Facebook has recently reevaluated what their users want in their News Feeds. The survey revealed that users want to see more content that’s relevant to them and less promotional. Facebook aims to show their users what they want to see and ultimately, content they will want to engage with. It’s hard to deny that there are reasons that Facebook has looked into this, primarily driven by the desire to have brands pay to reach their fans.
What is the impact?
Based on this evaluation of what should show up in their users’ news feed, Facebook has admitted that brands should expect to see a decrease in the reach of their content (of note, this is a continued decrease, as this has been happening over the past few months). Although this won’t go into effect until January, you should expect to see the organic reach of your brand or business page to fall significantly (if it hasn’t already).
From our experience with the brands we manage on Facebook, this has not and will not have much of an impact on pages with smaller fan bases. However, pages with larger fan bases should expect to see a large impact on their reach numbers. Our theory here is that Facebook understands that pages with larger fans bases may be tied to larger organizations that have the funds to pay for increased reach.
That being said, here’s a breakdown of promotional and engaging content. Through this evaluation, Facebook is encouraging brands to publish less promotional content and more engaging content.
What Is Promotional Content?
First off, what does ‘promotional content’ include? It doesn’t just mean ads to Facebook users. These types of posts include posts from your brand or fan page that push people to buy a product or install an app, enter a promotion or sweepstakes or reuse the exact same content from ads.
The lesson here is not to completely overhaul your content strategy, but recognize that you will have to get creative with content and cannot exclusively push people to buy your products or enter sweepstakes (without expecting a serious decrease in the number of people who see these types of posts). Additionally, if you have a post that falls into the promotional content category, expect to support it via Facebook advertising. You can use Facebook’s ad manager to determine how much money you’ll need to spend in order to reach a large portion of your audience.
As Facebook has not clarified how they will detect promotional content, we’ll have to stand by until January to learn more (this is when this will go into effect).
What is Engaging Content?
This is a bit harder to define, as Facebook has not clued us into the exact tactics that impact their algorithm. However, from the tests that we’ve run on the brands that we work on, this is ‘lifestyle content’ that is representative of the brand’s personality.
When writing engaging content, think like a fan. What would make you engage with a brand’s post? Here are some examples:
⁃ Asking questions
⁃ Inciting discussion
⁃ Weighing in on current events (when relevant)
⁃ Putting beautiful imagery/media in front of fans (upload videos natively for best reach):
You can also try out some of these proven tactics to increase organic engagement:
⁃ Create Photo albums (Facebook combines the engagement with each photo in the album)
⁃ Targeting posts to make them more relevant to people. You can target by a handful of things, including age, gender and location
⁃ Targeting posts by interest (read more from Jon Loomer)
⁃ Put up the same post a handful of times or a post that has only been tweaked slightly to increase the number of people that see it
Review your current content strategy. Are there any tweaks that you can make to increase organic engagement?
Create benchmarks for your social content (based off of monthly performance in 2014). In January, you can measure the impact of the change, and create strategy for how to combat
Consider an advertising strategy. Can you allocate a dedicated budget each month to promote certain images?
Although this recent announcement may make you want to write off Facebook, it’s important to recognize that businesses are still an important part of Facebook’s strategy and remember that Facebook needs businesses in order to survive. Additionally, Facebook offers a large user base and a sophisticated advertising platform that will only grow more valuable with time (read more about the advancements in their ad platform from TechCrunch). However, there is always the option to create your own, branded social network with SocialEngine.