For small businesses, Facebook fan pages were platforms for broadcasting their updates and generating leads for free. However, with the increased competition in the News Feed, the social media giant started pulling the plug on businesses. Business realized that their fans were not seeing all of their updates.
In 2014, Facebook addressed the declining organic reach. Over the years, it has continued to decline. Then, in 2018, the company announced a resurgence towards bringing people together by prioritizing “meaningful interactions.” With a focus on making the time spent by users on its platform is “well spent,” updates from friends and family would get preference.
Fast forward to 2019, and Mark announced a vision to build a “privacy-focused” social network. Does that mean the end of News Feed and public content?
Nope, not as per Mr. Zuckerberg.
As a Facebook Marketer, what do these algorithm changes (including the ones anticipated) mean? Well, here are a few strategies to make it work.
Think Of Organic Facebook Marketing As A Top Of The Funnel Strategy
Facebook wants the News Feed to inform and entertain its users. Even if you’ve 10k fans, sending out link updates to your product sales pages will only turn off your audience. You need to rethink the way you feel about Facebook organic marketing.
Show off your brand personality and take people behind the scenes of your company with a picture. Else, repurpose your blog post into a native Facebook video (using a tool like Lumen5) for consumption on Facebook itself. Essentially, organic Facebook marketing is a strategy to drive brand awareness and discovery. Get rid of those links to keep the engagement levels up on your page.
As per a 2016 Demand Generation Report:
47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
That means you need to add value to your audience and remain at the top of their minds before they consider you seriously.
Sure, occasionally, publish links to your product pages. But put them out with discount coupons because social media users loves them. Better yet, gamify the experience and run a giveaway once in a while, like the Direct to consumer brand Nectar does below.
Spark Discussions In Niche Communities
Facebook has found that groups are a way to spark meaningful discussions and intentional use of the platform. So, while, public updates from pages have seen a downfall, the engagement in Facebook groups and their visibility in News Feed has seen an uptick.
A branded Facebook page can be viewed by almost everyone. And the compromise in privacy makes many users uncomfortable in sharing their opinions openly. However, groups are often tightly knit around a central interest (or theme). They are avenues for more intimate communication.
Many businesses discount the effort it takes to nurture a community. For instance, the administrator of The Content Marketing Lounge, Nathan Collier, has blocked over 2.5k people from the group to ensure that there’s a healthy environment inside the community.
“Blocking people is like weeding a garden. It keeps the community healthy and vibrant. In most communities, there are always a few people who hog the feed and argue with just about anyone who posts. It discourages the average person from being active. If I see even a hint of that from someone in my group, I remove them. I get a much higher engagement that way since people know they’re not going to get attacked for their opinions or looked down on if they’re just starting out and have a question.”
Various other business product communities, like Create Awesome Online Courses, have laid down the rules of debarring from self-promotion in the group.
Given that Facebook groups require active moderation and considerable effort don’t consider them as an easy tool to wade through the organic reach demise. Once you’ve made up your mind, here are a few Facebook group best practices you should follow.
Get Going With One-On-One Conversations…
Messaging apps surpassed social networks way back in 2015. However, the growth of social messaging hasn’t slowed down. In its analysis of 12,500 people, Facebook found that consumers preferred communication from businesses via messages. In fact, 61% like receiving personalized messages.
You need customer service representatives to take over your Facebook inbox. However, you can use them alongside chatbots to automate and scale many manual processes. A survey of 5,000 people by LivePerson found that 38% of people felt positive about their experiences with chatbots.
Goes without saying that you need to build a bot for your business before the market gets too crowded. If that’s going to take time and more resources, meanwhile start sending your newsletter on messenger through a tool like Botletter. It will ensure that you catch on the novelty of the platform and capitalize on the super high messenger open rates.
Publish Visual And Video Content (No, You Don’t Need To Go Live Every Day…)
In their announcement of changing the algorithm, Facebook professed that live videos are great for starting a discussion on the platform. Pages that post such content will show higher in the News Feed.
“…live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
However, a study by NewsWhip (that analyzed the engagement with about 27 million web articles) found that photos and native videos dominate the top 10,000 Facebook Posts in the last year since the algorithm change. There are barely a few live videos there.
The average engagement, though, was swept by native videos.
Hence, serve an eclectic mix of photos and videos to your audience. That’s not to say that live video should be completely cut off from your strategy. Just that it doesn’t promise as earth-shaking as many marketers promise. For real-time dialogue, live videos rein supreme. NewsWhip found that they gathered a far more average number of comments than native videos.
Facebook Ads Are Only Getting Expensive From Here…
Social media platforms are incredibly sticky, and businesses are obsessed with reaching their target audience through them. Hence, the competition is turning fiercer by the day, and the organic reach of brands continues to plummet.
Indeed, social media ad spending will surpass newspapers by 2020. As more businesses jumpstart their advertising campaigns on Facebook and other mediums, you can expect the costs to skyrocket.
So start your first Facebook ad to get conversions and sales for your products today. If you’re inept with digital marketing, maybe use a virtual assistant like the Kit CRM to take over your ad campaigns. However, once you have a sufficient budget, you need to hire advertising professionals.
Facebook has an array of digital products with over a billion users that spend many hours on each of them each week. There’s a tremendous opportunity to capture the attention of your prospective customers on the platform. As more businesses keep building their presence on the platform, marketing is only going to get more challenging.
So leap today and jumpstart your strategy constituting what’s working on the platform right now. Here’s a recap of the same:
- Organic reach of businesses will decline. It calls for treating the platform (majorly) as a brand awareness platform,
- Facebook Groups are bringing back the internet’s good old community vibe. Leverage them to build a community of your raving followers,
- Build your bot and get messaging with your customers,
- Photos and native videos are great content formats to get higher engagement on your page,
- With all that said, don’t shy away from Facebook advertising because it’s only getting costlier from here.
Now, it’s your turn:
Have you got any additional tip to tackle the changing Facebook News Feed? Let me know in the comments below.
Author’s Bio: Chintan is an ROI focused content marketing consultant and currently leads the content at The Ecommerce Academy. Join him at Elite Content Marketer to learn how to grow your business through content.