With 1.8 billion monthly active users (79% of all online adults, according to Pew Research, November 2016), Facebook is the most popular social network by a landslide. Whatever your audience, there’s a good chance they’re active on this behemoth network. Facebook’s declining reach has been hard on marketers in recent years. How can modern marketers and harness the power of Facebook for their brand?
Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, claims that one of the main factors behind Facebook’s continuing dominance its ever-changing nature. Zuckerberg and his team constantly monitor the social media sphere and update Facebook regularly to fit the latest and greatest trends. In an interview with Popular Science, Zuckerberg said that with more and more video content and live video feeds, by 2020, Facebook will be mostly video.
With the ever-changing nature of Facebook’s algorithm, brands need to be on top of their fan base to ensure organic reach in social media marketing continues to prosper. According to Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland, organic reach has been steadily declining over the last few years. His reasoning? “There is simply too much content being published on Facebook, making visibility in the News Feed increasingly competitive. Facebook is deliberately trying to show people content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to surfacing all content available.’
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for brands and their social media strategy. It just means that you need to be more aware of the content you choose for your brand on Facebook.
Here are 5 Facebook tips for success amidst an ever-changing platform:
1. Be selective.
Don’t overload your News Feed with dozens of posts each day. Starbucks, the number one social media consumer brand on Facebook according to Mavrck, only posts once per day (at most). Their content plays heavily to the millennial audience – big, bold imagery with playful captions that induce serious FOMO if you are not sipping on your favorite Frappuccino at that moment. Starbucks is keen to remind their audience of things like their “Frappy Hour,” where customers can get their favorite frozen beverages at a discount. Pointing out sales, promotions, and exciting new products is sure to keep your followers active on your feed.
2. Don’t be afraid to remind your followers how to get your content.
Facebook allows you to prioritize content and see your favorite pages first. Gently push your audience in that direction – allow them to see your content first by reminding them to view their Pages feed and also select “see content first” in their feed settings. This ensures your content is always going to be top of their News Feed. Brands like Tasty kill it on organic reach because they have short, engaging video content that encourages users to share their videos. Every video Tasty publishes asks you to share, like and subscribe to their channel. A subtle but simple push to remind users they have new content and keep coming back for more!
3. Treat Facebook like a paid platform.
Starbucks and Tasty are so successful at social media marketing because they are laser focused on their audience. They know exactly who is engaging with their content and who they want to engage with their content, and every ad is directed towards that specific audience. Know your brand and consumer – this should be the first (and easiest) step in social media dominance.
According to Forrester, Paid social advertising, has grown 185% since 2014 and is projected to grow about 57% by 2020. Facebook’s algorithm is focused on the latest and greatest technologies. Images and videos can literally make or break your Facebook ad. Companies like Starbucks and Tasty have a viral social media strategy – bright images, fun videos that make users say, ‘I NEED that.’
4. Know your “why”.
Why would your audience care about this message? What makes them want to engage? Does this ad have a clear end goal in mind? Taking the time to set clear, measurable social media goals is key in a successful Facebook advertising campaign. Consider various ad formats – we know that images and video are a hit, but WHAT images and videos are going to resonate with your audience. In a world of scrolling, people are used to the quick and dirty. Images and video give your audience exactly what they are looking for with minimal (to no) effort.
5. Test – and make changes.
Don’t be afraid to A/B test and use tools Facebook already has at your disposal, like Audience Insights and Ad Manager. Make sure you actively monitor campaigns, tweak posts that aren’t quite hitting goals, and don’t be afraid to turn off things that just aren’t working. Facebook advertising can be a pricey endeavor with HUGE results if used properly – this should never be a “set it and forget it” kind of campaign.
Pay attention to your ads and content to see which performs best. If your audience is clearly responding to something specific, use that as a model for future posts. If something doesn’t work, use insights to understand why. It may not be the content, but the time of day, audience selected, or another factor entirely.
How successful you are at paid or organic reach on Facebook shouldn’t just be a single metric. Set smart, focused goals, track your progress, and measure yourself against your competitors. Brands like Starbucks are at an advantage due to their massive nature. But, pages like Tasty earned their Facebook fame by posting fun and easy to digest content. Go beyond your brand and keep an eye on your progress versus your competitors. And don’t be afraid to “borrow” ideas that you see getting true results. After all, (thoughtful) imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be a terrifying new world. Facebook’s domination of social media shows true trends in marketing shifts in the eye of the consumer. Follow the trends and take the time to craft your content accordingly, and new followers will start flowing in.