In January of 2018, Facebook made the biggest changes to its News Feed feature in recent history. Users of the social media platform will now see fewer posts from brand pages and more posts from friends and family. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the aim of these changes is to make your Facebook experience "more meaningful," and less focused on news articles and advertising content. Social media marketing professionals have been concerned by these changes, and many are waiting to see how this may affect their business. Read on to learn more about how these Facebook changes will effect digital marketing.
How Will The Facebook Changes Effect Your Digital Marketing?
These changes will clearly influence marketers as they craft their strategies for the upcoming months. But before you can know what strategies to take, it's important to know the what the News Feed updates mean for the content you post.
- Less organic reach - New algorithms prioritize content that is shared among friends rather than content that is pushed out by brand pages.
- Fewer prerecorded videos - Since the process of watching videos is more passive and less engaging, Facebook will tend to prioritize this content slightly less - in general it draws in less of what Facebook deems meaningful interaction.
Facebook Can Still Be Leveraged to Boost Your Brand
Despite these changes, there are still plenty of ways to market your product or service on Facebook. It's important to remember that these News Feed changes prioritize engagement and discussions, so if you create hyper-engaging content, you'll still have a leg up. Here are some things to consider when crafting your digital marketing strategy for the coming months:
- Live content is key - Facebook continues to push live content on Facebook Live and Facebook Stories because of the authentic experience it creates. Statistics from Facebook say that live videos get ten times the comments of prerecorded ones. Because these videos are live, people are more likely to comment in order to be a part of the moment. Use this to your advantage, as it's a perfect opportunity to promote product demonstrations or Q&A videos. Having users comment and get responses in real time is the sort of "meaningful engagement" that Facebook wants on its News Feed!
- Aim to provide valuable content - Meaningful, valuable content will always get engagement. Don't create content just for the sake of putting something out there. Today's social media users are looking for value, so use your social media space to create a deep well of insights and expert information. This is a chance for you to show off your expertise in your industry. Invite top industry professionals in for live question and answer sessions or get customers to provide helpful tutorials or testimonials. Even if this means posting less content overall, as long as your content aims to make people's lives better, you'll see the engagement you're looking for.
- Tap into your community, both physically and digitally - Facebook is constantly testing new features and apps, like the Facebook Local app and the new 'Today In' feature. These are hubs for local news, events, and stories. If you have a brick and mortar location, encouraging your customers to engage with you on social media may be more important than ever. While these features are still in their infancy, Facebook is definitely trying to put a focus on local news and events, so pay attention to how this develops. If you don't have a physical location, Facebook is also pushing their 'Groups' feature. Anyone who is a member of one of these groups can post on the group page and engage with other members. As a marketer, this can be a valuable tool to talk to customers, answer questions, and provide helpful tools and tips to your customer base.
- Don't forget about Messenger - Use of Facebook's Messenger app is skyrocketing, and businesses are starting to use chatbots to interact directly with customers. You can set these bots up to offer your customers information about your business or services, or you can use them to blast out your latest post to your subscribers. You can build your own chatbot or use templates available online. Other tools like Messenger Ads can raise awareness of your brand directly through messenger.
When Facebook Changes, So To Should Your Strategy
With the changes happening on Facebook, it might seem difficult to wrap your head around it all. While the latest Facebook changes don't seem to favor brand pages, this is no reason to abandon the platform completely! In the third quarter of 2017, Facebook reported over $10.1 billion in ad revenue, which is an increase of about 49%. Because organic reach has dropped, focus less on creating organic posts, and more on promoted or sponsored content. You can still target audiences and create paid posts that are aimed at reaching your target demographic.
In addition, it's important to always respond to customer's comments on your posts, as this creates the engagement that is key to getting your posts in a coveted News Feed spot. It also lets your potential customers know that you're there and listening to them, and that you're ready to engage and help your customers.
Facebook says that their News Feed changes will lead to less time spent on Facebook, but the time spent on the platform will be increasingly valuable to users. With recent critics saying that Facebook can be "psychologically damaging", focusing on more helpful and positive content can be seen as a good thing for many. While this might not be the best thing for brands, it can't be denied that Facebook will always be changing. Instead of getting left behind when Facebook changes, it's time to update your digital marketing strategy to reflect those changes. Keep on top of all the latest Facebook news, stay informed, and always track the progress of your social media efforts. Experiment to see what works best for your brand and business, and know that social media advertising is not going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
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