Brands have no choice but to turn and face the (not so) strange Facebook News Feed algorithm changes announced mid-January. Described by Mark Zuckerberg more or less as a rebalancing act geared toward providing users—meaning actual people (FB’s original target audience)—with a News Feed that encourages meaningful interaction within his or her circle.
“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” –Zuck
What the heck does “meaningful” mean to Facebook? For the most part, convos. The most meaningful posts engage a user enough to want to comment or share the content.
As a result of the change, users have started seeing more posts from family, friends and groups or communities they intentionally connected with and less posts from pages.
And robotic posting just bit a bunch of brands in the bum. However, brands that had been giving it a real go took a hit too. Post-change, the vast majority of brands are seeing huge decreases in their reach.
This doesn’t mean you should abandon ship; as long as there are two billion people using Facebook, there will be value for businesses and organizations. You just have to figure how out you fit in with this newsfeed shift. Try these ideas to start with.
Being genuine—always leading with your brand’s purpose—is now much more than a good marketing agency, intern or board member recommendation; it’s basically a requirement by Facebook.
- Create OG (original, genuine) content that reps your brand’s purpose and adds value to the lives of people in your target audience.
- Share well-made content that taps into the above point as much as possible.
- Always post quality over quantity.
Take a whiff if you want, but you can smell a phony post just by lookin’ at it. And so can the people you want to engage with.
- Stop with the hyper-exaggerated or overly-mysterious clickbait headlines.
- Don’t just share to look like you’re alive. If it’s not reputable and relevant to your audience, it’s best to swipe left.
- Avoid straight up asking someone to “COMMENT, LIKE and RESHARE.” Your posts should ignite that reaction naturally.
Things like being timely and transparent, using an authentic voice and tone, appropriately tagging other pages and directly linking people the quality info promised in your post is still important too.
PAY TO PLAY
Not all good things in life are free. Brands that haven’t incorporated paid social into their strategy may need to consider doing so if they want to see results on Facebook (and other platforms). The upside is that by doing this, you’ll be able to better target your specific audience.
With Facebook’s features, that is. If you’re not utilizing these aspects of Facebook, consider doing so.
- Users can still choose “See First” in their News Feed preferences to make sure they’ll always see posts from their favorite pages, so show your Facebook followers how to see your content first.
- Do it live! Facebook Live is a feature that not many organizations use, but on average, live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos. You could do a live conversation weekly to try to engage your followers and get them involved in a discussion with you. It doesn’t have to be polished—just relevant and consistent in order to gain traction.
- Facebook has hinted about all the different uses of a group over the past year, so look into creating one. The difference between your brand page and a group: Content you share on your page has the opportunity to show up in the News Feeds of everyone who’s following you, whereas updates from your group will only show up in the News Feeds of those who’ve joined. Make sure they work in tandem. Actively promote your group to your followers, encouraging them to join so they participate in the discussion and keep up with what’s new in your organization. Once you have an active group, just be leery of self-promotion. A group is for engagement and conversation, not for soliciting.
INVEST IN OTHER CHANNELS
Facebook is not the only solution to a successful social media marketing strategy. It may be the most popular social network, but it may not be where your audience is, or you may find that you can create more engagement on Twitter or Instagram. If you target millennials, Snapchat’s new design has made brands more prominent, so you might want to check that out as well. Start testing where your audience is and experiment with different content ideas. Definitely don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket—the new algorithm is not in your favor that way.
Most brands’ bottom line takeaway: It’s time to take a long hard look at your social strategy and make some ch-ch-changes.
Not sure where to start? Say email@example.com to get some expert assistance, or if you’re an NPO, check out our social media marketing for nonprofits.