Social media platforms are continuously seeking ways to make networks more user-friendly. This can sometimes result in changes that require a shift in a brand's online marketing strategy. Facebook is notorious for updating its website to give users a better experience. Unfortunately, for many business and companies using Facebook as a way to market to consumers, these changes have a less than desirable effect on reaching their Facebook audience.
The Facebook Algorithm
The average Facebook user has 1,500 posts per day in his/her timeline. Out of those posts, however, users will only read or interact with 300. Facebook strives to keep those 300 posts the most interesting and relevant for the user.
The Facebook algorithm that allows them to track how users interact on the network. The algorithm tracks engagement of likes, comments, and shares as well as which people a user interacts with most (through wall posts, tagged photos, and messenger). This information is then used to customize the content in each user's news feed.
For businesses, the data used in this algorithm is instrumental in determining a target market to promote to on Facebook. Because the algorithm already “knows” the user, the software can promote products and services to the appropriate audience.
Privacy is a big concern for many users and they are therefore wary of Facebook knowing too much about them and then sharing that data with marketers. This becomes a catch-22 because the more data Facebook keeps from marketers, the less effective their ads will be and the less they will want to advertise. Conversely, the more data Facebook shares with advertisers, the more reluctant users become to use the site and the less effective ads will be due to the decrease in audience.
While taking both sides into consideration, it is no question that Facebook has erred on the side of user happiness because organic reach of Facebook ads has steadily decreased over the last 3 years. According to Marketo, only 2-8% of fans see Facebook posts from popular pages and just 0.07% of fans of top brands interact with Facebook posts.
For marketers, this means finding innovative ways to use the platform and continue to reach an appreciable, relevant audience. Despite these changes, Facebook is still considered a dynamic asset as a social platform due to its large audience. Facebook has 890 million active users with an 18% increase year-over-year.
Update Your Strategy to Include Video
Instead of simply ruling out Facebook as a valuable marketing option, gather your marketing team and develop a game plan for how to use Facebook in a way that actually has an impact on your brand and on your Facebook community. Consider what content is popular on Facebook by conducting research through news outlets and blogs. Currently, video clips are the most uploaded and shared content on Facebook. These posts are surpassing YouTube traffic and are generating over 3 billion views per day, on average. Given this information, your brand will have a better idea of what content will engage the current market on Facebook. Instead of posting wordy status updates, brands should consider posting videos that engage and inform their Facebook following.
In opting to create a video, your marketing team will need to ensure that the content will grab the users’ attention and keep them engaged. Today’s market has a short attention span, so be sure to make tell viewers what the video is about in the first 5-10 seconds. BuzzFeed, which has all but perfected the art of a shareable video, practices the approach of informing viewers what the clip will be about to keep them engaged. The videos will first show a short clip to give the viewer an idea of what’s to come and then follow it up with a title of the video. Right off the bat, the viewer gets a general idea of the tone of the video as well as an overview of the information. Following the introduction, the video needs to have lots of energy to keep the viewer watching until the end. Tap into the emotions of the user whether it is happy, sad, funny, or shocking; it should be strong enough to engage them.
Shift Your Focus
Since Facebook may not be having a big impact on your brand, you will not want to spend too much of your marketing efforts on the platform. If you find that Facebook is just not working as well for you, shift your attention to other areas online that may show better ROI. For example, Instagram is a great platform to utilize as it boosts 58 times higher engagement for top brands over Facebook. It is also important to focus on your brand's website. Since 2012, marketing campaign actions have driven 33% more traffic to websites, showing that it is more common for users to reach your page. Marketing time will be better spent focusing on areas such as these to compensate for lost engagement from Facebook.
The most recent Facebook algorithm changes are guaranteed to not be their last. In any digital marketing strategy, it is essential to stay flexible. The same strategy that works today may become obsolete tomorrow, so constant innovation is key.