Friends and family first on Facebook
This Wednesday’s announcement from Facebook on structural changes to their Newsfeed algorithm has understandably caused ripples amongst brands and publishers. The new era will see users’ news feeds increasingly populated with content shared by friends, families and contacts and less content directly pushed from elsewhere.
This doesn’t mean the era of organic brand building is over. This simply shifts the influence and gravity in content more towards the behavior of users. And when we go back to the original Facebook proposition, even the founding stones of (dare we say) 2.0, this is simply media being social.
Whilst Facebook might deny any knee jerk response, they can floor any criticism by handing ‘editorial’ power to the community. If users don’t share it, it doesn’t bubble up. And it will be a time to blame the story and not the algorithm.
Whatever the motives and whatever the backstory, brands and publishers will need to roll up their sleeves in distributing content with more human interest and share factor. Whilst this is, really, more progress along a continuum we’ve all been travelling, it could mark the final stop for Facebook as a free advertising platform.
Content is clearly King. And that requires brands to look beyond techies towards journalists, wordsmiths, photographers, videographers and brand strategists; those with the imagination and craft for telling stories.
Whilst social media costs will increase, as a greater effort is required to achieve better content, the investment model is still far more compelling than bought media space. Quite apart from the explosion in ad blockers eroding display media, we are a social audience now.