Anyone who follows the news knows that Facebook has had a sort of dark night of the soul since the presidential elections. From the proliferation of fake news and the bots that helped spread it to the advertising accepted by bad actors, Facebook has been under fire.
Even before news of psychological profile data being shared with political advertisers (during the 2016 campaign), tech reporters have painted a picture of a genuinely contrite Mark Zuckerberg.
After some genuine denial, the once brash Facebook founder changed tone. He had a come-to-Jesus moment well before his come-to-congress testimony. He made his public New Years resolution for 2018 a simple one: Fix Facebook.
Part of that has been a new formula that further limits the amount of posts users will see from the pages they like and follow. And of course an increasing importance on paid reach and advertising.
The algorithms has shifted more frequently than the weather in the last several years, so this doesn’t feel too much like news. But there is a deep, new line of thinking that underlies these latest changes, and marketers ignore it at their peril.
As the great minds at FB HQ strive to “fix Facebook,” their new emphasis is on meaningful content that generates real conversation and engagement among its users. Not just likes but actual, substantive interactions.
Facebook has studied the effects of social media exposure and identified problems that we all know exist, especially when we use the medium in a passive way. From the sinister simmer of envy to cringe-worthy oversharing to the relentless assault of politics, we have seen the problem.
Factor in the fear of personal data breaches, and it’s enough to drive users from the platform. That is what’s likely at the heart of Facebook’s new formula and approach. They want to make the Facebook experience a more soulful one for their users so they stay.
So how does a marketer navigate this new landscape? Here are some tips.
- Tell your followers how to stay connected. Encourage your Facebook audience to change their settings so that your posts appear in their news stream. And reach out in other media with these instructions. Post this info on your blog and in emails as well.
- Post less often. Social media experts agree that pages will do better by posting less often, not even daily. Think quality of quantity and aim for 4-6 posts a week.
- Share engaging content. Not just posts that will get likes but posts that will trigger exchanges in the comments. Facebook will value longer comments and longer comment strings more favorably than short comments and shares.
- Video is so last season. Facebook is reversing on their previous approach, which emphasized video. They now deem it as too passive. Try live streaming instead!
- Diversify. Now is the time to invest more in your other platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. As people leave Facebook, you want to be poised to connect with them elsewhere.
As the changes take full effect, we’ll see how our reach is impacted. What are you finding in your experience out there?