Facebook have released a new algorithmic change that is going to have a massive impact on brands and social media managers alike. The new change, which was announced on February 24th in Facebook’s Newsroom, will mean that brand and personality Pages will find it much easier to engage a larger audience than they have ever been exposed to before.
The process is quite simple and involves tagging. If one Page tags another Page in a post, not only will this post show up to the tagger’s followers but also a section of the tagged Page’s followers as well. The process is the same as tagging a friend in a picture. It is quite likely that this will show up to the tagged person’s friends even if you, the original poster, have no association. The update has been tested and has proved very popular.
Now, before you go posting your alternate ending script to HBO’s Game of Thrones page and its millions of followers, it is worth knowing that there are a few limitations and caveats to this change. One being, ordinary people can’t post to a Page and expect it to be broadcast to its thousands, if not millions of followers. This algorithmic change will only affect Pages tagging other Pages.
And it gets trickier. Facebook will look at how many shared followers the two Pages have and decide whether one page’s content is relevant to the other page’s followers. As such, Persil detergent may struggle to broadcast tagged posts to one of Snoop Dogg’s 30 million followers. Although judging by this commercial, quite how long that will remain the case is open for debate.
Furthermore, in the social network’s attempts to provide only interesting and most importantly relevant content to people’s timelines, social engagement will be taken into consideration, namely likes, shares, comments and clicks. First and foremost the post will need to have proved popular among the original poster’s following and then a level of engagement amongst the tagged Page will be necessary for it to really spread like wildfire.
What does this mean for social media marketers?
A brand will now be opened up to an audience far greater than they could previously have hoped to achieve. For example, an independently owned coffee shop posts something and tags Starbucks in this post. The post proves very popular within the relatively small audience pool of the independent and as a result starts popping up in the feed of Starbucks’ followers. The post snowballs and snowballs until a multinational audience has seen the post. And all it took? A tag for Starbucks.
I suspect some pretty innovative marketing tactics to come out of this, but I do worry that less than ethical marketers may use it as a prime opportunity to sling mud at competitors, much like this witty and ingenious DHL stunt (video below.) This algorithmic change will best work if two brands join forces and almost share their following.
For example, it’s Christmas and you are bought a games console. Now, it won’t be any good without games so an agreement between the console producer and game developer could be reached whereby it is beneficial for both parties to broadcast to each other’s audiences.
As a marketer it may be worth having a good think about where you stand in your particular market and work out with which product or brand you go hand in hand. Working together, you can open your product up to a whole new audience and vice versa. While it may seem a good idea to try and poach competitors’ customers, I would advise against it. This will only make your brand look desperate and catty. You may get a handful of new followers but in the long run this will only harm your brand’s integrity. As always, social media proves itself to be a space for cooperation and building relationships.