If you work in social media, there’s a good chance that you’re aware of the changes Facebook has made to its Edgerank algorithm. You may have seen your reach cut in half like many large brands have. You may have seen an increase in promoted brand pages that your friends have recently liked showing up in your newsfeed.
So you should probably give up on Facebook, right? The deck is rigged. The jig is up. Toto pulled back the curtain… okay I’m out of idioms but you get the point.
If you’re a brand or community manager, I can understand the frustration. Reach is an exciting metric. It’s a large number that grows exponentially as you engage your audience, it helps drive revenue, and it looks great when you present it to your boss. But Facebook’s goal isn’t to impress your boss. In a recent release, Facebook explained the changes as a strategic move to keep content relevant:
“We’re continuing to optimize News Feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.”
When you consider Facebook’s purpose, and the company’s need to develop their own revenue streams – which were conveniently left out of the explanation – this move makes sense.
All this means is that it’s time to refocus on the key elements that helped drive your reach in the first place. Using your analytics tools to refocus and hone in your Facebook efforts is more crucial as you engage with an ad-saturated marketplace. The ability to reach potential customers still exists if you narrow in on the keys to success.
Time Your Posts: You should think of your reach as a row of dominoes. You can’t knock the last one over unless you’re focused on getting that first one to fall in the right direction. Your audience is the same way. In order to get your message to their friends, you have to plan the best time to engage the people who are already lined up. If your brand has the best engagement rate at 9AM on a Thursday, chances are that your audience has friends who will follow similar trends.
Focus on Key Players: Recent studies have shown that the majority of comments, likes and shares that a brand sees come from a small set of “super fans”. These fans shouldn’t be ignored. Find out which content is engaging them the most, and focus on that. They’re your brand ambassadors, and you need to embrace that and utilize them.
Create Content Users Want: Each brand is different, and so is their audience. You should constantly be reexamining your content to see which type of post is doing the most work for you. Are you engaging better with photos? Links? Videos? Once you find out what works, develop a strategy that involves more of it.
Target Your Messaging: Keywords can too easily be overlooked. Each post is different and your keywords will vary right? To an extent, yes. But you still need to cater to what your specific audience is most likely to engage with. Could you probably engage someone with a post that has “Justin Bieber” in the title 80 times? Yes, but are you engaging the right audience for your brand? Take a look at the keywords they’ve been interacting with, and ask yourself why.
Focus on Goal-Based Planning: What type of engagement do you want from your audience? Conversation? Shares? Whatever your end game, this should play into the decision. If you’re focused on engaging with current audience, drill down on the posts with the most comments and conversation. If your goal is to drive your audience numbers up? Shares. Chances are you’re somewhere in the middle saying “I want both of those things” in which case you need to develop a deeper, richer plan of action. Using your metrics, you can drill down and find out which types of posts are pushing different interactions. If pictures are getting shared more, but videos see more comments? You can plan accordingly.
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