All I have been hearing about is “Facebook’s Timeline Armageddon”. This always seems to come up once a year lately as Facebook changes the algorithm for their timeline. The result is that it sends marketers and businesses into complete panic. Articles (like this one) are written up warning people that “the end is near” and what they speculate will help save your engagement rates.
Some of the advice seems to be valid but some of it, well, it’s snake oil. Before we get into what works, what doesn’t and what you will likely see, let’s just take a look at the statement made by Facebook’s founded and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg on January 11, 2018.
First, after much criticism of their timeline/news manipulation *ahem* fake news, Facebook has been diligently working to disprove that they are not participating in a propaganda machine of a foreign nature. Though the damage has been done, they are working to ensure it doesn’t happen again. With approximately 67%* of Americans getting their news from social media, that’s a big deal!
Facebook now appears to be returning to its roots and become a place where people can connect and stay in touch with one another. In Zuckerberg’s exact words,
“Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.“
Now that we deciphered what Zuckerberg and Facebook have shared as their goals, here’s a few ways businesses and marketers to use that information.
1)Create engaging and thought provoking content
Shouldn’t you have been doing this anyways? If you have been posting just to post or you “cheat the system” by posting let’s say a picture of a beautiful beach and tell people to share or comment on whether or not they want to be on that beach, yet your business has nothing to do with travel, that’s not what Zuckerberg is getting at. Much like the people that share cat memes to try to boost their engagement rates (some sneaky marketing agencies do this for their less than socially savvy customers so, caveat emptor)
What’s a good example of engaging or thought provoking content then? It may be industry news or better yet, your very own subject matter experts you have in house answering a “question of the week” online or sharing a “how to” Facebook live video.
If your employees are out in the community volunteering or if you’re enjoying a lunch together, these are all wins for content. People love to see faces they recognize which help humanize you brand and it’s even better if they are smiling and enjoying themselves. Customers want to do business with organizations that can show they take good care of their employees and their community.
Remember that social media is the biggest and most inexpensive focus group you can get so don’t be afraid to ask for their opinions or help with your content.
2) All about the video!
We have heard that 2017 was the year of the video for marketing, but 2018 is moreso than ever. Consider adding video to your content marketing strategy. A good mix of professionally done videos, Facebook live stream videos and short videos will help.
3) Pay up!
Want to get your posts seen by your followers – you gotta pay up. Social media is free to get started but if you want to stay in the game, it’s not free by any means. Of course, make sure you’re putting money behind good quality content that a has a call to action and somewhere to next. You don’t want to have someone read a post and go “ok that’s nice” and keep scrolling. You want them to click on the link, complete the form, RSVP to your event, share your post, comment, whatever. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money.
My two recommendations are to pay for ad campaigns and boost posts that perform exceptionally well over others.
4) Engage your employees and brand ambassadors
There are moments where we have really big announcements or we want to drive traffic. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees and business partners to help you out by sharing. My only warning on this is to use this one sparingly. If you keep sending posts for people to share, eventually they will tire of it and stop altogether. Send the really important ones AND don’t ever forget to thank them for sharing their influence with your brand.
5) Use stories and other channels
Remember Facebook isn’t the only social media platform out there. Don’t neglect your other channels and certainly take a look to see if they can benefit your business. Instagram is a HOT channel right now, especially for Instagram stories, which you can also share to your Facebook stories feed in just a click!
These are only predictions but I do see a few of these things occuring in the future for social media and brands.
- Instagram will change too. We have already seen that they changed their algorithm and I’m sure some of that will affect Instagram stories in the future too. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, it’s likely that they will do something similar.
- Other social platforms will follow Facebook. We have seen this happen before and it will happen again.
- Paid Ad prices will increase as the competition grows.
Remember, don’t take the shortcuts, like trying to create a personal page on Facebook for your brand or posting … well garbage.
Let’s all do our part to make social media a positive thing and share engaging, thought provoking and entertaining content.
One final piece of advice from one of my favorite people to follow, Carlos Gil:
*According to the recent New Use survey by Pew Research Center. http://www.journalism.org/2017/09/07/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2017/