“One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” –Mark Zuckerberg (CEO, Facebook)
This statement, posted on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page last month, is a bit cryptic. However, it is sure to bring about big changes in the way businesses approach marketing to their Facebook audience.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook’s latest goal is to help users “connect more with the people they care about” and find content that promotes “meaningful social interactions”. In short, less businesses, brands, and news sources will be placed on newsfeeds to make room for posts from friends, family, and other trusted sources.
So what do I predict are the biggest changes in Facebook marketing this year, and what adjustments should you begin to make in your current Facebook strategy?
The bottom line for businesses is that your paid advertising and organic content will not reach the audience in the way it once did. While paid advertising should still be part of your overall strategy, keep in mind that blanketing a variety of demographics with those ads will be less effective.
2018 will likely put more focus on using Facebook to build a “team” of brand advocates who will preach the benefits of your brand to their friends and family on your behalf. Focus on creating honest, genuine content that prompts users to comment, like, and share your posts with their friends and family. However, avoid Engagement Bait.
Ask customers to like your Facebook page
This is one of the simplest and most effective strategies to increasing your Facebook success, both before and after the Facebook changes take hold. Social media managers should not hesitate to ask family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to follow the company’s page and can even send out invitations via the social media platform to ask for page likes. To build on this tactic even more, remind loyal followers to change their news feed settings for the page to “See First”.
Simply put, the people who like your page will see more of your content.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, Facebook Live is an important tool in your marketing toolkit. Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook’s algorithm change will add importance to Live video.
Facebook’s update puts emphasis on the human experience, and what better to show that than a live, unscripted look in to your business. Facebook Live videos are great at building excitement around your brand and creating the brand advocates mentioned earlier.
Find creative ways to engage with customers
At the end of the day, Facebook marketers will need to strive for high-quality, genuine dialogue with their target consumers to consistently show up on Facebook’s news feed. Consider joining Facebook groups in your specific industry to engage with those passionate about the products you sell or may have a need for the services you provide. For instance, the skills and insights of a professional dog trainer would be very welcome in one of the many Facebook groups dedicated to dog training and behavior. Over time, members will begin to trust you and may become customers.
It’s important to note that your goal here is not to blatantly advertise (many of these groups have rules against this), but to build rapport with the group’s community over time. With any luck, the group’s influencers will be pleased with your service and convert other members into influencers as well.
Businesses must constantly evaluate their social media marketing strategies to stay competitive in an ever-changing online environment. The smart business will consider adopting out-of-the-box strategies in their social media planning for 2018.