It has been talked about for a while now but if you haven’t already heard, Facebook are moving the goal posts for brands on the site. At present, brands can utilise Facebook for more or less anything they wish with little or no detriment to the success of their posts and engagement stats. However, in 2015 this is set to change and as a social media manager, it is vital that you keep up with the latest methods of post optimisation… unless you want to lose your job! So what are the changes that are going to be made? Well, put simply, Facebook are introducing new algorithms which will reduce the volume of ‘overly promotional’ posts on your News Feed. This change comes from a Facebook customer survey in which users explained that they wanted to see less advertorial and sales focussed content and more posts from friends and pages that they actually care about. So the following types of content will be reduced:
- Posts that mirror the same content from adverts.
- Posts that are purely focussed on encouraging people to purchase something or download an app.
- Posts that urge people to take part in sweepstakes, promotions and competitions.
As an obvious consequence, your page’s organic reach will decline and (ofcourse) the best way to counteract this is through Facebook native advertising… well played Mr. Zuckerberg – if Facebook is vital to your business digital strategy, unfortunately your hands are kind of tied in this situation if you want to enjoy the same levels of engagement as you did before these changes.
This seems pretty harsh for SMEs with little or no budget to spend on social ads. However, there are a few things you can do to optimise your organic reach and it mostly comes down to quality of content, knowing your audience and understanding customer journeys.
- When creating a post and sharing information with followers, ensure that the content you upload is valuable. Your customers want to gain something from your post, be it some form of knowledge or engagement. This isn’t a new concept but worryingly, there are still many brands that just post single sentence status’ with little to no value. If your content is worth engaging with, people with share and like to increase your organic reach.
- USE THE RIGHT POST FORMAT (pleeeease). This really bugs me – when you see links buried in photo captions. Facebook works in a way which rewards posts that aren’t trying to fudge the system. So if you want people to follow a link, use the link format. If you want to share new images, use the photo format and if you want to share new information, use the status format.
- I’m sure you know by now that Facebook owns Instagram so they love it when you cross post from the app. So upload your BEST images and short video to Instagram and share on Facebook simultaneously.
- Post at your peak time. Use basic analytics to find out when most of your followers are online and post then – it seems obvious doesn’t it but many people still post when they have spare time. Make time to post at peak times or if that is at an unsociable hour, use a media dashboard like Hootsuite to schedule your posts for you (:
- Empower your employees to engage with your Facebook content. If each individual shares the content on their network, it is bound to get more acknowledgement and engagement.
- Respond to engagement on your content. If someone leaves a comment on something, reply to them – appearing as a single, sort of human, entity will be a lot more engaging than coming across as a transcendent corporation.
It seems then that these changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithms sound scarier than they really are. In short, social media managers or wider social marketers just have to be a little smarter with what they do and how they do it – the world of digital marketing / social media is always changing so I hope these pointers help and good luck!