Facebook’s Recent Algorithm Update: Don’t Panic!

Facebook recently unveiled that it was going to change its news feed, a change designed to head off criticism directed at the powerful social media platform about polarizing media and interruptive business posts. Their strategy? Prioritizing content from friends and family over posts from companies to encourage “meaningful social interactions,” according to Facebook’s CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg. Translation: more photos of friends skiing and fewer articles about congressional investigations.

We think that’s just fine. If it enhances the patient and/or parent experience, it keeps them engaged on Facebook’s platform. That’s what we want, because it’s primarily where patients and parents choose to be social online!

All of that said, some subtle shifts to accommodate the changes can ensure that practices like yours are relatively unaffected by the algorithm adjustment.

Boost more posts

Prioritize boosted posts and advertisements in a marketing plan and post fewer without ad dollars backing them (a.k.a. organic posts). Facebook is telling agencies they won’t see any major changes for paid posts, although ad rates might increase in the long run. (Digiday). People & Practice strategy for its clients already includes posts that are nominally boosted or take the form of educational or promotional advertisements. Read more about boosted Facebook posts here.

Focus on engagement

Posts from practices that don’t get any meaningful engagement won’t appear as prominently in users’ news feeds compared to posts from friends/connections. But posts that people actually comment and share could be favored more highly. (CNBC)

People & Practice crafts posts for orthodontists that are designed to encourage engagement (comments, tags, shares with friends). Our social strategy involves reaching your friends-of-patients group via social media, often by patients sharing your posts on their network. This is an approach that will be rewarded by the new algorithm adjustment. Check out our five social media ideas for orthodontists here.

Go live with video

Shoot live video instead of pre-recorded. Zuckerberg also said his team has found that users interact more with live videos as opposed to produced ones (you can like and comment in real-time when live). The interpretation is that businesses should focus more on live of content going forward. People & Practice advises practices on ways to incorporate Facebook Live into posts, particularly for contest winner announcements and at events. Read our blog post on five social media marketing predictions for 2018 where we talk about how live video is going to be hot this year.

The more things change…

Always keep in mind that technology changes. Often. That’s why we don’t throw our tried and true strategies out the window as soon as social media giants introduce a change, but rather methodically and measuredly make tweaks that will ensure your practice remains visible to the people that matter most to you: patients and prospective new patients.

Want to learn more about how your practice can not only survive but thrive on Facebook, Google and other online media? For a free marketing analysis, contact People & Practice today at 888.866.DOCS, or by email at hello@pplpractice.com.