Facebook still ranks as the go to platform for marketers and consumers. Stats also show that Facebook has one of the most impressive Return on Investment (ROI) in the social ads space. Since your target audience is actively using Facebook, it makes commercial sense to have a Facebook marketing strategy in place.
However, in 2018, Facebook made a major decision to change how often certain types of content are viewed by users. This decision was made on the heels of a statement issued by Facebook that admitted that the company had been “weaponized by foreign actors” with the desire to influence the U.S elections in 2016. That shocking admission was followed by another startling revelation: the voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica had misused personal information of Facebook users. As a result, Facebook’s new algorithm caused a dramatic decrease in engagement for Business Pages.
Fortunately, business engagement bounced back in a big way in 2019. However, this engagement recovered only with particular sources of content. Let’s take a more in-depth look into the type of content which has performed well on this popular social media platform.
Facebook’s new algorithm has made changes to the way posts are ordered and presented to users. Instead of publishing content chronologically, Facebook decides which posts and ads you see based on how relevant the algorithm judges they are to you, the platform’s user.
According to a study done by NewsWhip, during the first three months of 2019, there was a 150% increase in Facebook users sharing links to web content that was not posted on any of Facebook’s native Pages or groups than they did for the same months in the previous year. The study concluded that users were engaging more with content which their friends or family shared instead of content that came from Pages. This is strong proof that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm was bringing about the desired changes.
Facebook’s new algorithm makes it more difficult to promote ad content from businesses and other large brands. As a result, legitimate businesses have had to make adjustments to their Facebook marketing strategies in order to boost their organic reach. The social media platform gives its users context in order for them to understand why they are seeing the ads and posts that they’re seeing. Therefore, marketers need to invest extra resources into not only audience targeting but into engagement with followers.
Major Changes to the Algorithm
The first major change is related to Facebook’s fight against false content or “fake news”. Facebook has recently adopted a stance to fight the spread of misleading health related content. It won’t block or ban that type of content. It will merely reduce the spread of such content by downranking it the way it would clickbait content. Facebook has enacted these changes in an attempt to take the wind out of the sails of dangerous miracle cures. Facebook explains, “posts with sensational health claims or solicitation using health-relating claims will have reduced distribution”. While this may not be directly related to marketing, it nevertheless emphasizes Facebook’s commitment to trust and transparency. Marketers now run the risk of receiving a “strike” if their content is considered too spammy or too provocative.
Another change Facebook rolled out is the use of surveys to make news feeds more personal. The surveys are needed to make the content users see more relevant. The reasoning behind using surveys is to more effectively link users with the pages and groups that they find interesting and valuable. Facebook uses surveys to find out how interested users are in the content from a particular Page they follow, and just how important a particular group is to them. Facebook hopes that the feedback they get from its users via surveys will help them update, “our algorithm to prioritize the Pages and groups we predict an individual may care about most”. The direct result of these changes to the algorithm for businesses willing to advertise on the platform is that they have to create content that will attract different forms of engagement from their followers. Otherwise, their content will not be prioritized on their users’ newsfeed.
Adjusting Your Facebook Marketing Strategy
The first thing you should do to get the most out of your Facebook strategy is to create a calendar with the best times to post on the platform. Since there is a never-ending stream of content jostling for your attention, you should post content at the right time in order to maximize engagement from users. In order to have an effective calendar, you should have an insight into how your target prospects use social media and what they look for in content. The best day to post on Facebook is Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. However, you should also post content on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Conversely, the least amount of engagement happens in early mornings and early evenings before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
This means that the largest number of people scrolling through Facebook newsfeeds occurs around lunchtime. This is when they use their free time to discover interesting posts and compelling content. Naturally, avoid posting during late night or early evening because you will have few users logging on the platform and engaging with your content.
Video Is King
Facebook states that the best type of content for attracting engagement from its users is video content. Now is the perfect time to make video the heart of your Facebook marketing strategy. One of the best parts of using video on Facebook is that you can spark conversations with followers and keep them on your page without necessarily having a huge budget for content. Marketers of all sizes can create compelling video content for their brand. There is another added advantage to using video content on the platform:
Facebook Live. Facebook suggests that video content creators use Live videos to produce real-time content because it is another compelling way of interacting with their fans. In fact, even Mark Zuckerberg wants more people to live stream on his company’s platform:
“Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world.” “This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together”.
