This article first appeared as Anthony Bullick’s column in the Daily Post business section on 6 June 2018.

Facebook’s latest algorithm change, prioritising posts by friends and family, makes it even more difficult for businesses to place their content in people’s news feeds.

Companies have reported significant drops in views, engagement, and referral traffic, people clicking through to their website from the social media platform, since 2016.

Organisations may well begin to ask the question: is Facebook really worth it?

The first step, actually, is to not produce content. Instead, carry out market research to truly understand the people that mean the most to you. What is important to them? What needs can you solve?

Consider paying to play. Carried out strategically and based on data, boosting posts, and the advertising cost doesn’t have to eat into huge portions of your budget, can yield strong results. The key is taking time to review your analytics to grasp what your audience wants to see from you and in what format.

It should go without saying that whatever the output, it should be high quality. It is believed that Facebook’s big focus on ranking content in 2018 will be engagement, specifically comments and shares. But take note, the platform will demote posts that are considered ‘comment bait’ where brands ask people to tag their friends or comment for no particular reason.

Allowing yourself to be reactive is crucial. Publishing content based on topical matters that are connected emotionally to your audience will result in the type of natural engagement Facebook loves.

Utilise tools offered by Facebook. It’s well known that the platform rewards pages that embrace its features, especially the new ones. For example, businesses which have used live video have noticed sizeable increases in key performance indicators such as reach.

Finally, avoid creating content just for Facebook. Remember that it has already caused a significant reduction in results for brands.

The likes of blog posts, videos, infographics, e-books, and news articles have value across all channels that are consumed by your stakeholders. Focusing on creating evergreen content, which has a long shelf life, that can be distributed in multiple ways will build trust. In turn, people will view you as a credible source and will search for you, either on social media or in search engines.