Facebook’s recent algorithm changes have left some businesses feeling left out in the cold. Try these tips to regain your reach on the platform and get your content in front of customers.
If Mark Zuckerberg meets his 2018 personal challenge of fixing Facebook, time users spend on the social platform will soon be more enjoyable.
As he explained in a note earlier this year, Facebook will work to strengthen social interaction over passive content consumption. “When we use social media to connect with people, that correlates with long term measures of well-being you’d expect, like happiness and health. But passively watching videos or reading articles may not have those same effects,” he wrote.
On a personal level, that may give some users relief — but it may make using the platform for business more challenging. We’re losing ad targeting options and are working under limited, stricter Messenger chatbot and app review processes.
Organic social media tactics — that is, ways we use Facebook to reach our audiences for free — are changing. If you own a small business, you may be wondering what you’re supposed to do. Organic views on your unpaid posts is becoming a thing of the past, and you may not have the money or time to throw at Facebook ads.
Remember that sharing links on your brand’s Facebook page isn’t the only way to distribute your content. It’s not even the only way to distribute content on Facebook. In fact, there are lots of other ways to reach your audience on the platform.
Try these five tips to get started.
1. Drive User-Generated Shares
Image via Eugenio Marongiu.
Zuckerberg’s post at the beginning of the year, along with several conversations since, placed focus on the fact that your own friends and family will be getting more attention in the news feed algorithm. Some businesses hear that and think their Facebook presence is all but dead. But, this is actually an amazing opportunity for you if you’ve built an active community, either on Facebook or elsewhere.
Given the power of word-of-mouth marketing and peer recommendations, this presents a great time to leverage user-generated content (UGC). Instead of generating your own content as the main component of your Facebook strategy, focus on building a strategy that drives your customers to create content about you instead.
Try creating a marketing campaign where customers posting content with a hashtag. This doesn’t require any content creation from your business aside from the campaign assets themselves. Or, if you have a website with lots of content and you’re looking for a way to distribute it on Facebook, optimize the content’s call-to-action to encourage visitors to share your content on social media.
Customers sharing brand-related content from their personal accounts can help you reach out to a wider audience. UGC also presents a new opportunity for your brand’s page. People get excited and share if their own content is featured by a business, which can give your organic content a boost in engagement.
2. Partner with Influencers
Image via Lightfield Studios.
In addition to friends and family, influencers remain one of the most effective ways to reach more of your target audience. According to a report on the state of influencer marketing, 86 percent of marketers used influencer marketing in 2017, and 92 percent of that group found it effective.
Partnering with influential users, local personalities, or other businesses is a way to team up and reach both your audiences at once. Given how engaged influencers’ audiences can be, they’ve likely been hit less hard by the algorithm changes than more traditional brands and business models. That means collaborating with influencers can create a loophole for brands that see a decline in their reach.
Like with user-generated content, there are two ways to make use of your partnership. You can have the influencer create and share original content that your brand supports. Or, post content from your page and have them share it and drive their audience to interact with it.
3. Go Live
Image via Africa Studio.
To combat decreasing reach, focus your Facebook strategy on creating live content instead of sharing things from other places or typing out a quick update. It’s more noticeable, more engaging, and can still drive clicks and other important results.
For example, instead of simply sharing a blog post, go live from your desk and talk your audience through some of the information. Provide a link to the rest in the video’s description.
Live video, while daunting, is intimate and casual. It’s also one the easiest types of video content to create. You might even replace forms of content like blog posts with livestreams to post on your website later.
4. Cultivate a Community Group
Image via VGstockstudio.
There’s also the option of supplementing your Facebook page with a linked group. Last year Facebook made improvements to groups that made it easier to manage one for customers and communities.
Groups give you a more direct line to your business’s Facebook audience. It also makes two-way conversations easier — both between you and your audience members and them with each other. It’s more interactive than a page, which makes it ideal for brands that want to use their content to start conversations with their online community.
You can align your group with your marketing strategy however you see fit. Focus on customers, or a larger community whose needs your business serves.
5. Retarget Your Audience
Image via YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV.
Sometimes it’s worth it to put money behind your Facebook content. If you have content to share and an existing audience to share it with, as Buffer did, retargeting using Facebook custom audiences can see high engagement and low cost per click.
Boost posts to your existing audience, or use custom audiences to target your website visitors and email list. Reaching this established audience can get quicker results than building trust with cold audiences. It’s also a great ongoing strategy to keep your existing audience engaged with your content.
Even if you don’t do anything else with Facebook ads, this is an affordable way to keep your existing audience engaged.
Get Creative to Stay Visible
Businesses are worried about their futures on Facebook. But as long as your audience is active there, there will be ways it can benefit your business. While organic text and photo posts on your Facebook page may not have the same impact they used to, staying visible in your audience’s feeds is just a matter of getting creative and building new strategies.
Experiment with new formats like live video. Drive community with groups and UGC. Leverage the latest influencer craze. You have plenty of exciting options, so start finding what works for your business.
Top image via YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV.
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