Facebook changes their algorithm regularly as they continue to try to provide the best experience possible for both users and advertisers on the platform.
And while they never completely spill the beans on what the new changes entail, we do know that one of the most recent updates places a higher value than ever on content that users actively engage with and focuses on creating “meaningful interactions”.
Zuckerberg announced back in January that, “Facebook [was] making a major change to the News Feed that will show you more content from friends and family and less from publishers”. Sounds bad for businesses, right? No —
As per Alaura Weaver for Medium: “[This update represents]…a huge opportunity for story-driven content marketing strategy— here’s why: When you tell meaningful stories, they spark meaningful conversations…”
And so as business marketers, “…instead of focusing on what makes content popular and attention-grabbing, we need to focus on what makes content personal and conversation-worthy”.
Social Content to Start Conversations
Smart marketers always create content with their audience(s) in mind. Now we need to take that a step further and see every piece of content as a potential (and hopeful) conversation-starter.
Note: Don’t be a afraid to post a little less often if it means creating more (and better) posts that will create meaningful interactions and valuable engagements with those target audiences.
Your Strategic Social Media Marketing Plan should address — among lots else — the needs and preferences of your target audiences, an analysis of your competitors’ best social posts, your brand’s key messaging, and how your social content will combine all of that with timely, engaging content and clear calls-to-action. (Don’t have a Facebook Marketing Strategy yet? You need one.)
Do This Now for Better Social Posts
But what can you do today to make sure your Facebook marketing strategy addresses this new opportunity/challenge? Here are 3 things to try right now as you curate your brand’s Facebook Business Page:
Use More Video
It’s impossible to overstate the value of using video on Facebook. 2018 stats show that on average Facebook gets 8 billion video views per day. That’s an audience so big that brands can’t afford to ignore it. Facebook videos get approximately 135% more organic reach than posts with photos.
Jules Blundell, in her book Capture More Customers with Video, notes that people remember video better than text — almost seven times better, and that “consumers who watch a product video or video review are almost twice as likely to make a purchase than those who do not”.
Video has traditionally performed well on Facebook and with the increasing popularity of Facebook Live, it’s not going anywhere. MediaKix found that Facebook Live videos get comments at 10x the rate of non-Live videos. Live videos are also watched three times longer than non-Live ones.
Video Wins on Social Media
So they get watched more, watched longer, engaged with more, and encourage more “Buy Now” interactions than almost anything else on Facebook. If your brand isn’t posting video yet, plan to do it soon!
Creating video used to be an expensive proposition but these days it doesn’t have to be. A late model smartphone will have all the camera you need to get started, but for best results pair it with a good quality microphone, decent lighting and a background that won’t distract from what you’re trying to say. Remember to speak slowly, smile, and plan to do a couple of takes so you can use your best one.
Stuck for video ideas? Q and A’s, quick tutorials, or a weekly “How To” all make great, engaging videos. A quick video is an excellent way to address any confusion your customers have or to answer a frequently asked question.
Note: In the absence of a great video, use a great image. Like video, posts with images get exponentially more (and proven) engagement than posts without pics.
Use Boosted Posts
Facebook Boosted Posts let you pay to put your content in front of the audience of your choice. Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform, period. Unless you have the reach of a late night talk show host or the popularity of a major motion picture, organic results will not be enough to grow your following or achieve that meaningful engagement mentioned above on their own. So, most definitely, play to Boost some (many) of your posts.
As always, spend your ad dollars wisely. Boost your top performing posts because they have already proven themselves. Don’t be afraid to boost a post more than once. A good quality post is likely to get a similar amount of engagement the second time it is posted, provided you don’t repost it too quickly. Experiment with different audience settings for your boosted posts and track the stats carefully. Find what works best for your audience.
Need help? Here’s a good primer on Facebook Boosted Posts (and social ads in general) from Stir’s expert social team.
Follow the Rules
First things first, it’s important to follow Facebook’s rules. Your audience can’t react to your content if they can’t see it. Keep up-to-date with Facebook’s current rules and posting guidelines (especially Facebook Page Guidelines for businesses) to ensure that your posts are never paused or banned.
Some of the rules are straightforward — no profanity or banned topics — while others can be easier to miss. Here are 3 commonly overlooked posting rules:
- Text on images
Planning a Facebook ad or Boosted Post with an image?
If you’re adding text to an image and you’re going to use it as an ad, it has to follow Facebook’s “20% Rule”. That is, the text cannot cover more than 20% of the image. There’s a quick tool from Facebook that will show you if your image meets the requirement or not. Facebook also has a list of exceptions to the 20% rule — for things like book titles, product images or video games. An ad with an image that breaks the rule won’t be approved, and a boosted post with an image that breaks the rule may either be declined, or run with very restricted visibility.
- The images themselves
You can post anything you want on your personal Facebook Profile, and — really — you can post anything you want on your business’ Facebook Page too (but you shouldn’t!).
The posting strategy for your business’ Facebook Page should include professional posts and images/videos that follow the business world’s tacit rules for what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Facebook takes that a step further when it comes to images intended for ads/boosting. Here are some image guidelines via PostPlanner:
- Images must not exploit political, sexual or sensitive issues
- They must not use shock or scare tactics
- They can’t be overly sexual, imply nudity … or focus unnecessarily on body parts
- Images must not portray nonexistent functionality
- They must not use Facebook … logos, icons and alert notification graphics
Luckily, Facebook provides its own list of Facebook ad image rules for your reference. Interesting ones include:
- No before/after pics! “Ads must not contain “before-and-after” images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results…”
- No “penny auctions” or multi-level marketing
- No auto-audio or flash animation that starts on its own
- The rules will change
This is the most important “rule” for staying compliant with Facebook’s guidelines for ads and Boosted Posts. Facebook changes its algorithms and policies often so plan to review these frequently.
Worth the effort!
Will it make a difference? Yes! Using proven-powerful social post content (like images/video) will help your posts better-resonate with your target audience. And following Facebook’s rules around images will ensure your content is seen by as many people as possible.
Of course, there’s much, much more that you can do to maximize social growth for your brand — and we can help. If your Facebook Business Page isn’t living up to its potential, Stir’s team of social media experts can help you to craft and execute a built-for-success social strategy. Contact Stir Marketing today.