facebook_algorithm_changeIf you have a Facebook page for your restaurant or business, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the changes that are getting rolled out over the next few months.

In January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced upcoming changes to handle the way content appears on news feeds. These changes would define what users see, and with what frequency. What this means is that posts from your brand will show up less and less on users’ feeds.

The changes are meant to increase user activity with the platform. Rather than showing than content put out by brands, media companies, and publishers, Facebook wants to put the power back into the hands of users, rather than content publishers.

How Facebook marketing used to work for restaurants

In the early days, it was all about the number of likes you had. Surely, that was an important indicator of legitimacy, and meant the more the likes, the more the customers. Facebook later told us that having a verified page was a critical visibility factor, and that your business may not be easily found if you did not take the steps to verify your listing. “Likes” became less important as users then became focused on online reviews, the response rate by which you could answer questions about your business, and your ability to carry out customer service. Good reviews became increasingly important, and since you couldn’t delete them, your users paid close attention to how you handled them.

>> Related post: The delicate art of responding to customer complaints

Coupled with this, Facebook showed preference to publishers that created short, catchy, and engaging forms of content. Often, this took shape in the restaurant industry as “snackable” videos – short videos of branded content that enticed users to learn more.

While maintaining customer service on your social media channel, and creating valuable content are still very important to maintain for your brand, Facebook is now focusing on bringing people together to share and watch content together, and bring the “social” back to social media.

So… what does the new Facebook news feed algorithm mean for your restaurant now?

More than ever before, engaging content is only as valuable as it brings people together, and makes people want to share it with their family, friends, and colleagues. Here are some immediate effects of the change:

  • People will spend less time on Facebook
  • People will see fewer posts by brands, including your restaurant
  • You have a narrower window of opportunity to be seen by your followers (because Facebook will display your content even less frequently)
  • Influencers will have a bigger impact on your social media visibility than ever before

Why did Facebook do this?!?

Facebook has done some soul-searching and wants to improve users’ lives, and expose them to fewer divergent views, opportunities to argue, or passively consume content.

If you think about it, the move totally makes sense. Think of all those hours you’ve spent on your phone, mindlessly scrolling through your feed, clicking through cat videos and quizzes about what Game of Thrones character you are, and other types of content from publishers, rather than engaging with friends and family. While Facebook has been decreasing the organic reach of content published by companies and brands, that’s made the platform increasingly pay-to-play, with publishers dishing out advertising spend just to get in front of the very people they wish to target.

Facebook used to be about the people; but in recent days, has been criticized for being a platform for dividing people, spreading “fake news,” and becoming an ad platform. This move is an attempt to cut through that and restore the sense of community and social engagement that the company started out pursuing.

How can I make sure my audience still sees my content?

Don’t panic; these changes may seem drastic, but they could help your restaurant’s position in the Facebook community. Doing this will motivate brands and companies only produce high-quality, highly-sharable, highly-social content. Here are two ways that restaurants can start planning their Facebook marketing strategy to rise above their competitors.

Watch Party

Rolling out with this change is a new product called “Watch Party,” a feature that will let groups of Facebook users watch a video at the same time.

Restaurants should certainly take advantage of this feature, which is different from live videos but is inspired by the video feature. Facebook said that live videos create six times more interactions than regular, non-live videos, and the reason for this is because people watch them together. When users are watching the same video, no matter where they are and are commenting, liking, and engaging with it, it creates a community.

Host an event, reveal news, or feature other exciting content that is so awesome, your restaurant fans will want to watch it together and share it with their friends. Make users want to visit you after seeing you announce a special new holiday special, a limited-time offer, or another promotion at your venue.

Influencer marketing

If you haven’t found local influencers in your community, you haven’t tapped into one of social media marketing’s most valuable resource. Influencers are tastemakers; people who have trusted followers and can endorse and enhance the reputation of brands by standing behind them.

With the newsfeed algorithm change, influencers will get a boost in value because they not only are engaging content producers, but because their content is user-generated, and their fans are authentic. Facebook is giving the opportunity for influencers to double down on this opportunity, and so should your restaurant.

Having an influencer outreach strategy is of vital importance, and coupled with an engaging content calendar, can massively improve your online visibility and help your brand stand out amongst a sea of competitors who are now racing for finite space on the social media platform.

How can I use Facebook marketing for my restaurant?

As a restaurant owner, you know how important it is for your patrons to visit your establishment with their friends, family, their tribe, and to connect and build experiences there. From here on out, your social media strategy has to reflect the same values of personalization to survive the new ecosystem.

To learn more about social media marketing for your restaurant, contact us today!