Facebook Live videos notify your fans and followers by pinging them, which is a good way of drawing attention to your content. Live videos have proven to be an effective way of showcasing the people behind your brand, which makes your business more relatable by shedding light on that human aspect. The amount of people who live stream today is increasing at an incredible rate. On top of that, Facebook Live videos receive three times the engagement of all other types of videos posted on social media!
But what is the best way to leverage the power of Facebook Live? Just like with other aspects of content marketing, you need to be sure that you’ve implemented a video strategy for before, during and after the stream.
Since live videos resemble events more than blog posts you should first generate interest before you begin your broadcast. Luckily, Facebook gives you the ability to focus on specific events and groups, which makes your campaign significantly more focused. When promoting your broadcast on a daily basis, offer them something of value along with the reminder of your stream. For instance, let your audience know what type of information they’ll be given during the broadcast.
Next, you need to be well prepared. Even though Facebook Live has a more informal feel to it than a typical television ad, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared. Since you are live streaming, it is absolutely vital that you have a fast and reliable broadband connection. Before you stream, make sure that the sound is good and that there aren’t any distracting background noises. Also, ensure that your camera is placed on a sturdy tripod to prevent it from shaking. Take time to consider how you’ll shoot your video and when. Facebook Live app gives you the option to choose between streaming horizontally or vertically. This is not a trivial aspect of live streaming. For instance, if your broadcast is more of an interview-based video, then avoid vertical shooting because that will make the person in the video seem disproportionately big. On the other hand, if you want a more “behind-the-scenes” feel to the video, then the vertical format is what you should use. Facebook Live gives you the opportunity to start a private stream, which is a good way of making sure that you are all set for the broadcast.
Timing plays a huge role in the success of your live stream. Obviously, you should start your broadcast during peak hours when your audience is most likely to tune in. The last thing you want to do is to broadcast when your fans or followers are busy or asleep!
During your live stream, you must offer context continuously. Don’t worry if you sound repetitive. The reason behind this tip is that since you are streaming live, people can join your broadcast at any time. Pay attention as people join your broadcast. As people are joining your stream, keep your audience informed about what is currently happening. Say things like:
“Hi to everyone joining us! Welcome to our live stream. We’re now talking about [a particular subject] and we’ve also discussed [previous topic]. This [particular thing] just happened. Thanks for joining us!”
Another important aspect to live streaming is to be constantly responsive. The responsive component to Facebook Live which allows users to post comments reactions live during the actual broadcast is really what sets it apart from traditional videos. Live streaming feels more like a conversation, which is why Facebook Live attracts 10 times more comments than traditional videos. If you want to take an extra step and make the live stream even more engaging and exciting for your audience, then respond to the comments live during your broadcast. As a result, more people will post their comments on your stream and increase engagement. If you’re worried that there are just way too many comments or questions on your stream, then you should get help from someone off-camera to pick out the most interesting comments and have you respond only to those posts.
When streaming always remember that this is your opportunity to show your personality to your audience. That means you have to be laid back but confident in order to build strong relationship with the people tuning in. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t mention a product or service during the stream, just be subtle about it. Make references to your products or services during the broadcast. Also, there is always room for call-to-action in the end of your broadcast. The idea here is to avoid marketing yourself blatantly, which will only repel people who would otherwise consider making a purchase from you.
Finally, once you’re done streaming, thank the people who joined your live broadcast by posting a small note. Each Facebook Live video is archived immediately after it ends. This means that you can reference it at a later date. This is a great way of asking for comments and suggestions from your audience in order to create more engagement with the content. Again, don’t hesitate to thank the ones who joined your stream; it never hurts to make your followers feel appreciated. Also, use other social media platforms to promote your stream and increase your reach. Nobody said that you only had to use Facebook to promote your broadcast.
In a world where people look for more authentic connections with their favorite brands, Facebook Live is an incredibly powerful tool to achieve just that. It’s a great way to reach to users who rely on social media for the latest news and trends. Making video, in particular live video stream, the focus of your Facebook marketing campaign will increase your ROI astronomically. Happy filming and streaming!