5 actions to adapt to Facebook news feed changes
Facebook have again moved the goalposts and brands must consider how to update their content strategy for 2018. We've got five actionable tips you can take to decrease the impact this update will have on your business.
Mark Zuckerberg announced this week that, once again, Facebook news feeds would favour updates from friends and family over business pages. It's not the first time that brands will lose out and see organic engagement drop on their pages, but it's a significant shift to showing more content from what Facebook calls 'meaningful connections'.
Updates to the Facebook algorithm are frequent and successful social media marketers need to react to the changes as soon as possible. However, it is possible to adapt both your marketing and social strategies and still enjoy the benefits of your Facebook page and community.
Of course, many are commenting that this shift from Facebook is again pushing companies down the advertising route, the huge revenue generator behind Facebook's business model. But there is more to this update than share prices and there is plenty you can do to continue to gain organic traffic (instead or as well as your paid strategy).
Here are five key areas you need to consider and steps you can take now to keep your business ahead of the game;
1. Research your audience
There are multiple ways you can find out who your current and target audiences are and what their interests are (outside of your brand!). This information is critical in developing your marketing and content plan, and it will pay off for your Facebook page too. Ideally create user personas to cover broad categories related to each audience type, to allow for tighter targeting.
2. Ensure your content is engaging and relevant
Just as Google favours the most useful and relevant content for users, Facebook's update follows the same pattern. Hubspot argues that the update is actually an opportunity for brands posting irrelevant, boring or misleading content to up their content game. It is certainly a reminder that quality is more important than quantity, on Facebook especially. Invest in a content plan that addresses the content needs of audiences you have identified in step 1 and ensure your brand publishes quality content to generate true engagement with them.
In addition, as Jon Loomer points out, Facebook will be prioritising person-to-person conversation and longer, thought out comments and responses. This represents a steer away from low-quality engagement and what they call 'passive content'.
3. Stop using 'engagement bait'
Leading on from this, Facebook has mentioned several times now that 'engagement bait' content such as 'like and share to win' posts are being continually demoted in the newsfeed. Although this trick was previously effective and some brands continue to use it, Facebook will penalise these posts even further in the future. Steer clear of trying to manipulate these 'false' engagement signals for a better chance of being found.
4. Facebook Live
As we predicted in our 2018 marketing trends blog, Facebook Live videos are a key tool in the social media marketer's toolkit for 2018. Facebook say that Facebook Live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos, and video is already the most popular content type. Businesses will do very well to embrace Facebook live video content and make it a core part of content strategies moving forward.
Could you set aside just one or two slots a week, at the right time for your audience, to stream some relevant and useful content? Try testing it for a few weeks and watch the uplift your page will enjoy. Just a word of caution though, as Jon Loomer recommends, don't overuse it - in most cases customers don't need to see a live video five times a day! Again, consider quality over quantity.
5. Own your community
As many have commented, channels like Facebook are just a window to target your audience, and you are somewhat at the mercy of these updates. However, it does allow you to reach more of your audience in different ways than other channels, so is still an important part of the mix. As part of your wider long-term strategy it is still important to have a master plan that seeks to direct traffic to your website and create email opt ins to your database.
What are your thoughts or concerns on the January 2018 Facebook update? Drop us a line or comment below...
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