Facebook is the premium marketing tool for businesses using social media, according to the latest Social Media Marketing Report from Social Media Examiner. Whilst the social site has recently changed its algorithm to ensure that its users get to see more relevant stories in their newsfeed, its use for marketing has dropped just 1% since 2014.
Whilst this has generated lots of complaints from business users and marketers, it was only a matter of time before the site put a stop to the free ride and made changes that would push marketers in the direction of its paid advertising platform. The good news is that Facebook advertising is useful and has one of the most powerful targeting systems to be found anywhere online.
More Tools for Publishers
For publishers, the site added further tools last year and Instant Articles were introduced with a view to improve the user experience by allowing selected publishers to post native articles. This feature is expected to be rolled out to smaller publishers over the course of this year. There is some concern over reduced traffic for publisher sites, but Facebook worked closely with selected publishers like Buzzfeed to ensure that this won’t happen.
Whatever the case, if you have a Facebook page, then it’s likely that you’ve seen your reach, and along with it, your level of engagement, drop. Facebook has said that organic reach will reduce as it wants to reduce the amount of ‘overly promotional’ posts in user newsfeeds.
Posts that are too promotional, have some of the following traits:
- They are purely concerned with encouraging people to buy a product or install an app
- They push people to enter competitions and promotions “with no real context”
- They use the same content from ads
So if part of your marketing strategy is to create lots of posts that encourage commenting and sharing by offering something in return, then it’s time for a rethink.
According to Hubspot, this means that,
“If Facebook Pages are an important part of your business’s Facebook strategy, 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.”
Boost Organic Reach with Notifications
However, you can implement some changes to your strategy that boost organic reach without upping your ad spend. For example, Convert with Content suggest that you should ask your followers to enable notifications for your Page.
“To get notifications on Fan page content, hover over the “Like” image on and click notifications. Once you do that, every time that page is updated you will get an instant notification. There’s nothing wrong with asking your fans to do the same for your Fan page. Again, if you have the relationship built, share awesome content and don’t over post, your fans will be happy to do this. After all, they want to see your notifications, right?” The site says.
Asking fans to take extra steps so that they can see your content is unlikely to boost reach by very much however. Understanding why people share social content will help you to craft the kind of content that your users want to share, but unless you are offering something of value to your followers, many just won’t be bothered to take the time to adjust their notification settings.
Craft Your Content
Social media users want content that they can connect with emotionally, with positive emotions being the ones that are more likely to prompt sharing. These include amusing stories and heartwarming tales, as well as posts that teach them how to do something or solve a problem.
For this reason ‘how to’ articles and list posts tend to get shared around more. This is because it’s immediately apparent from the title that the post contains something that has value to the reader. With this in mind, consider how you can craft your written content so that it appeals to your readership.
Video Usage on the Rise
Since Facebook introduced native video into the newsfeed, we’ve seen the site surpass YouTube in terms of views and engagement. With that in mind, you should – if you’ve not already – add video into your Facebook marketing strategy.
Consider how you can use video to better connect with your audience. Use buyer personas to gain a better understanding of how your followers engage with video and what they like and don’t like. Take this one step further and carry out some competitor research too.
To do this, take the following steps:
- Get together a list of competitors who produce similar written content to your own, dropping those that don’t use video.
- Check out their Facebook videos and make a note of the ones that have a high number of shares and comments.
- Compile a list of subjects that their audience loves (based on engagement)
- Decide how you can best approach one of these subjects through video.
- Write a script and a storyboard
- Make the video
Video doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make a decent video these days using a smartphone camera. However, if you’re speaking to the camera (or anyone else is), then you should invest in an internal microphone. This is also true if you’re using a camcorder or a webcam integrated into your computer as devices tend not to have a good enough audio output for video.
Make sure that you post images too and invite your fans to tell you their thoughts. These don’t necessarily have to be strictly connected to your industry, so if you have a talented photographer in the company, or in someone you know, then ask if you can share. People on social media love a good image, especially on G+. My brother is very talented and his work always gets lots more shares and comment than any other type of content I post.
According to the Social Media Examiner report, written content does remain extremely important however, although images are considered to be marginally more important. With this in mind, make sure that all content that you post:
- Relevant to your industry and followers
- Very well written, with great spelling and grammar
- Formatted to boost readability
- Contains fresh ideas and content
- Is unique and not copied from elsewhere
- Uses keywords sparingly
Google has once more changed its algorithm to reward sites that produce high quality content too, so you win on social and in search when you produce it.
Facebook reach is never going to be what it was a few years ago for brands. But you can improve it by making strategic changes. You should, ideally, add Facebook advertising into the mix where you can, even if it’s just boosting the odd post that you think might have some viral potential.
Whatever the case, it’s still widely used, with 93% of marketers stating that they use as a part of their social marketing. Whilst there may be many articles floating around on the internet that state many brands are doing away with their Page, the reality is that the numbers don’t back this up and it remains the most popular and relevant social media marketing platform.