This month Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has announced sweeping changes to Facebook feeds so that users see less professionally generated content, and ‘’more from [your] friends, family and groups’’ .
For individuals tired of seeing sponsored content on their News Feed this may sound like a great plan, but on the other side of the fence, brands and content creators are concerned about how this is going to impact on their metrics - in particular engagement and click-through rates. With organic reach hitting rock bottom for many, could this be an opportunity for clever marketers to innovate and pull out all the stops to find more creative ways of sharing their message?
In this article Emma Easter, digital marketer and social media consultant at Abu Dhabi based marketing consultancy eWavelength, shares some useful suggestions for marketing and social media professionals considering how to respond to the ever-increasing challenge of maintaining engagement with their customer base on Facebook.
1. Back to basics
We’re all coming at this issue with different levels of experience, but on occasion it’s helpful to have a refresher on a few marketing essentials. If engagement has dropped off a little lately, are you completely sure it can all be blamed on Facebook algorithms? It’s a good time to revisit your social media strategy and make sure that you’re still targeting the right people in the right way. Check that your social media and marketing strategies are in alignment, and that your buyer personas are up to date and reflect your target segment.
2. Content, content, content!
Although marketers are now going to have to work a little harder to get their content onto potential customers’ News Feed, the old rules for generating engagement still apply.
Make sure your content is high quality and genuinely interesting
Make sure you’re addressing the issues that matter most to your target market; if you’re not, why would they Like or Share your posts?
Make it eye catching – images grab people’s attention, and photos attract up to 53% more likes than text alone.
Make it easy to find. Use relevant hashtags to help people filter the content they really want to see.
Use Facebook Insights to evaluate the content that’s working – and make more of it!
3. Listen to Facebook
The more astute amongst you can’t fail to have noticed that Facebook has been dropping not-so-subtle hints on how to engage with your customer base; are you listening? (Screenshot) Although Groups seem like an obvious route forward, let’s not overlook a few other simple but effective things you can do, quickly, so that more people see more of you:
Don’t be shy; be sure to invite everyone who likes a post on your Page to like the Page itself. Let your followers know how to ‘see your content first’ and ask them to invite friends who they think will like your content to join your Group or like your Page. Ask them to like your post!
Use Facebook Live to ‘disrupt’ your followers Facebook browsing experience. Pick a theme, create some discussion, throw out a few questions, let your followers talk to you and each other – build a sense of community around your brand
Make the most of all the targeting options open to you when you create your Facebook Ads. The more relevant your message is to an audience, the more likely they are to like or react to it; these are key factors which help Facebook decide if your content should feature higher on the News Feed.
‘’The more frequently your followers engage with your content, the more likely they are to see posts from you in the future’’.
4. Become a video virtuoso
With over half a BILLION people watching videos on Facebook alone each day, video is expected to form over 80% of all internet traffic by the time we hit the ‘20’s (Forbes), and with average viewers remembering 95% of a message they watch compared to only 10% if they read it, is one of the most engaged-with forms of content on Facebook. The message is more video, more often. You don’t have to spend thousands on professional quality videos; if Facebook Live isn’t for you, then there’s loads of free and easy to use video editing software out there, or check out free animated video creation software like Powtoon for a quick and easy animation that’s highly watchable.
5. "More from family, friends and groups"
With Facebook dropping a big hint here, don’t be surprised to see a proliferation of groups popping up on a screen near you as marketers look at new ways of getting their content in front of people who are already interested in their brand or market.
Although this will require more manpower, as somebody needs to be there managing (and policing) these new online communities, the big selling point is that it’ll also allow you to identify those individuals who love your product or service, find out more about them (which will help you refine your content), and identify which might have the potential to become micro-influencers for your brand, thereby helping to push your content onto other people’s News Feeds. Don’t forget to use your Facebook Insights to find out:
Who is writing posts that get the most views, likes and replies
Who your most frequent contributors are
What time of day they’re most active
Then start looking at how you can get these people more involved in sharing your brand message.
6. The Happy Customer
If you’ve been doing things right, you probably already have in your marketing arsenal one of the best advocacy tools ever; the Happy Customer! People are 16 times more likely to read a post about a brand from a friend than they are from the brand itself.
Give your customers an opportunity to connect meaningfully with one another, and not only will they help spread positive messages about your brand, but by encouraging ‘meaningful interactions between people’ your content is likely to feature higher on their News Feeds. (Of course, the converse is also true; but that’s probably a topic for another day!)
7. Not forgetting happy staff!
Brand messages shared by employees are estimated to reach 561% further than if shared by the brand itself on its corporate account, and even the smallest of businesses can benefit from building a culture where employees are its biggest advocates.
With employee advocacy platforms like Hootsuite Amplify or Bambu by SproutSocial already existing to help bring carefully curated, ready-to-share content straight to their inbox, your loyal employees become micro-influencers for your brand, and by sharing your message for you, can:
Bring fresh talent to the company by sharing job vacancies
Share ‘good news’ stories such as awards, charity donations, company milestones
Promote product innovation, events, and other key corporate messages
Drive new traffic to your website or Facebook Page.
So maybe if you set yourself just one single goal for 2018, this should be it?
In finishing, it’s important to take a step back from the current Facebook hubbub, and look at the bigger picture; despite the marketing landscape becoming ever more challenging, there is still plenty that the proactive marketer can do to maintain and even grow Facebook engagement.
eWavelength www.ewavelength.com is a marketing consultancy based in Abu Dhabi and London offering support with strategic marketing and social media, driving customers, digital marketing training and website and mobile design. For more information on and to find out how the eWavelength team can help you grow your business in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the UAE, please contact Emma Easter firstname.lastname@example.org.