A Facebook engagement strategy has been an important aspect of what our clients look for on the behemoth platform — awareness, connection and the whole “Think Conversation” mantra we live by here at B Squared.

But with Facebook’s newest algorithm update, is engagement on Facebook a KPI (key performance indicator) that brands should really be focusing on?

Let’s discuss …


Facebook’s Newest Blow To Brands

At the end of last month, Facebook made critical updates to our News Feed:

“We’ve heard from our community that people are still worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about. For people with many connections this is particularly important, as there are a lot of stories for them to see each day. So we are updating News Feed over the coming weeks so that the things posted by the friends you care about are higher up in your News Feed.”

According to the Facebook announcement, this mostly likely will affect your business or brand page:

“Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages. The specific impact on your Page’s distribution and other metrics may vary depending on the composition of your audience. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through Page posts. We encourage Pages to post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.”

Reread that last line out loud: We encourage Pages to post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.

Some of you may know that Facebook engagement (link clicks, likes, comments, shares) are weighted, meaning that clicks and likes score lower with the EdgeRank Algorithm Facebook uses to control the News Feed.

What scores highest? Shares.

Sharing not only says, “I like this,” it says, “I like this so much I want my community of friends to see it.” Sharing perpetuates the ripple effect of sending content through the echo chamber.

But why are we compelled to share?

Mark Schaefer says there are 5 fundamental reasons why we share content in his book The Content Code:

  1. To be useful
  2. To define ourselves to others
  3. To grow and nourish relationships
  4. Self-fulfillment
  5. To get the word out about causes and brands

So, if we’re to continue to use a Facebook engagement strategy as a way to measure success, what does that look like for our brand and business pages?

Does The New Facebook Engagement Strategy Force Fluff?

Here are a few examples of the types of posts on Facebook that receive the most shares, according to a study by Buzzsumo earlier this year:

  • Questions and images (think fill-in-the-blanks, memes, and inspirational quotes)
  • Shorter form text posts (50 characters or less)
  • Directly embedded videos
  • Posting via Instagram

(While these recommended best practices came from looking at 1 billion posts, we have also found that best practices can lead your brand astray if you’re not careful.)

Largely, it seems that sharing memes, funny videos, and inspirational quotes are the way to get shares.

This lends to the fact that your business isn’t competing with competitors on Facebook, rather you’re competing with friends, family, and entertainment-based content.

This also means that to continue to see engagement on Facebook, you will have to share more “fluffy” content and less brand-related posts that may encourage consumers to buy.

Or, does the new Facebook engagement strategy just force you to spend more ad dollars?

Here are some supporting statements we’ve heard from Facebook reps:

  • Facebook will no longer be a social network for business but an ad network with diverse targeting options
  • 0% reach for brands is imminent (right now our organic posts average 0-4% engagement)
  • Boosted posts & Page “like” ads