On Tuesday night, Facebook announced THE most significant site re-design in its history!
Facebook’s new mantra is to shift engagement from public interactions to private ones, and the looming changes will affect every single business that is represented on the platform.
We’ve been banging the drum for some time now about businesses/brands needing to adopt a more organic, and conversational tactic to marketing their business on social. Now, the new dawn is here, it’s time to change your strategy in order to stay ahead of the pack.
Don’t panic, we got you.
In this article we’ll give you all of the knowledge you need to fully understand Facebook’s changes. As well as offer you some ideas about how to utilise them in your marketing strategy.
Let’s talk about how YOU can embrace these changes to benefit your business.
Forewarned is forearmed!
The key things you need to know about Facebook & Instagram’s changes, that are the biggest we’ve seen in 5 YEARS:
How often should you be posting as a business on social media?
There are conflicting opinions about how frequently you should post to Facebook & Instagram. However, our data tells us that brands/business should be posting a minimum of three times per week. Did you know: 60% of consumers will visit your FB page before your brick and mortar location, or website? Also, 80% of consumers are more inclined to purchase if your business has an authentic and regularly updated Facebook page. Furthermore, 62% of consumers say Facebook is the most important and useful social channel to research small businesses.
Facebook ‘likes’ are out – reactions, comments and shares are in.
Engagement is king! Reactions will be more valued by Facebook’s bots than ‘likes’. Facebook are also prioritising content which receives more engagement in its newsfeed. This means that businesses/brands will have to work harder to ensure their posts spur a reaction from its following. Facebook’s algorithms will now prioritise content based on shares, comments and reactions. *WARNING* DO NOT fall into the ‘like and share’ trap. It’s no longer all about how many likes you get, Facebook wants to see your content encouraging conversation with its users.
Another top tip: ALWAYS reply to comments from your audience. Facebook’s algorithms will deem that you’re invested in your following, come rain or shine.
Call-to-actions are being flagged by Facebook.
Organic posts that include call-to-actions such as: links to websites, blogs and external sites in general, will be flagged by Facebook. This is because it wants to keep its users on the platform. If your posts include CTAs that direct users to an external site, such as your company website, then use Facebook ads to do so.
Here are our 3 top things you should avoid when posting organically:
- Content that is created for the sole purpose of pushing people to buy a product.
- Posts that push people to enter promotions, giveaways or contests.
- Posts that link to outbound content.
DON’T be tempted to boost!
If your post is not spurring much engagement, DON’T be tempted to boost! Boosted posts have a very low conversion value. They also don’t target specific demographics who are most likely to purchase. Instead, they target absolutely everyone who’s online at the time.
I’ll say it again – ONLY boost a post if it is already getting a good level of engagement. If you boost a post which has little or no engagement, you will be punished with high ad costs. And remember, going straight for the sale on Facebook seldom works. Instead, give value to your following with free content such as downloadable resources, webinars, top tips, discounts etc. If you want to sell, sell sell, then drive your audience off social with value-added content, and then direct them onto a platform that YOU control, like your website. Only then can you sell to them.
Facebook ads are everything for small businesses.
Facebook/Instagram ads are everything – gone are the days where you can simply have a social page for your business/brand and rely on it gaining traction from posts alone. Ads make it easier to get your message in front of the right people and guarantee visibility. They will not be affected by the looming changes either, so with less clutter in people’s feeds, ads will most definitely be a way for your business to stand out. Come back next week for hints and tips on creating the perfect social ad.
Nurture your relationship with your social following.
98% of online shoppers do not purchase on their first visit, therefore it’s important that you use Facebook and Instagram to nurture relationships with your following and give them value with your content.
39% of Facebook’s users interact with brands/businesses to receive a special offer, so it’s important that you use a pricing strategy to attract their attention via your social channels.
Take advantage of Facebook’s ‘See First’ feature.
Encourage your following to keep up to date with your brand with Facebook’s See First feature, which will allow your audience to see your content regardless of Facebook’s algorithms. Click here to find out where you can view the See First feature.
The Click-Gap Signal.
If any single platform/channel is driving the bulk of traffic to your website, your business is vulnerable. No matter what your business is, it’s crucial that you spread your online presence across multiple platforms, for the very reason you’re reading this article – Never build your only lemonade stand in someone else’s front yard.
The Click-Gap Signal means that Facebook will de-prioritise posts that have a disproportionate share of clicks from Facebook and Instagram, compared to the site’s overall online popularity.
“Click-Gap looks for domains with a disproportionate number of outbound Facebook clicks compared to their place in the web graph. This can be a sign that the domain is succeeding on News Feed in a way that doesn’t reflect the authority they’ve built outside it and is producing low-quality content.”
Negative feedback on Facebook posts.
Facebook are testing a new feature, which enables users to give negative feedback on business posts. If users give you negative feedback, Facebook will de-prioritise your content from its newsfeed, meaning your reach will dramatically decline.
Posts with minimal engagement are being removed from Instagram’s ‘explore’ and ‘hashtags’.
Low quality posts, meaning posts that have a minimal level of engagement, will be removed from the ‘explore’ & ‘hashtag’ pages on Instagram. Again, content is king, so it’s important that you carefully consider the content you post, and make sure that it is going to resonate with your audience and spark conversation/engagement.
Facebook group admins are now being charged with policing content.
Facebook Groups are HUGE. If you haven’t already done so, you need to get to work on creating a strategy for exploiting the benefits of groups. However, huge changes are coming into effect imminently, so it’s equally important to educate yourself on what’s to come.
Facebook is all about creating an online community with groups at its heart, as it moves away from being a news source as such. Group admins/moderators will now have more policing responsibility, which means that if you’re considering founding a group, you should read Facebook’s community standards, in full, before you start.
If you continually approve posts from members that are false, misleading or in violation of Facebook’s guidelines, then your group runs the risk of being shut down permanently. Not to mention, if a member leaves a group at any time, they now have the option to remove ALL of their posts/comments, which has its own pitfalls.
Videos provide the highest organic reach on Facebook.
People love to watch videos and it’s estimated that over 80% of all internet traffic will be video content by the end of the year. So, if video is not already part of your marketing mix, it’s probably the right time to start building it in.
One way of exploiting Facebook’s changes is to consider Facebook Live as a way to connect with your audience – it’s quick, easy and most importantly it’s done in real time, which your audience will LOVE.
If you want to ensure that changes like this don’t blind side you in the future, start leveraging your presence on other social media platforms and marketing channels. Much like how we’ve promoted this article – by posting about Facebook’s changes and giving bitesize pieces of information on social, we’ve got the attention of our following; we’ve then offered them value, and directed them over to our blog for more information. Hopefully, if this article was helpful, you might head back over to our social, comment on our post, and share it with other business owners, so that they too can inform themselves about the social shake-up.
FINALLY, this isn’t the first time that Facebook has changed. Yes, it’s the most dramatic shift in the way the platform operates in history, but it certainly won’t be the last. Instead of panicking or burying your head in the sand, embrace these transformations, and adapt quickly. This is an opportunity to harness change and use it to your advantage as a business owner/marketer. Take time to really engage with your following and customers; learn about them, ask them questions, solve their pains and frustrations and focus your efforts on building REAL relationships, online.
I hope we’ve shed some light on how Facebook’s changes will affect your business. If you think our article would be of benefit to friends, family or colleagues, please share it with them. Then, head back over to our social for more marketing hints and tips.
Thanks for reading,
Director, Yogurt Top Marketing.