Does Your Heavy Truck Dealership Understand the new Facebook Algorithm?
Marketers know that algorithms make the world go round when it comes to what people see on platforms such as Google and Facebook. Facebook has been making quite a few changes lately, and one introduced in January directly affects your heavy duty truck dealership. What changed? The content users will see in their News Feed.
Specifically, Facebook will be limiting posts from businesses in the News Feed, in an effort to encourage more personal interactions. The upshot is that you won’t be able to target desirable audience segments such as owner-operators, truck fleets, etc. as you could up till now.
Why is Facebook switching gears now?
Here’s what Facebook’s chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to say in his post announcing the algorithm change:
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people. We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”
Implications for your heavy duty truck dealership
As Zuckerberg hints, the algorithm change is just one of multiple changes planned to make Facebook more “people-centric.” In essence they are looking back to their beginnings to determine their future focus. Since Facebook doesn’t consider businesses such as your dealership “people,” you’ll take a back seat from now on when it comes to targeting your posts. You might argue differently – after all, your posts are directed at people, right? But it is what it is.
Facebook itself hasn’t been very clear on how they expect their realignment of the News Feed algorithm to play out. And it’s been just a few short months since this significant change was launched, so the fallout is still to be detected, but it’s safe to assume you’ll need to re-think your Facebook marketing strategy. The key is to examine the new reality with an eye toward making it work.
What can you do?
Start by re-committing yourself to the obvious: high quality content. You will be rewarded, says Adam Moseri. He is the Facebook vice president who oversees the News Feed.
Moseri says under the new algorithm, “Content that generally gets — that facilitates or inspires more meaningful conversation or meaningful interactions between people will get more distribution.” Toward that end, Facebook gives comments more weight than Likes. In doing that, they have taught the new algorithm to seek out and give preference to content that garners comments and shares.
You won’t have the reach you used to achieve via the News Feed, but you can work to start more – and more meaningful – conversations among your audience groups. That requires quality content. This has been a hallmark of successful inbound marketing for a long time now, and the focus on producing content that is relevant and valuable is unlikely to change – on Facebook or anywhere else.
Consider paid advertising
By taking away much of your ability to reach prospects and customers via the News Feed, Facebook may hope to sell more ads instead. That would be a revenue boon for them (advertising already accounts for 98% of the company’s income), but would it be smart for your marketing strategy? Maybe.
The truth is, Facebook’s organic reach has been on a downward trend for quite some time. Many businesses have taken note of that and reduced their reliance on Facebook as an organic marketing option. But Facebook remains a favorite among heavy duty truck operators and fleet managers, so abandoning the platform doesn’t make sense. Advertising keeps you in the game, with a fresh approach and a chance to potentially reach new targets.
For example, Facebook custom audiences enable you to target the same groups you’ve always targeted, and with the right design, your ads can reach out to “lookalike” audiences as well. You can build your ad around a photo or other image, a slideshow, or video. You can target only mobile users, if you want. It’s worth looking into, even if you decide paid Facebook advertising is not for your dealership right now.
You can’t change the changes Facebook is making, but you can realign your marketing to take advantage of opportunities that are still available on the platform, to reach out to “your people” and engage them conversations that keep your name top of mind. And isn’t that the point?