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Facebook’s shifting algorithms and the importance of owning your own lists

Over the last month, since Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s meaningful interactions update, brands have been trying to find a way to keep their stories in follower feeds.

Although Facebook may not have intended to cause panic, the thought of losing hard-earned followers has had many marketers wondering how to avoid getting lost in a sea of family news and group updates. Those who have invested in cross channel marketing strategies will likely not have too much to worry about, but those that have not diversified traffic will definitely feel the pinch.

One thing that the latest algorithm update has brought home, however is the importance of owning your own lists. Social media updates are about as unavoidable as Google algorithm changes.

Platforms such as Facebook are constantly changing as well. It is impossible to know whether you will still have a presence in five years, or even if social media as we know it today will exist a few years down the line. While you have no control over external platforms, you do at least have control over one thing: your lists.

Owning your own lists is key to your survival.

If every social media channel had to crash tomorrow, how would you reach your audience? As huge as your Facebook following may be right now, it is Facebook that owns your audience. Every DM, share, comment and like helps you gain social proof, but it is limited only to your reach on that specific channel.

Social media updates from Facebook and the like are about as unavoidable as Google algorithm changes

When you have an email marketing plan in place as well, you have full control over your audience, which means that you can reach them at any given time, without having to rely on Facebook keeping your updates in your audience’s feeds. Cross channel marketing helps you survive updates like these.

The sites that have been affected by the latest update the most include a number of news sites that have a high level of traffic from social media. Sites such as Vice, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Mashable noticed a dip in traffic, according to a recent Forbes report. Publishers that had begun to diversify their traffic sources were able to reclaim the lost traffic from other sources, but those that rely largely on Facebook have been pushed to the back of the proverbial queue.

An integrated approach is effective for branding too, but that’s not to say that you should forget about Facebook and focus on other channels.

Engagement is key to staying in your audiences’ feeds. But, while you are actively working on creating meaning, relevant, engaging content that does not include any baiting or other dodgy practices, focus your efforts on growing other channels as well. Truly effective lead nurturing requires a fully integrated, comprehensive strategy that is personalised and targeted.

When you put your effort into creating a seamless brand experience, you will start to see a difference across all of your channels. In this way, algorithm updates can actually be a valuable tool that helps you refine and perfect your strategies in a way that drives conversion. Keep control of your own lists, fine-tune your strategies regularly, continue to engage, and you will soon see the power of a unified brand.

Feature image: Facebook

Author | Anton Koekemoer

Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I translate business objectives into comprehensive initiatives that focus on humanising brand identity while maximising measurable business results. More

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