Over the past 24 hours the web has been abuzz over Facebook's latest blow to brand publishers: a new algorithm that will demote many posts from brand pages. The industry has been portraying this as the latest blow from Facebook. They couldn't be more wrong.
Facebook will now filter out posts that provide no unique value to users. To be specific, Facebook will be filtering out posts that are (a) purely promotional, (b) copied directly from ads or (c) meaningless promotions. This is good for marketers, it's good for users and it's great for Facebook.
Here's why most Facebook content is crap.
- Brands and agencies still aren't setup to publish fresh, quality content every day. Agencies are setup to deliver three great thirty second commercials every few months.
- Therefor, with the exception of a few "major" campaigns every year, brands rarely have anything of value to post to Facebook. In order to feed the Facebook content beast, brands and agencies relegate daily posts to twenty-something community managers or social content specialists.
- While they try their best, these junior employees often find themselves sharing what they personally enjoy - re-purposing content from around the web. This is generally the same kind of content they would share on their own pages.
- In order to keep their community engaged, brands invest in the occasional promotion or giveaway. These posts are a great, cheap way to drive "likes" and "shares" but generally contain limited content.
- In order to show the ROI potential of the Facebook page, page managers will throw in the occasional promotional post with a direct link to a download, purchase or campaign. Unless these posts are truly exceptional, these posts generate low overall engagement.
Facebook is pushing brands and agencies to adopt a new form storytelling, a new approach to branding and a new solution for Facebook content overall.
Facebook is pushing brands to embrace brand storytelling.
Great brands tell a story. They embark on a journey and invite the user to join them. Brand stories live in the 30 second spot and they live in the microsite. But those are mere moments in the arc of the brand story. The brand story arc fills all 365 days of the year and is brought to life through the content and engagement driven by daily engagement with the brand. This engagement will happen on the brand's mobile apps, in the brand's real world follow through, on the brand's website and on the brand's social channels.
It is far harder to create a brand story with an arc, to deliver the vision that includes daily episodic content worth creating. This demands more of the brand, it demands more of the agency and it demands far more from the community managers and content strategists.
This isn't social-first content or Facebook exclusive-content. It's about consistently meaningful content, 365 days a year. It's about more than a content calendar, it's about creating the brand story that has the legs to fill all 365 days with great content. And inviting your community to join the ride.