- On February 20, 2018
There has been a lot of talk over the past few weeks about the “major changes” coming from Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg stated “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.” Facebook’s aim is to “Encourage meaningful interactions between people”. Friends, family and groups are the main priority.
I’ve been advising clients for the past 18 months, that if you want to have a Facebook presence for your business, you need to create and post original content that provides value and creates engagement. There is no point in your business having a social media presence if you don’t have a social media content strategy. Most businesses are using social media to sell, as they would traditional media, and this approach is wrong. We’ve got to the stage where business posts have clogged up our personal feeds with a load of valueless noise, and Facebook have realized this is starting to discourage people from using the platform. For me, the biggest mis- take smaller businesses make is to simply re-post existing content, such as online magazine arti- cles. Zuckerberg has said “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution.” Most small businesses’ social media “strate- gy” is simply to be seen on a platform, so the easiest (laziest!) way is share an article or existing post created elsewhere. If you do have to re-post an article once in a while that may relate to your audience, at least add some value by including your personal thoughts on the topic being shared, to encourage engagement.
We are under the impression that the more followers and likes we get, the more successful our social media presence is. This is not necessarily true, yet we still push people into commenting, sharing and liking. This tactic is now being punished. “Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.” say Facebook.
The way for small businesses to move forward in 2018 is to create their own content, that pro- vides value to their audience, and encourages discussion. From a branding 101 perspective, this builds trust. No one wants to be constantly sold to on social media. The clue here is the word ‘social’! Make your content about your users, not about you. Talk about how great they are, not how great you are.
If you want to build up a Facebook audience, encourage people to follow and engage outside of the platform, places like your web site or blog, or even on printed marketing materials. Make sure you give them a reason to go to your Facebook page, and more importantly, a reason to return. Value is the key, value based on engagement.
Video is the by far the best medium to use on Facebook, but Live Video is currently king. “Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” says Zuckerberg. Yes, this takes effort, but so does anything in life if you want to successfully get ahead of the pack!
I’ve recently seen success in creating Facebook Groups. This is a great tactic, as you have an audience who have chosen to be there, so there is a much higher chance of engagement. And the Facebook algorithms love engagement and discussion! Again though, you need a strategy and some effort is required to provide value. It is worth noting that engagement is a two-way thing. It’s great if people are commenting on your posts, but the real value you can add is reply- ing back and offering one-on-one advice, tips, information or customer service. Even a simple acknowledgement of someone’s post, to show you are aware of the person and care, is a HUGE deal in building a strong online brand and keeping Facebook happy.
We must remember, Facebook is a business, and a business needs to make money. If you’re a small business or brand, part of your Facebook strategy is to establish a Facebooks ad budget to stand a good chance to reach people.
The bottom line really is nothing will likely change for those businesses that have always taken a social/brand building stance rather than a sales stance, have created value and engagement, and have had a Facebook ad budget. The more you can put the emphasis on people and less about business and selling, the better.
Brand Strategist & Creative Director