Facebook Changes: The Impact on your B2B Social Media Plan
If you haven’t been watching closely, Facebook has been working hard to capture more of the B2B social media activity, but appears to have a long way to go. Last week there were major changes to the Facebook Algorithm that may negatively impact businesses social media efforts, or end up helping others, depending on the influence each business has with their follower base. Part of their strategy to pick up more business related activity includes being more transparent in their communications to users. On July 25th, Facebook launched their Facebook for Business blog that will give users the opportunity to follow news and insights to happenings on Facebook relating to business. Last week, Facebook posted an article on the changes to the news feed that may clearly impact the way businesses continue to use Facebook as a channel for awareness and lead generation. Prior to the algorithm modifications, a user’s personal news feed would show the latest update from their network, including posts that had last actor status. Now, the news feed algorithm will post items in response to personal activities based on:
- How often you interact with the friend, Page, or public figure (like an actor or journalist) who posted
- The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular
- How much you have interacted with this type of post in the past
- Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post
What’s important to understand is that every time that someone visits their news feed, on average, there are 1500 possible stories from friends, followed people, and pages that can appear at any given time. With the new algorithm, these 1500 stories will be prioritized to an average of 300 stories to show.
In conjunction to the algorithm changes, B2B marketers should understand the statistics behind what Facebook brings to a business as part of a social media strategy. Forrester Research just released statistics on How B2B Decision Makers are Using Social Media, which points out that only 2% of those polled use Facebook for business purposes only, with LinkedIn’s percentage being 26%. Marketingcharts.com further expands the findings in this visual.
Additionally, a study on the Top B2B Content Marketing Trends uncovered that only 39% of the people polled stated that Facebook is an effective platform for delivering B2B content, down from 54% last year. The complete set of data is summarized in this chart:
(Source: B2B Content Marketing Report, Holger Schultze, 2013)
On the surface, the changes that Facebook continues to integrate into its social platform appear to have increased the news feed experience. Early tests show that there was an 8% increase in Likes, comments and shares on organic stories that users saw from Pages. If this number continues to prove accurate, business pages that post relevant information will get more eyeballs, but the question still remains as to what impact this organic traffic will have on a Facebook strategy and its ROI for B2B marketers.
- Facebook’s new algorithm may hurt or help your business results depending on your current reach, activity and relevance of content. If your business has a large following and receives strong activity from your content, you will likely benefit. If your business is more of a spectator, with little activity, your content and updates are now less likely to be seen by your audience.
- Facebook is making a push to continue acquiring more business traffic. The blurred lines of personal and business may continue to be a large percentage of the activity in Facebook, but as it stands, Forrester’s report and the B2B content marketing report is in agreement that LinkedIn is still the platform of choice for business social media and content marketing.
- Rethink your buyer persona and evaluate where your market is most likely to engage with your business. Even though your social media strategy may include activity across various platforms, it’s important to realize that ROI in some may far outweigh the ROI in others. Be clear up front on the output expected in each.
Still unclear as to where to spend your time with social media? Contact echogravity to figure it out.
Bonus Material: Download echogravity’s content publishing schedule.