Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it would be updating its News Feed algorithm to give more weight to content from friends and family - subsequently leaving less room for public posts.
As news of the impending 'Facebookocalypse' washed over the marketing world, social media managers scrambled for higher ground on trendier social platforms - but rather than a doomsday scenario for public Pages, the announcement is the continuation of a years-long trend favoring human content in Facebook’s News Feed. Facebook has implemented similar changes with each iteration of its algorithm over the last several years.
Public pages that didn’t update their strategy accordingly have seen a significant and steady drop in organic reach. Those that have embraced best practices, sharing content that adds value to the News Feed, have seen better results. A.T. Still University, for example, launched a best practice campaign in early 2017, which led to more than 800% growth in organic reach by mid-year.
So before you abandon the world’s largest social network, consider incorporating the following best practices into your Facebook approach.
1. Find your voice
Over the last several years, Facebook has been criticized for overwhelming users with clickbait, bots and ads. This latest move is an effort to get back to its roots as a social media platform.
Facebook wants to bring people together - emphasis on people. As such, to survive the Facebookocalypse, brands will need to embrace their humanity.
Who would your brand be if it was a person? Would it be snarky? Bubbly? Compassionate? Confident? Would it be a jock or a nerd? A hipster? A gamer? Find your brand’s voice, and use it consistently to engage with fans, just like you would interact with friends and family on your personal page.
If you would be so kind as to help my co-worker Carol and me settle a little debate I would greatly appreciate it— MoonPie (@MoonPie) December 28, 2017
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2. Nurture brand champions
Engaging your brand’s inner circle is key to surviving the Facebookocalypse.
Identify the people who are deeply invested in the success of your brand - your brand champions - and encourage them to channel their passion by engaging with your social media content.
Who you reach out to will vary depending on your industry and the size of your business. A large university’s network of brand champions might include students, faculty, staff and alumni. A mid-sized business might build a highly engaged group of employees and customers. An after-school program could engage a network of students, parents and program donors.
Remember, your brand champions usually won’t be marketing experts. To inspire meaningful, sustainable engagement, help them understand the impact of their efforts.
The conversation might go something like this:
“By liking one of our Facebook posts, you’re telling Facebook’s algorithm that our content is valuable. Because you’re interested in the content, Facebook decides that other people might like it, too. As our content gets more engagement, it becomes more valuable, and Facebook will show it to more people.”
Once you’ve convinced these devoted fans that what they’re doing is important, consider providing them with the tools and strategies they need to do it effectively.
For example, you could encourage brand champions to choose “See first,” so your content is the first thing they see in their News Feeds:
You could ask your most devoted followers to invite their friends to like the page:
You can also encourage engagement and sharing options, including tagging friends and sharing posts:
3. Activate your influencers
You don’t have to be a Kardashian to have a sphere of influence. Among your brand champions, you’ll likely find a few people with large personal or professional networks. When these “influencers” share your brand’s content, or when you share content about them, you’ll notice an uptick in reach and engagement. Consider featuring these influencers on your Page, and make sure they know about it when you do. Reach out personally, and be direct:
“Thanks so much for participating in our social media campaign! I shared your photo and quote on our Facebook page. I encourage you to like and share the post. This will help us reach more people.”
Make sure to include a direct link to the post to make it as easy as possible for the influencer to access and share it. Many will be flattered that you're using your platform to put them in the spotlight, and will happily engage with the post.
4. Relationships are the new reach
Even with best practices, the new algorithm means that most pages will see a decline in reach over the next few months.
Rather than letting the numbers drive you crazy, focus on building meaningful relationships with your fans to boost engagement - take a break from Facebook analytics and spend time in the comments section of your posts.
You might just stumble on something like this:
Hopefully these tips will help you in solidifying your Facebook performance.