Although social media giant Facebook took its fair share of hits in 2018 – from its admitted violations of user data to operational issues that gave priority to viral hoaxes (or “fake news”) on newsfeeds – it remains the No. 1 social network with over 2.23 billion active log-ins each month. By comparison, Facebook-owned companion platform Instagram receives one billion monthly active logins (according to Statistica.com).
Additionally, social media management platform HootSuite reports that 68 percent of Americans are on Facebook, continuing its reign as one of the most cost-effective tools available to market your brand. That’s why Facebook’s newly-focused commitment to revising its algorithm to enhance “meaningful interactions” and prioritize original content on users’ news feeds presents a significant challenge to PR specialists and brand marketers.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks to help public relations and marketing professionals bypass the dreaded Facebook algorithm:
1. Jump on the video bandwagon.
Facebook’s new algorithm focuses on authentic interactions with family and friends. The platform also acknowledges that including video content with your post creates higher engagement than any other kind of content. Video is a great conversation starter. It keeps eyeballs glued to your message for longer than text-only posts. So post your original video – any video – to enhance interactions with your followers and spike your engagement.
2. Create conversation starters instead of asking outright for comments or tags.
Keep it organic or you’ll get flagged by the platform and your posts will get buried.
3. Keep it real by encouraging employee advocacy.
You can actually use Facebook’s algorithm to your advantage. Since the platform is prioritizing engagement between family and friends, your employee’s comments, shares and tagging will be prioritized in their family and friends’ news feeds, maximizing exposure for your message.
4. Post native content rather than outside links.
Facebook wants to keep its users on the platform’s own pages and is therefore prioritizing original (or native) content as opposed to content that links to outside sites.
If you constantly blast your followers with non-localized, irrelevant information they will likely begin tuning out your posts altogether.
5. Stop the monotony.
Make your posts unique. Don’t post the same graphic, video or verbiage day after day. Spice it up with different photos and video clips. Also try reposting subsequent messaging with a question as opposed to a statement.
6. Try out Facebook Groups as opposed to Facebook Pages.
Some companies have reported recent engagement as low as 2% on their Facebook pages. Instead, try creating and posting to a Facebook Group where engagement will likely be higher.
7. Narrow your audience.
Promote local events to a local market group or place geo-targeted ads as opposed to blanket messaging all of your followers. If you constantly blast your followers with non-localized, irrelevant information they will likely begin tuning out your posts altogether.
8. Strategically schedule your posts.
Experiment with posting at different times during the day and track your engagement. After a week or so, you’ll start to see a clear pattern as to the time of day when engagement for your page or group is at its highest.
9. It’s okay to “Pay to Play.”
Data has shown that Facebook ads produce an overwhelmingly positive ROI with 94 percent of marketers reporting they use Facebook to get their messaging across to their respective audiences. Reportedly, 62 percent of PR professionals and marketers plan to increase their frequency and activity over the next year, according to Social Media Examiner.
Remember that Facebook, along with every social member platform, is a living, breathing thing. It’s effects, regulations and intricacies are ever-evolving and new features which, in turn demand new strategies, are added frequently.
Keep checking the Bradford Group blog for the latest innovations in social media. And read HERE for tips to become a social media hashtag wizard.