Facebook announced it will be implementing some major changes to their News Feed in 2015. Marketers for brands of all sizes will need to adapt their posting strategy to these new algorithm changes in order to continue to reach their owned Facebook audience. The first step in a revised strategy is to understand the changes that coming. Here are the top 5 things you need to know to be prepared:
1. The Changes Facebook is Making and What Marketers Need to Know
Facebook recently surveyed their user base about advertising in their News Feeds. The results showed overwhelmingly negative sentiment toward brands that saturate News Feeds with promotional content.
Consumers adamantly responded that they were seeing too many posts promoting products, giveaways, and sweepstakes in their News Feed and less of the content they cared about from friends and family. In response, Facebook will implement changes to its algorithm in 2015 that seek out and throttle promotional content. Facebook will also demote those advertisers who reuse content from their ads as organic posts in the News Feed. The question of what exactly Facebook sees as promotional content won’t be completely answered until 2015 when the algorithm changes fully take place.
However, Facebook cited these examples as “consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:”
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no clear context or purpose
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from a page’s promoted ads
They also showed this example of what not to do (sorry, Bunny Puzzle Cube):
2. Changes to Make to Your Marketing Strategy
The biggest takeaway from these updates is that if you want your audience to see your posts on Facebook, you’ll have to share only those things that they’ll truly care about, and therefore, genuinely engage with.
Create content that ties into relevant events that matter to your audience:
- Facebook’s algorithm will be tracking and rewarding the positive engagement (likes, comments, shares). Marketers should aspire to create content that will get positive feedback from their audience. The more immediate, the better.
- Follow trends that your audience follows and put your brand’s spin on events that are relevant to your audience. This may go beyond creating relevant content. Boulevard Beer actually created a product – a beer – to celebrate their hometown teams’ winning streak.
Another effective tactic can be creating content that offers utility, as a way to share
- Informational articles that add value to your audiences’ lives (useful information, industry updates, etc.)
- Add your brands spin/insight into relevant industry topics for your brand that appeal to your audience members
- Host or report on events and happenings that cater towards the interests of the consumer
3. Get (Even More) Creative!
- The more visually creative you can make your messaging, the better. Facebook has expressed that it wishes brands to be more creative with their content.
- Videos have become prevalent in the News Feed and can garner views more effectively in a busy News Feed. HP produced this video by piecing together user generated Vine content. What a great way to display the product creatively without being overtly promotional!
4. Advertise on Facebook through Facebook
- Changes in Facebook’s algorithm will target any promotional content that is not formatted as an ad. In other words, advertising ON Facebook means you need to advertise THROUGH Facebook.
- You will need to format all promotional content as ads through Facebook’s ad services. If your posts purpose is to be promotional, it needs to be created as an ad, not an organic post.
- Facebook has been unclear on whether boosting qualifies as the same type of ad as those set up in the Facebook Ads Manager.
- We would recommend creating ads in Ads Manager for any content that is imperative for your audience to see and applying budget to target/reach your desired audience.
5. Be Mindful of Negative Feedback
A final thought for your 2015 Facebook strategy: Facebook will be taking negative feedback into account when throttling (or amplifying) content. When looking at Facebooks insights, go to the “Posts” tab to click on individual posts and see their positive and negative feedback. Negative feedback includes when your audience hides a post, hides all future posts, reports content as spam or unlikes your page. Take negative feedback to heart and learn to avoid content that garners negative feedback.
Negative actions, like Hide, simply mean that your audience didn’t want your content in their News Feed. Maybe it’s too promotional, maybe you advertise to them too often, maybe they don’t like the color blue in your logo. Unfortunately, no matter the reason, it will still affect how your content is throttled. Monitor your negative feedback closely and consider altering your strategy if you find your brand getting more than 5 pieces of negative feedback per post.
Most importantly, only post content on your brand’s timeline that will engage your customers positively. Not only does this mean the Facebook algorithm will work more in your favor it will make your posts more relevant, giving you a better chance at encouraging whatever conversion you’re hoping to elicit.
There’s no need to wait until 2015 to start monitoring your feedback and tweaking your strategy. As you look for a little guidance, remember to check back here on the emfluence blog for up-to-date tips.
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