Over the last year, Facebook's algorithm has steadily moved away from prioritizing posts from brands in news feeds over personal users, but employee advocacy is a workaround to this issue.
The latest Facebook algorithm updates, once again, have given priority to personal posts over brands and publishers. The latest headlines might make you think these changes just took place, and that is partially true – Facebook did move in this direction even further in January – but it’s been shifting this way for some time now. The most recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm have brands and publishers scrambling to achieve the reach they once had.
Let’s take a look at how the algorithm has changed over the years. According to a research report conducted by BuzzSumo, changes to Facebook’s algorithm in the middle of last year severely affected the number of shares of certain types of content posts such as listicles. BuzzFeed for example has seen the number of shares its listicles get on Facebook drop off a cliff. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, BuzzFeed listicles garnered over 2 million shares apiece. In the second-half of 2017, its top listicles gained far less than that, with just one post gaining over 500,000 shares and the rest gaining closer to 200,000 or fewer.
Of course, these are still strong numbers, but the drop-off shows how powerful Facebook’s algorithm changes are. And it’s important to remember these numbers are from before the algorithm changes in early 2018. Time will tell if all brand content goes through a similar drop-off to what BuzzFeed went through. We all know what’s going on. Facebook wants marketers and publishers to buy more ads. Guess what? Advertising isn’t the answer because Facebook ads have gone way up in price since the new algorithm has taken effect.
So what are brands and publishers supposed to do? You basically have two options. Pour more and more money into Facebook ads or learn to live with your continuously diminishing reach. Or maybe there’s a third option. Employee advocacy.
Employee advocacy works by empowering employees and stakeholders to share and promote your brand online. This Facebook algorithm “workaround” is really very simple. Your brand’s Facebook account will take a backseat to personal users in terms of how high it’s placed in news feeds, so why not have your advocates use their personal accounts to promote your content?
Implementing a strong employee advocacy program allows your employees to show up at the top of feeds. Facebook is prioritizing posts from people so why not use that to your advantage? With employees sharing content about your brand, you can still achieve the reach (maybe even more) that your brand posts used to get without having to dedicate a significant portion of your budget to advertising. They’re also viewed with less skepticism than posts shared by brands. This leads to more shares, and more engagement. Content posted by employees get 24-times more shares than the same content posted by brands, according to Altimeter. It also has 561% further reach, according to the MSLGroup.
Organizations with a successful employee advocacy program have a huge advantage over competitors that don’t, and with Facebook’s algorithm changes, it becomes an even bigger advantage. Rather than watch your reach on Facebook drop off or pour more money into social ads, you can use this algorithm change to your benefit.
If you’d like to learn more about how employee advocacy can help your business, we’re always here.