and your organisation?

1. Be helpful, add value
Showcase your best stories and news, celebrate your victories and report on significant events within your industry. Add value to your followers’ day, be helpful and engage with your audience. Don’t post simply because your social media strategy says so – be relevant.

2. Put creativity at the heart of your content
Make sure that your content is well-written as well as visually engaging. Include videos, infographics and polls in your content plan. Write for people, not search engines or website hits. Good content lasts and can be repurposed, delivering excellent ROI.

3. Recognise the power of advocacy
Aim to turn followers into fans and fans into advocates. Having individuals singing your praises to their friends and family (on and offline) is far more powerful than any metric on social media. Give people a reason to share your content for you.

For more tips, why not read ‘Four ways to give your social media a spring clean’ or get in touch with us if your digital strategy needs advice and support.

*(Source: mediakix).