There’s no question that Facebook has changed our lives. Whether it was an inspired vision, deft execution, a bit of dumb luck or a combination of all three, ten years and 1.2 billion users later Mark Zuckerberg’s social juggernaut has ingrained itself into the daily lives of digital-age users in a way that forebears like MySpace and contemporaries like Twitter could only imagine. Facebook’s success is that they are always looking to improve which means constant change.
There have been many changes in Facebook this year. Change is one of the reasons that Facebook continues to be the driving force in most modern marketing plans and the unquestionable driver of social media venues. If you have been trying to figure out why your numbers for Facebook have been going down, there are some very tangible reasons.
Earlier this year, Facebook said as part of an ongoing survey, they asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People surveyed said they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content. Here are some of the traits that Facebook says their research exposed in organic posts that feel too promotional:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
While this is probably true, there is no doubt that one of the byproducts of this change is to drive more Facebook advertising. Gaining organic growth and more “likes” is more difficult now than ever. This change means that you will need to use Facebook ads to get the same engagement on organic posts that promote your products and services. If Facebook is a mainstay in your marketing mix, and whose isn’t these days, there are some things you can do to be more effective.
Content Still Drives Views. Constantly review your Facebook marketing strategy with special emphasis on creating content that will actually be seen on Facebook. Remember to think about content as a user and tailor the content on what you believe your specific audience wants to see, learn from, share and ultimately engage with your brand.
Do The Work. I am quite sure you wouldn’t place any other type of advertising or promotional message without laying out exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Just like the rest of your promotions, use a social media content calendar to organize posts on Facebook on a weekly or monthly basis.
Understand The Technology. Use the correct link format when posting links on your Facebook page instead of burying links in photo captions. The correct link format shows some additional information associated with the link, such as the beginning of the article, which makes it easier for someone to decide if they want to read more. This format also makes it easier for someone to click through on mobile devices, which have a smaller screen.
A Mix Makes A Better Batter. It’s funny that you are sitting alone at your computer and doing something called “social.” But the success of social or emerging media simply means a vehicle for reaching more people quickly and efficiently. Getting your content on social media helps support your message and adds to your authority. If you are not already doing it, post images and especially videos on Instagram and then cross post on Facebook to increase the exposure of your message. (Generating unique content around each social media platform is almost always preferable to cross-posting. But in the early stages of entry onto a new platform, this cross-posting strategy allows a way to easily supplement that new platform’s content and even provide it with some initial exposure.)
There’s Always a Test. As noted above, contests used to be traffic drivers but that tide is going out. Don’t forget to conduct a Facebook posting test to see what kind of posts get the most engagement. For example, many of Hootsuite’s users are social media managers and small business owners. Instead of posting more general stuff like “Happy Thanksgiving!” they post content that contains valuable advice related to the occasion, such as: “Did you know that during Thanksgiving small businesses can increase sales by doing this…”
Ultimately, Facebook users have more control over what they see in the News Feed than you may think. Think like your audience and how they use Facebook. The best way to ensure you see what you care about is to engage with the posts you like best (Like, comment, or share them) and hide the ones you don’t. Here are some of the basics of all Facebook campaigns that are many times forgotten.
Know Your Audience. You will never be successful in a social marketing campaign if you shotgun your approach. The beauty of the Internet is the data available to you so you can pinpoint who you want to engage.
Drive Original Content. If you use stock photos or content, your posts will be passed over. The key is to find compelling photos and videos that represent your brand’s unique persona and voice.
Winners Keep Score. I love the old saying “I know half of my marketing works. I just don’t know which half.” If you don’t establish metrics and ROI goals in the beginning and then monitor, there is no reason to market at all.
The exciting part about being a marketer today is that change is not only constant, it is necessary. By understanding the changes and making adjustments to your social media plans you can make it rain without draining your reserves.