Nine Tips For Beauty Brands Trying To Beat Facebook’s Algorithm Change

In the beauty industry today, Facebook’s algorithm may be one of the most important ingredients for success. When it shifts, brands are forced to adjust their marketing formulas to continue to flourish on the world’s largest social media platform and off.

Facebook isn’t making it easy on beauty brands. In late 2017, CEO Mark Zuckerberg lamented posts from brands and media companies were crowding out personal moments involving friends and family. He pronounced users would gradually see less content from those brands and media companies to foster “more meaningful social interactions.”

Early this year, Adam Mosseri, head of newsfeed at Facebook, filled brands in on the details of the Facebook move. He revealed the reach, video watch durations and referral traffic would decrease for business pages. Facebook’s decision to swing the spotlight away from business pages has had widespread impact on the 80-plus million businesses active on its network to expose their offerings to its more than 2 billion users worldwide.

Brands may be frustrated by the algorithm tweak, but most are sticking with Facebook due to its sheer enormity, advertising prowess and cost relative to other channels. And Facebook can still be a significant platform for brands nurturing relationships with customers, but they have to become smarter about maneuvering in its midst. Here are nine tips to help brands win the face off with Facebook:

  1. Inspire conversation

Kamiu Lee, CEO of influencer marketing network Activate, stresses brands should concentrate on compelling content that drives true engagement rather than merely attempting to rack up brand page likes. “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution,” wrote Facebook’s Mosseri in his announcement. “Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” A 2017 report from market research firm eMarketer advised that businesses should become storytellers rather than just advertisers on the platform.

Facebook Algorithm
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, worried content from businesses was crowding out meaningful family and friend interactions on the social media network.
  1. Refresh Facebook Objectives

Michael Price, digital media director at marketing agency Ansira, instructs brands to reexamine how they are valuing Facebook metrics. Instead of zeroing in on increasing likes, comments and shares, he suggests they primarily pay attention to awareness, consideration and sales conversions online and offline. “As there is little-to-no correlation [between] engagements [and] driving sales, brands should completely abandon strategies that are focused on these proxy metrics,” he says. EMarketer researchers tell brands not to “miss different signs of engagement” as user behavior changes. To be more specific, some users might tag friends in the comments and not click a share button.

  1. Avoid gimmicks

Lee recommends brands stay away from gimmicky call-to-action tactics such as explicit directives to “like this post” or “comment below.” Mosseri singled out ire for brands that use engagement bait to goad people into responding to posts. He wrote that the bait isn’t considered by Facebook to be a “meaningful interaction,” and Facebook will demote bait posts in news feeds. Facebook prioritizes engagement it deems authentic over posts that include vote baiting, react baiting and share baiting. Vote baiting is requesting that people vote with reactions not reflecting their true opinions. React baiting is similar, and an example is asking followers to like a post if they prefer lipstick or love it if they prefer lip gloss. Share baiting is when a brand prods Facebook users to share a post with 30 friends for a chance to score a product.

Facebook algorithm
Facebook is discouraging posts that bait people to react in ways that aren’t genuine.
  1. Distribute live videos

Facebook has found that creators posting videos on its platform prompt discussions among followers, and live videos tapping its live video-streaming function also encourage discussion. It reports that live videos attract, on average, six times as many interactions as videos that aren’t live. EMarketer researchers predict innovations like augmented reality effects users can add to photos and videos will provide the platform and marketers new avenues to extend engagement.

  1. Consider real-life events

Facebook’s Mosseri said local businesses can connect with communities through Facebook pages by producing and inviting customers to events. Lee elaborates that brands should be thinking about what they can do outside of social media to improve engagement on social media. She says, “With experiences driving much of the consumer journey as of late, it’s wise for brands to see how they can engage target audiences offline and tie to social.”

Facebook algorithm
More than 80 million businesses are active on Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform.
  1. Cozy Up To influencers

Gil Eyal, CEO and co-founder of influencer marketing platform HYPRBrands, says, “You need to find influencers who are influential as opposed to famous, influencers who resonate with your specific audience and serve as a bridge to their audience.” He notes the Facebook algorithm modifications are designed to identify content that performs well, and content targeting an interested audience delivered by an influential person is likely to perform better. Facebook predicts posts a user might want to interact with and shows those posts higher in feeds. Mosseri outlined such a post could be from a friend seeking advice. Yuli Ziv, CEO of the influencer marketing division of Launchmetrics, says, “Influencers offer an external point of view that can facilitate a greater discussion among their audience. This high engagement, in turn, will contribute to greater exposure on the Facebook feed.”

  1. Recycle Influencer Content

Lee argues that brands looking to leverage Facebook should give precedence to influencer tie-ins and promoted posts, and not depend on organic posts. Repurposing influencer content is an expedient tactic for beefing up the influencer portion of Lee’s desired strategy – and it’s a common practice. Activate’s 2018 State of Influencer Marketing Report estimates one-third of marketers repurpose influencer content for paid social. Lee says, “Not only does this tactic make sense for brands aiming for the most visibility in light of Facebook’s algorithm changes, but influencers also provide added credibility of an unbiased third party, positively impacting your brand value in the eyes of key audiences.” Eyal of HYPRBrands comments brands would be wise to surround effective posts with media buys targeted to similar audiences. 

Facebook algorithm
With the Facebook algorithm changes, it’s more difficult for brands to gain exposure with organic posts.
  1. Purchase advertisements

According to Price of Ansira, organic reach on Facebook is declining. He divulges brands are now recording organic reach as low as 1%. Price says, “While it’s understandable for brands to be upset by this, they must understand that, as a publicly-traded company, Facebook has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder value, which translates to higher revenue. Simply put, Facebook must sell more ads to generate more revenue.” He counsels brands to turn to Facebook’s and Instagram’s ad network, which he says is particularly powerful for brands that have first-party CRM [customer relationship management] data from online and offline customers. “In many cases, we have seen Facebook’s targeting capabilities perform on-par or better than paid search,” says Price. Ziv of Launchmetrics says it’s fruitful for brands to partner with influencers to develop branded content used in paid Facebook advertising because it can yield “authentic, editorial-looking ads.”

  1. Encourage customers to “See First”

Finally, people can see posts from business pages they follow at the top of their news feed, but they have to opt in. Mosseri divulged customers and fans can choose See First in Facebook’s news feed preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite pages.