Why you need to revisit your Facebook strategy, STAT.
At the beginning of 2018 Facebook unleashed a major change to the News Feed algorithm that’ll not only affect the content you see during your daily scroll, but when and how often your business gets screen-time with your followers.
Facebook’s serving up:
− Less viral video and public content
− Less click, tag, comment, share and engagement bait
− Less content from brands, publishers and media (woe be us!)
+ More posts and activity from friends and family
+ More comment-heavy content
+ More posts asking for help, advice and recommendations
Conversations are the new black. Get dressed.
Why is this happening?
That’s really it. Conveniently, the changes also work for:
- Facebook gearing up to become a television destination
- A further step in eradicating fake news [insert Donald Trump Meme here]
- An attempt to deal with diminishing ad inventory in the mobile news feed
- Dealing with limited News Feed real-estate
So how does it work?
The News Feed algorithm is a complex beast. It’s a machine-learning model built around hundreds and thousands of signals, predictions and inventory that help give each and every post a “relevance score” and corresponding place on your News Feed. Your feed will be curated to serve you more content that you will be predisposed to actively engage with, instead of lurking, passively scrolling or clicking offsite. Smart, huh? The announcement stated that:
“We will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.” – Facebook
How does this affect my business?
Good news or bad news first?
The bad: Your page may see a (further) drop in organic reach, video watch time and referral traffic. You can no longer rely on Facebook for traffic. With reduced reach, other metrics of engagement like link clicks, comments, shares and reactions are also likely to suffer. Life’s a box of chocolates, eh?
More bad: If you operate your Facebook page with the primary goal of driving link clicks back to your website, then it’s time to pivot your strategy to encompass conversation and engagement.
The good news? If you’re serving up delicious mounds of quality, targeted content, you’ll hardly notice a difference! Win!
What do I need to do?
Fear not. Here are our recommendations for thriving amid uncharted Facebook waters:
- Tell Stories: Quality content always comes out trumps. Get meaningful, authentic, accurate and informative. Lose the sensational clickbait headings – they aren’t welcome ‘round these parts. Take your low-quality web page experiences and make them beautifully responsive and user-friendly.
- Keep an eye on the data. Pay close attention to what Facebook Insights are telling you. What kinds of posts typically garner a lot of comments among your fans? Do more of those. What time are your fans most active? Post more then. You get the picture.
- Get to know your audience on a deeper level. What makes them tick? What do they want to hear and what do they want to share? A deep understanding of your audience will go a long way when you’re trying to strike up a conversation. Time to brush up those personas!
- Revise your strategy, if you need to. If your Facebook strategy was primarily focused on link clicks, now might be the time to rethink Facebook’s role in your marketing mix. Perhaps boosted content can drive clicks while organic content can focus on generating conversation.
- Generate valuable conversations for your brand. Because no one likes small talk. Just because you’re generating conversations, if it’s not a conversation that brings something to the table, it’s not worth the effort. If you’re a destination that’s all about planning vacations, get people talking about where they’re going next, their favourite attractions or their best travel tips and tricks. But remember, it’s a two-way street. You’re community management time has just tripled. Cheers, Facebook.
- Don’t try to game the system. Facebook is all about authenticity and if it believes your content is baiting users in any way (clicking, voting, reacting, sharing, tagging, commenting), it will demote your post and ensure next to no one sees it.
Who knows, this could be the year you nail your email marketing?
Changes like this are a wee reminder that you don’t have complete autonomy and control over Facebook page and following. The visibility and termination of your business’ presence are at Facebook’s discretion, meaning you may like to take some of your marketing eggs and put them in a few more baskets. We’re digging e-marketing.
The benefits of email marketing:
- Know and directly address who you’re talking to
- Know they’ll receive your email (assuming it doesn’t get marked as spam)
- Customise your design
- Tailor your messaging
- Serve up personalised content based on known preferences and bahaviour
It’s not a replacement for Facebook—and Facebook isn’t a replacement for it. Think about how you can integrate both to your advantage. Consider driving Facebook users to sign up for your e-newsletter (Facebook forms, anyone?), and encouraging your e-newsletter subscribers to check out your latest Facebook content.
Extra for experts
- Increase your touch-points. Worried about reach? Think about how Facebook Groups could benefit your brand and build your community – Facebook is favouring them. Use Events – especially if you’re a local business. See what other social channels could work alongside Facebook to reach your target market.
- Pay-to-play. Dark page posts and sponsored boosts remain unchanged – but we reckon playtime just got more competitive and expensive. Stay agile, folks.
- Go Live. Facebook’s Adam Mosseri called out video as “passive in nature” and a victim to the update. Facebook Live though? You’re good to go. In fact, Live content gets 6x the interactions of regular videos. You’re welcome.
- Get seen first. Simply ask your loyal fans to adjust their settings to see your content at the top of their News Feeds. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Stay safe out there!
For more help adjusting to Facebook’s changes, get in touch with our social media strategist, Julie.
Article by Julie Sur and Claire McCallum
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