A few takes to hopefully provide some equilibrium from the latest Facebook announcement.
Facebook has been making changes consistently over the years. This is merely the latest. And it’s very unlikely that it will be the last from them. Because now that Facebook has virtually saturated the market, they are looking to increase relevant content to make time spent on their platform more meaningful. And, yes, to continue to increase their revenue. Remember? They are a publicly traded company. Increasing revenue will always be a goal for Facebook.
So, what to take from their announcement?
Don’t seek those who promise algorithm tricks or ‘silver bullet’ answers. Because Facebook has and continues to tweak their platform, even if there was a way to beat their program today, it is unlikely to be sustainable even in a short-term period.
Rather than looking at Facebook as the adversary, consider how to work with their platform. GRM applauds the emphasis on content that will be shared and commented. We have long promoted engagement as a key to building an effective social media program. As with any content or media provider, Facebook wants more relevant and more watched content, especially video.
Facebook changes impact both business and personal pages. So, the idea that you can flip to a personal page and avoid the changes is not the case. Further, Facebook limits the followers to a personal page, which is not the case for a business page.
Facebook has not defined how they will prioritize business and news posts into the news feed. “Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content,” said Facebook on 1/11/18. GRM will create a post to advise followers how to set up our clients in their preferences to ensure they see posts:
Facebook will prioritize content that generates comments. Within the arena of engagement, comments will now be the gold standard of currency on Facebook. Not likes, shares, or clicks. Comments. When people comment, they typically have been drawn into responding to the community in a more emotive manner. Which means, we want to create content that is fun, interesting, provocative, exciting. Content that is distinctive!
Understanding your audience remains a critical key to success. What do people in your community find interesting and engaging? Ideally, real conversations are created. Within brand voice, remain empathetic, hospitable and a good listener. As with any communications, think first how you would receive it if you were the audience. Use positive and encouraging verbiage as Facebook has been rewarding this for a while.
Live video remains valuable, but only if we are asking engaging questions and people are interacting with it. Otherwise, regardless of format (non-live video, photo, posts), one won’t be favored over the other.
Frequency will not be rewarded. Templated plans that are focused on X posts per day or week will not be successful. Have a reason behind every post (or response). Do not post to check the box that you shared something to Facebook. Instead, be intentional, strategic, and relevant with what you post.
Ads will be more important to generate reach, but they will not overcome lack of well-crafted content. Yes, Facebook is increasingly a ‘pay to play’ platform. But throwing more money behind ads or poorly performing posts shouldn’t be your default solution.
Don’t rely exclusively on Facebook to solve your marketing needs. A social media mix is in order … if for no other reason than to meet your community where they are most engaged. Social media is logically an extension of other marketing actions. Social extends the virtual conversation – allowing feedback, discussion and peer-to-peer interaction – that traditional media does not provide.
The bottom line: Facebook wants people to be social on social media.