You’ve probably heard that Facebook is making some updates in 2018. Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook back in early July to discuss the updates that users can expect to see roll out over the year. While his update was generally speaking to everyday users of Facebook (those who log on to see their friend’s and family’s pictures and updates), it threw the advertising world into disarray wondering “what does this mean for me?”
The update promised to make Facebook personal again and make it easier for users to see posts from their family and friends. If you log on to Facebook today, you’ll find that these posts are lightly dusted among a deluge of videos, articles, memes, and sponsored content. Zuckerberg plans to roll out changes that will encourage “meaningful interactions between people” and will focus on person-to-person connections rather than person-to-page. So naturally, this has brands on the defensive trying to understand how this will affect their business. This is especially true for brick and mortar companies who don’t have many ad dollars to devote to social media advertising.
A quick Google search will bring up many articles that describe specifically what these changes are and their caveats. I encourage you to take a look at these to understand the details of the changes. But when it comes down to it, the solution is simple: create meaningful content that taps into your target audience and spurs natural conversation. Now, this might sound similar to your current social media strategy, but this time around you’ll really need to get into the mind of your customers and make them want to engage.
So while this is all well and good, what does your business need to do? Well, you could talk to an agency like Site-Seeker who lives and breathes this stuff and who can help you craft a winning social media strategy amid all these changes (shameless plug). Or, you can keep reading to understand what next steps you should start taking today (this is probably a good idea anyway).
So this is going to be the meat of it. The Facebook algorithm will continue to favor content that receives a lot of engagement, but with one key difference: it will focus on “active” interactions. Active interactions include commenting, sharing, and reacting and their importance is relevant to that order.
Commenting will hold the most weight when it comes to Facebook deciding what content to show its users. If people are commenting on your post, Facebook will acknowledge it as relevant, engaging content and will show it to more people. However, don’t think you can get away with quick one-liners like “comment your favorite below” or “tag a friend who would also love this.” This is known as “engagement bait” and will be viewed unfavorably by Facebook causing your content to be pushed down. So just focus on writing posts and creating material that naturally encourages conversation. Think about why kind of content connects emotionally with your follower or helps them with a problem. Tell a story and share your values. These types of pieces will resonate personally with consumers and initiate conversations.
Sharing will also be an important factor. And just getting a lot of shares won’t do it either. The new algorithm will show the shares that spark additional engagement. Example: you post about a new product you just launched, one of your followers shares the post that proceeds to receive comments and reactions. In turn, Facebook will continue to show this post to more people as it is seen as initiating conversation and connecting users. See how it all comes around full circle there?
Lastly, and while still important, are reactions. Reactions are those “like,” “love,” “wow,” etc. options that you have when interacting with a post. While these aren’t weighted as heavily as the other two, they remain an element in Facebook’s new algorithm therefore valuable nonetheless.
The updates have caused a lot of marketers to talk about having to “pay to play” more than ever, and they’re right, advertising on Facebook is going to increase exponentially and, competition is going to grow because of that. For small businesses, this can be very intimidating as they don’t have the advertising dollars that large companies do. A tactic that will be helpful in both of these scenarios? Hyper-targeting.
Utilize Facebook’s extensive targeting features for your ads. There are many ways to get your content to the right people who will engage with it, in turn allowing it to be seen by even more people organically (no cost to you). Make sure you’re targeting the specific location and age of your desired audience. Then add in keywords and interests that pertain to this group of people. A good way to know what type of words you should be adding in here is to take a look at your influencers and take an inventory of what they post and talk about.
Another way you can target the most relevant people is by using custom audiences. Custom audiences allow you to upload customer lists from Instagram, Audience Network, and even your email database. The ad is then served to this audience. It’s a great way to re-engage with people who have already interacted with your content in the past.
There’s many other ways you can successfully target the right people, but the point is hyper-targeting will be super important so you can reach the people most likely to actively engage with your content while also coming across less competition in the advertising space.
Incorporating video into your social media marketing strategy will continue to have its place, especially since video allows brands to establish a deeper connection with their audience, but live videos will become essential this year as the algorithm changes. As Zuckerberg mentioned in his update, there is a lot more discussion and interaction around live videos rather than regular ones.
When you go live on Facebook, your followers can then interact with you in real time, asking questions, making comments, and reacting.
Because of this, in keeping with the theme of creating more meaningful conversations, live videos will be viewed more favorably by Facebook and will be shown to more people. Bonus? This is the perfect low-cost, sure-fire way to get your content seen by more people so do yourself a favor and invest some time into incorporating this into your social media strategy.
Groups are growing increasingly popular as they serve as a way for people with common interests, goals, and thoughts, and/or behaviors to come together and talk about these things. Most commonly you’ll see questions posed in groups as people know that they will usually get an answer quickly and from sources that they trust. So why couldn’t this work for your business?
For example, if you’re a local gym, you could create a group for “exercise newbies” where people can come together to exchange workout ideas and tips for overcoming intimidation at the gym. Another option could be to create a group for a 21-day fitness challenge. Your trainers can be the moderators and serve as a source of information and motivations for group members doing the challenge.
Think outside the box and ask yourself “what is important to my customers” or “how can I help solve X problem for them.” These types of questions will help you get into the mind of your core audience, build groups around these ideas, and spark conversation and collaboration.
Another way to get your content seen by more people – interact and collaborate with other brands and influencers that your followers love. This isn’t a recommendation to comment on a competitor’s post and try to bring (steal) followers to your page. Instead, find companies that are complementary to your brand and hold the same values as you do. Host a contest, a Facebook takeover, or a meet-up! Working with other brands and influencers that your customers interact with is a great way to start conversations. Is there really anything better than when your favorite coffee company teams up with your favorite cookie company (hey Dunkin’ Donuts and Girl Scouts!)? This is a great way to get people excited about your product and engaging with your content.
While the Facebook changes may seem daunting at first, it comes down to one simple thing: create quality content that is relevant, thought-provoking, and valuable to your followers. This is the recipe for success in light of Facebook’s new algorithm and, these five steps are the foundation to conquering the changes and, really, enhancing your brand as a whole.
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