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Cambridge Analytica and Facebook are Changing Content Marketing for Businesses

Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm who recently closed due to this incident, was hired to collect the private information of 50 million Americans.  Many researchers and analysts are calling this the end of the wild west in terms of data protection on social networking sites according to Digiday.com.

The digital ad industry in particular has refuted any type of proposal to regulate how advertisers are doing ad targeting.  Now this seems to be a different story, even though ad targeting was at the backbone of online advertising, many people are calling for bigger protections for people and general data protection regulations.

Due to this incident, Facebook has decided to change the practices and procedures of how the Facebook Algorithm will prioritize “meaningful interactions” from family and friends over branded content from businesses. They most likely are doing this to promote more “real interactions” rather than having businesses push constructed propaganda messages toward users.  According to Hootsuite, there are a number of Ranking Factors that Facebook will consider when showing a business pages’ content to users. Those ranking factors are comments, reactions, comment replies, sharing links over messenger to a group of friends, and engagement on shares.

According to Facebook, they want to get back to their roots where the network was focused on meaningful interactions between friends and actual human beings.  Zuckerberg, in a recent statement, said that, “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.

Building a Community

How will this affect businesses that are trying to get off the ground with growing their communities online? Building a community around a business or an online website should be focused around a sound customer base or interested parties.  Like from the 1989 filmField of Dreams, the concept of “If you build it, they will come” in terms of a community is not always true when it comes to building a community online.

There are many obstacles to overcome when it comes to competing with the big competitors when it comes to getting customers and consumers to look at your business’s social networking account or ecommerce webpage.  A community by definition is a group of people or users who are linked by a social tie or common perspective. The question is difficult to answer about how to gain a community feel on your social network or ecommerce page, but starting out with creating exciting content would be the first step to building the infrastructure for your social network or ecommerce page.

Furthermore, Hootsuite suggested that you focus on building community through using Facebook Groups for your current customers. An example of excellent community building on a Facebook page is the LL Bean Site. Check out this excellent use of connecting a customer’s photograph of their puppy using an L.L Bean Product to the rest of the L.L Bean Community.

Exciting Content and Quality Content

With the new Facebook algorithm, the content that will be prioritized is the content that has quality writing and quality media features like video.  Video, according to Hootsuite, will still be favorited over any other type of medium that businesses can post. What is even more challenging for a marketer of an ecommerce brand or business is the fact that Live Videos will be even more favorited by Facebook than any other content.

That would mean that many Marketers are going to have to get creative with their product marketing, which could prove difficult for ecommerce companies who rely on drop shippers. Building content that has something that your audience resonates with is going to be key in order to get any type of traction. Checking your analytics on a regular basis can give you a clue whether or not your users are enjoying your content.

The easy solution can be to see if your content checks all the boxes for having the new factors such as:Comments, Reactions, Comment Replies, Sharing Links over Messenger to a group of friends, and engagement on shares. One of the best companies to take a look at is GoPro in terms of a company that is really hitting the nail right on the head with creating customer engagement with their videos. According to Venturebeat.com, Youtube.com actually converts the most number of users to consumers with product videos.

You Can’t Fake It

Engagement bait has been rampaging through social networking channels at a higher speed than ever in the last two years. Users and companies alike are using the marketing scam of asking a user to comment to agree with a post in order to get more engagement. Making those cheap ploys from your audience maybe satisfying in the moment, but in the new Facebook communities with the new algorithm those types of hacks are going to be considered spam. Unfortunately, you are going to have to grow your audience and your comments organically without the help of those types of marketing strategies.  To create content that isn’t faking be natural in your marketing posts. Post things that genuinely interest you and you think others would read as well.

Allow for Guests Posters

In order to grow a community on your website and or on your social networking sites you have to invite members of the community to be a part of your website or social community.  In order to do that go on your existing networks and asking your audience to submit an application on your website to take part in writing for your blog and online community.

Theoretically, the author will then share the article they wrote to their own networks including social media. Thus getting people from their networks to visit your website or social network and you have gained a new audience. Having a guest poster with a large following can increase the ability to grow a conversation that has an audience that takes part in sharing and commenting.

This would be a great strategy for ecommerce companies who are trying to combat the new Facebook algorithm.  Another great aspect of having a guest poster on your blog is diversifying the discourse that is occurring on your network from the articles you are providing to your network. Make sure to choose guest posters who are willing to write posts that are in line with your SEO and Keyword strategy.

Identify Key Stake Holders

One major aspect that an ecommerce company can do is identify the key influencers that are in your current market. Most often you can build a business relationship with influencers in your industry to either test out your products or do some kind of social exchange when promoting your content.  Having influencers join your network is important to getting the conversation started in your network and also bringing more users to the network to join the conversation.

Quite often celebrities are doing this type of promotion with products on their social feeds. If you can get a rock star in your industry to promote your products, many users will consider that the social proof they need to either join in the conversation or make a purchase from your products. Remember that creating a community requires makings social connections with individuals that are relatable to others.

Whether you are working on creating more engagement on your social networking site or trying to build up the content on your website to be community building, you must create content that is worth reading. Making sure to have quality content is the best and easy to combat the new Facebook algorithm and at the same time improve your website SEO standings. Although this current new algorithm is a reaction to a privacy breach we think that this can also be an opportunity to step up your content game and create something that is a bit more meaningful for you and your customers.

Wiebke Reile

Wiebke Reile

Wiebke Reile has been social media strategist for the last eight years in the Internet Industry. She has also professionally worked in the film and television industry as a documentary film editor in New York City. Currently, she is a researcher for the University of Hawaii and pursuing her doctorate degree; focusing her research towards online political social movements.

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