Yes, you’re not imagining it, it’s becoming even harder to get your company Facebook posts seen. Facebook has published some information (via their blog) on their changes in January & May, but savvy observers have noticed changes every month of 2017 so far. We’ve also seen other social networks take steps in the same direction: winnowing down organic posts seen by users to include only the timeliest, most relevant, or those in a preferred format.
What does that mean for a social media marketer? Your organic Facebook posts may be seen ONLY by your hardest-core followers (your most devoted fans) who have a history of reacting to and sharing your content. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for responding to Facebook’s 2017 algorithm changes and get the best mileage out of your posts:
Do—Try Livestreaming a Video
Among other recent changes, Facebook says it is favoring video in the News Feed. For example, if a user watches all or most of one particular video, they are more likely to see similar videos in their feed. Also, videos now play with sound defaulted to ‘on’, if the device isn’t in silent mode. Maybe this is the right time for you to post more videos and/or try Facebook Live? Maybe stream a discussion or interview with a subject matter expert instead of (or in addition to) writing a blog?
Don’t—Go Live, If You’re Not Truly Live
If you do “Go Live,” it had better be actual live video, not just looping animation or a poll that’s trying to rack up engagement. Facebook has caught on to those tricks and is no longer rewarding them. They’re also cracking down on the use of live video to share violent scenes (to the tune of a few thousand new employees tasked with seeking out and removing such content).
Do—Encourage Employees to Share Your Posts With Their Networks
Facebook says the News Feed favors a user’s family, friends & “core value” content. They tell us those user-generated posts get 7 times more engagement than a typical post from a brand. This could be a great reason to implement or re-energize your employee-advocacy program, where you encourage employees to share your posts. Don’t just stop at Facebook, be sure to include other networks while you’re at it.
Don’t—Trick Users Into Visiting a Website Full of Ads
The Facebook algorithm now actively downgrades sites with little content and “disruptive, shocking, or malicious ads”, typical of fake news sites and click bait posts. So, if your site looks anything like this, it’s time to make a change:
Do—Think Outside The Box & Try To Solicit Reactions Besides “Like”
Reactions OTHER than likes may be better for you. Even an “angry” response is taken as a sign that people are engaging with your content, not just skimming by and clicking ‘like’. Maybe you’ll have success with #FridayFunnies that generate some “Ha Ha” responses. When I noticed a new “thankful” reaction the other day with a flower image, I wondered if we’d start seeing posts on what companies are thankful for, just to take advantage of it. But it seems that option was a short-lived test.
Don’t—Ask For Likes or Shares. EARN Them
Be both relevant & engaging, or at least have a great offer. It’s a twist on the old “if you don’t have anything nice to say …”. It’s better to post a bit less often, but have quality content when you do share it. If followers ignore your posts, that’s not great. But if they hide them because they’re too promotional and not useful, that’s even worse.
Do—Include Your Followers in Relevant Ad Campaigns
To those in a cynical mood, it certainly seems like Facebook is strongly encouraging ads/boosted posts, if not flat-out requiring companies to spend money for distribution that used to be free. If you’re already advertising, it may be worth including your existing followers in your audience targeting. If they engage with your boosted content enough, Facebook may determine that they want to see your organic posts, too.
I hope you find these tips helpful, but they’re just a start. Surely Facebook (and other networks) will continue to evolve how they determine which content gets substantial distribution. We’re in a phase now that will remind some of SEO’s somewhat wild past (e.g. keyword stuffing and thousands of backlinks stopped getting rewarded), so stay tuned for more changes!
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