Since Facebook's algorithm change last year, B2B companies that are trying to reach customers on Facebook will now have to approach them from a different angle: through their employees.In December 2017, Facebook announced that the platform will be changing its algorithms to prioritize posts and content shares from friends and family in users’ news feeds. Great for users, but not-so-great for B2B companies and brands, who are already experiencing a serious decline in organic reach on their business pages. I recently attended the Social Media Marketing World conference, and one of the most talked about topics was Facebook's announcement, and how it is already affecting B2B marketing.
Despite all the uproar, this doesn’t mean the end of Facebook or social advertising for B2B companies. But it does mean leveraging a different social strategy.
Employee Advocacy is becoming more and more important, and since organic visibility is diminishing, companies must learn to leverage their employees.
What Happened to Facebook?
Before we jump too far ahead into talking about leveraging an Employee Advocacy strategy, let’s first discuss the Facebook algorithm changes in more detail.
In December 2017, the social media giant acknowledged that news videos, media, and other third-party articles and content have a negative impact on mood and overall mental health. In fact, some studies have shown that an overabundance of content and mobile device usage and technology contributes to depression in teenagers and young adults.
In an effort to combat the issue, Facebook wanted to re-focus on and center the platform around the reason why Facebook was created in the first place: to encourage interactions and connections between friends and family.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook himself stated, “We want the time people spend on Facebook to encourage meaningful social interactions”.
You have to hand it to Facebook for acknowledging and helping to solve a troubling issue. On the other hand, large and small businesses and brands that have relied solely on Facebook to reach customers and consumers might have a different opinion.
Understanding the Science Behind New Facebook Algorithm Values
So, if your business relied on Facebook as its prime lead generation source or marketing channel, then you will need to rethink your strategy.
But, before you scrap your current social and content marketing strategy, you first must understand the science behind the Facebook algorithms, so you have a better idea of what content will and will not work on Facebook going forward.
Here’s a brief summary of the new Facebook algorithm changes:
- Friends and Family First: The primary objective for the news feed change is to prioritize posts and content from friends and family in users’ news feeds. Content and posts from brands, businesses, and other sources will be visible second. This allows the user to control the content that he or she chooses to see or read.
For example, Facebook has built features such as “unfollow” to allow users to customize their experience.
- Control Over Content and Communications: Facebook now prioritizes real, interesting, and genuine content over spam or other potentially misleading content. Furthermore, Facebook communications will become much more private and inclusive.
What Does The Facebook Algorithm Change Mean for B2B Companies?
If you are a B2B company, and you advertise on Facebook, then you have probably seen a significant decline in organic traffic—and you aren’t alone. In fact, 93 percent of marketers use Facebook advertising on a regular, consistent basis. Furthermore, the average organic reach for brands on Facebook can be as low as 2 percent.
Ugly, isn’t it?
But before you blame your marketing team or dump more money into content creation, it probably isn’t anything you are doing wrong. The truth is Facebook doesn’t function the same way it did during its infancy back in the early 2000s.
With more user control over communications and content, B2B companies need to adjust their content as well as their paid and organic advertising strategies. Unfortunately, B2B companies succeeding on Facebook is significantly harder than it was even a year ago. B2B companies will need to secure a paid advertising budget and launch a paid advertising campaign in order to target users and customers.
With over 2 billion active users on Facebook, Facebook is still an area B2B companies need to focus on. However, Facebook ad campaigns can get incredibly detailed and complicated, and the platform isn't the most user-friendly out there. Therefore, B2B companies must get creative with their strategies.
A solid inbound marketing strategy can certainly come to the rescue with a wealth of remarkable, high-quality content to share via social media. Combining an inbound strategy, social strategy, and paid advertising is one option. Some B2B companies have begun leveraging other social media platforms in their strategies.
But, perhaps the most valuable—and affordable—way to thrive on Facebook is Employee Advocacy.
3 Ways to Leverage Employee Advocacy for B2B Marketing on Facebook
If you read through the other Smarp blog posts you'll find dozens of ways that you can utilize your employees to help promote your business online. That said, below are a few of my favorite Smarp blog posts that focus on leveraging a strong Employee Advocacy program.
- Create a share-worthy culture for your employees. It is important to create a culture where employees feel valued, and then also help them realize the benefits of sharing that culture through their own social networks. This blog post shares affordable ways of improving company culture.
- Establish goals and rewards. Setting achievable Employee Advocacy goals will go a great distance in helping your employees understand your expectations. Rewarding your most active employee advocates will help other employees get excited to participate.
- Involve your employees in social media marketing decisions. Leveraging the expertise of your employees is an excellent way to show them you care, further building a culture that will make them want to share your brand on their social media profiles. In addition, it will help you get valuable ideas for additional content marketing.
Aside from an information-rich blog, Smarp also helps B2B companies connect both employees and brands to create, publish, and share professional content together. Feel free to download our free guide to boosting content marketing with Employee Advocacy.