Insights

What Does Facebook’s New Algorithm Change Mean for Sports?

James Faz / 15.02.2018

Facebook are at it again.

Those in the marketing and communications industry may be rolling their eyes at yet another algorithm change, but those who don’t take steps to adapt will suffer the consequences.

Be sure to stay ahead and in-the-know about what these changes are, and what they mean for your sport.

THE CHANGES

On 12 January, Facebook announced it will change the way it does business, emphasising “meaningful social interactions”.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated, “The first changes you’ll see will be in the News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”

He also mentioned that Facebook will be putting an emphasis on local news sources.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY SPORT?!

For the most part, sports fall into one or more of the ‘businesses, brands, media’ categories on Facebook. Because of this, their content – and that of everyone else’s operating under this umbrella – is going to suffer.

Some of the most important consequences could include:

  • lower reach and less visibility on Facebook News Feed
  • publisher content moving over to ‘Explore Feed’
  • an increase in Cost Per Thousand (CPM) to get content seen

Facebook’s new algorithm change is inconvenient, but it doesn’t impact the core principle of content marketing – which is to make your content engaging! Revisiting your published content and understanding what really works with your audience is the key to establishing greater organic reach.

The fight for reach is about to get harder… it’s time to step up your game.

OK, HOW DO I DO THAT?

There are lots of ways to engage with your fans without over-relying on video and article posts.

Here are some useful tips to give your content the best chance of standing out on Facebook’s News Feed.

  1. Cosy up to your athletes
  • Athletes are now more important than ever. If they share, people care. Start building relationships with them now.
  • It’s up to you to give your athletes content to share. Establish an easy and pain-free process for giving them content. Software like Hootsuite’s Amplify offers a tidy solution to this.

Remember: athletes may not help you for free. Consider creating an influencer outreach strategy that incorporates relevant targets and rewards.

 

  1. Use video, but in a different way
  • Live video gets 6x more engagement than standard video. More engagements will lead to greater organic reach.
  • Use Facebook Watch. Do you have interesting stories and the resources to turn them into a potential mini-series? If you’re nodding, this platform could be just the ticket.

Remember: only pursue live video and a mini-series if you have the strategy nailed down beforehand. Publishing poor-quality video content in these formats will only damage your online presence, not improve it.

 

  1. Talk to your fans
  • Ask fans questions, act on what they have to say, and show them the results.
  • If they ask a question, answer it! Facebook will place posts in front of people that their friends have interacted with.

Remember: don’t explicitly ask for comments in your posts. Facebook doesn’t like that.

 

  1. It’s quality over quantity 
  • Some brands on Facebook have reduced their posting frequency and experienced an uplift in engagement.
  • Take the time to think about, and then produce, high-quality, clean, shareable content. Think of your content creation process as an investment.

Remember: play around with your content frequency. Each audience is different, so test different frequencies and analyse the subsequent data.

 

TURN THIS CHALLENGE INTO AN OPPORTUNITY

Facebook’s News Feed changes present one of 2018’s biggest challenges for sports rights holders, but it also presents the perfect opportunity to engage fans on a more personal level.

View these changes as an opportunity, test your capabilities as a content producer, get out there and set the next Facebook trend for sports.

Until the next algorithm change that is…

Haven’t heard about Facebook Watch yet? Read our article on why this new platform is perfect for sports…

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