Using Facebook Promotion to Effectively Reach Your Audience
It’s almost impossible to get away from it – Facebook has been in the news a lot recently, due to revelations that data from the social media site was harvested and used by Cambridge Analytica, and potentially played a role in influencing elections.
Facebook has responded quickly, with CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg taking blame, and heading to Capitol Hill for questioning by the House and Senate.
As part of the response to this situation, Facebook has unrolled a number of changes, and if you’re a business owner the question on the top of your mind is likely “how do these changes affect my business page, and my ability to use Facebook for my business goals?”
What happened exactly?
On January 11th, of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm, and prioritizing content from “friends, family and groups.”
Along with user information being compromised, the prevalence of “fake news” had become an increasingly problematic issue for Facebook.
With this fact in mind, the reality is that media sites will take the biggest hit from the changes put into place. Sites like Vice, Mashable, and BuzzFeed, which rely on sensational headlines (or “clickbait”), and often fuzzy notions of “truth,” are directly under target by Facebook’s changed algorithm.
Overall, for the majority of businesses, it does mean that they’ll most likely see a significant decrease in organic reach. The good news, if it can be considered that, is that it affects all businesses outside the realm of media sites more or less equally, so the playing field is still level for those who want to rise to the top of it.
With these changes and the fact that more changes are likely on the horizon, come a couple of pertinent lessons.
1) Don’t put all your social media eggs in one basket
Because Facebook’s algorithm has changed, and will change again, it is best to use Facebook, but not rely exclusively on it. As experts have pointed out, don’t build your business exclusively on Facebook’s platform, but instead use their platform for your business.
For this reason, it is critically important to diversify! Expand your presence to Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or pick at least 1 or 2 other platforms where you can give yourself more leverage when the inevitable changes come, to thin out the possibility that one platforms changes can put a huge dent in your current business.
To stay relevant across multiple platforms will not actually take much more work. The key is to slightly alter content while staying creative and platform-relevant. This will also allow you to reach different users and audience bases, with the additional benefit of more closely connecting with loyal social media users who follow you across multiple platforms.
2) Take the Lean Startup methodology – Be built for and ready for change
In the same spirit as diversifying, it is best for businesses to anticipate constant change and flux in the Facebook environment.
Rather than getting too comfortable with any one strategy, businesses should take a page from the Lean Startup ethos, and always be ready to change and adapt. In fact, success will go to those who are most nimble and flexible, not to those who totally master promoting their business within the context of these current algorithm changes, because the second they do, it may all be a thing of the past anyways.
Remember, for a brief moment it seemed like Myspace was “the” thing, and people strategized and placed all of their hopes there as well, but in the digital world these types of plans are still as illusory as ever, no matter how big the current top dog appears to be.
3) Continue your current Facebook promotion best practices
At first glance, this will seem contradictory to the doom-and-gloom that may seem to be foreshadowed so far. But on closer look this is not the case.
Slow and steady will likely still with the race, when it comes to social media strategy. By keeping a consistent application of best practices, and simply altering small things as needed to adjust to changes in the algorithm, a business can consistently play a smart hand in spite of the dealer regularly changing the rules.
What are these best practices? We list a number of the important ones to keep in mind, in the next few tips to follow.
4) Continue posting engaging, quality content that prompts comments
Just as importantly, do this while avoiding making it clickbait (or “engagement bait.”)
Mark Zuckerberg has stated that the changes will benefit those who engage in “meaningful interaction,” which means comments from your followers. He also said “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
Social proof is the foundation of building online referrals.
5) Tell people to follow your page
This way it will show up higher in their feed, rather than get buried by the newer emphasis on family and friend’s posts.
6) Place Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads has new updates that now allow for 3D Posts. Even if that’s not your thing, they also have something every business can use: More sophisticated targeting options.
7) Make more Facebook Live videos, and create or expand upon a Facebook Group
Videos are favored under the new algorithm, AND they usually show up on people’s feeds much more prominently.
Additionally, you should create a Facebook group if you don’t have one, or devote more time to it if you do. This is beneficial for multiple reasons, and gives you a little more control over your little chunk of Facebook real estate.
The important thing to keep in mind with all of these changes, is to stay flexible, don’t panic, and realize that if you’re staying ethical – and genuinely trying to engage and benefit your customers – these changes aren’t as likely to harm your Facebook presence.
The goal right now for Facebook is more aimed to penalize those who are contributing to the negative events surrounding Facebook at the moment. When the dust settles, those who were able to adapt, while holding strong to a core of best practices, are those who will still be on top of the Facebook marketplace.
For more information on how to generate leads from Facebook and other inbound avenues in this ever-changing social media climate, please contact us today!
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Cassandra is the Content & Social Media Strategist at ThinkFlame. There is no challenge too big or too small. She enjoys creating, integrating and managing online communities and working with clients to building up their social footprint.