Influencer Marketing Reigns on Facebook - Veritas Communications
algorithm, Facebook, social media, brand, client, public relations, PR
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influencer marketing, brands, Facebook, public relations

Influencer Marketing Reigns on Facebook

Brands and agencies alike have been up in arms about Facebook’s recent decision to change its News Feed rankings, giving posts from users’ friends and family higher importance than those of Liked pages. Articles from all sides of the spectrum criticized and analyzed the move – comedy website College Humor even dedicated a skit to Facebook’s satirically-named “Algorithm Mafia.” Amidst all the chaos, we know one thing to be true: influencer marketing can continue to thrive with the times.

Facebook has stated that the change is meant to provide its users with more personally-focused content, making more time for close friends and acquaintances and shifting away from more marketing-driven News Feed posts. The change is a part of a larger plan to revamp Facebook’s focus, after a study by SocialFlow found that publisher stories’ reach dropped by 42 per cent.

The good news is that the expected algorithm change will likely have little impact on brands. The vast majority of content created – whether owned or influencer-related – is pre-determined and designed to support a larger campaign. Brands leveraging Facebook (and all other platforms) will still need to focus on authentic, interesting content, which will continue to be the case regardless of how News Feeds are arranged. Here are 3 reasons why we see this change as an opportunity for brands:

1. Minimal Impact on Influencer Marketing

It’s been established that authentic, brand-related content is a major component to successful Facebook campaigns. But how is this achieved?

To the core, Facebook is about sharing. With the new algorithm change, posts by publishers that are liked, shared, or commented on by a user’s network (friends and family) will appear higher on their News Feed. The content that’s most likely to be shared is light-hearted, funny, cute, and in short-video form; the posts should tell a concise story that’s easily digestible for audiences with short attention spans.

Natural storytelling goes hand-in-hand with the right influencers. Not only is this something that Veritas preaches, but it’s also a widely supported concept.

  • According to people receiving advice, influencers were seen as more impactful compared to an average person, based on the following characteristics:
    • Credibility (94 per cent vs. 83 per cent)
    • Knowledgeable (94 per cent vs. 84 per cent)
    • Better at explaining how the product works or could be used (92 per cent vs. 83 per cent)
  • Ninety-two per cent of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source
  • A friend’s recommendation is up to 50 times more likely to trigger purchase than paid media

Even within their announcement, Facebook highlighted the importance of authentic communication, solidifying the need for timely, relevant posts.  Influencers offer an element of authentic ambassadorship that are unmatched by brand pages. Leveraging blogger and social influencer networks to funnel messages to key audiences directs a message to a niche audience, boosting chances of engagement and sentiment. Bypassing the templated formatting offers a creative solution to the ever-evolving social landscape.

2. Viral Content Is Still Viral

According to Facebook, there are three types of posts that are seen as overly promotional by consumers:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

For brands, publishing and promoting content that users want to see as opposed to content that users are forced to see can boost engagement, and overall sentiment. Leveraging unique, entertaining, and informative content can keep a brand’s image sharp and its social relevance on point. Working with Influencers to make sure content is still personal for consumers and relevant in their newsfeeds is more crucial than ever before.  When great content and the right influencers come together, brands have seen as much as a 58% lift in the form of third-party recommendations to consumers.

3. Non-Algorithm Opportunities

Relatively newer social platforms such as SnapChat that are not (yet) algorithm-based present key opportunities of their own, and brands should continue to extend content marketing to these channels. For example, SnapChat can assist brands in ways not yet achieved through other channels:

  • Candid, in-the-moment storytelling that helps build relationships and a brand’s image with consumers
  • A sense of urgency is created with expiring content, driving users to check more often to ensure they don’t miss any up-and-coming content or special offers
  • It is a key platform for influencer marketing as many influencers use it as an extension of their existing blogs and social channels, offering exclusive content
  • Aside from marketing purposes, SnapChat can also be used as an effective customer relations tool, responding in real time to users with questions or comments

As platforms continue to change, both consumers and influencers are looking for easy-to-use channels where there are opportunities to dodge around algorithms – hence even larger growth in SnapChat’s court. More brands, consumers, and influencers are flocking to SnapChat, with its one-year growth exceeding that of Twitter’s progress over a four-year span.

The Takeaway

As a public relations agency that thrives in the fast-paced world of social and digital channels, we don’t see this Facebook change as a threat. Social platforms will inevitably change throughout years, months, or even a single campaign, but putting the time and energy into developing organic, authentic, eye-catching, and shareable content is where rewarding and worthwhile results are anticipated. Trusting our tested practice of Influencer Marketing and our 4 step recipe for campaign ROI, we will continue to identify and work with Influencers to facilitate organic and authentic brand messages across social channels, including Facebook. With over 1.4 billion active monthly users, Facebook will inherently change, and we will adapt alongside it to make the most of the unique platform and give our clients the best exposure possible.