Last Friday, Mark Zuckerberg announced changes to the Facebook algorithm, which will once again alter the content users see and engage with.
In a nutshell, non-advertising brand content will get even less visibility and people will see more content from family and friends. If you thought Facebook was throttling what your community sees as a brand, this change will only tighten that squeeze and ensure that you promote content to gain visibility.
Here are five ways you can still engage effectively with your community:
Engage with micro-influencers more
A Forbes article describes micro-influencers as “everyday consumers who have a significant social media following of anywhere between 1 000 and 100 000”. These are trusted individuals who share information about brands that they have an affinity with, it’s more authentic. In recent times, more and more individuals have been branding themselves as influencers on the back of brands they engage with – and over time this leads to lack of trust – which is what makes influencers more effective than traditional brand communication. Look for micro-influencers in your community, individuals who already talk about your brand or your product category and give them more access to your work and products. If they find value in talking about your brand to their friends and network, you both win. This will be one of the most effective ways to further grow your community and encourage brand interaction, it also doesn’t necessarily need to live on a page. All this can happen organically among people and you can initiate it with your efforts.
Groups may grow
Long before Facebook pages, groups were popular and they enabled closed common interest engagement which was great at the time, but pages very quickly took off and they served as brand advertising platforms over time. We predict that groups may come into play once again, but this has to be done smartly if brands are to win at it. Instead of using groups to advertise products, these spaces are great for industry discussions and engagement. Some brands have already been using groups to organise their common interest communities. Their notification ability ensures that people know when a friend or contact has posted a story or commented in the group. These trust circles can improve engagement because they take social media to the social inner circle once again. If you are Canon or Levi, it may be worthwhile opening up discussions on style and how to take the best photos as a novice. Banking brands can talk smart banking and ways to save better for that dream holiday.
More engaging content and ads
According to the announcement, that sent Facebook stock tumbling and lost Mark Zuckerberg an estimated US$3.3 billion, the social network wants users to spend more meaningful time on the platform – as opposed to passive engagement with content. This means more engaging ads may still rise above the clutter as more brands compete even more limited user attention. A clear campaign objective can help you to structure a clear single-minded message that is not too copy heavy. Many brands are tempted to add as much they can in their campaign to engage with customers, but this doesn’t work on Facebook and any social media platform. Brands should rather spend less on more campaigns and track engagement to see what resonates.
Curate more content on owned platforms
Your audience is still searching for useful, valuable content that can help them to make more informed buying decisions and this can live on your platforms. The company blog with relevant, punchy information is not dead, and if this comes up in search for your chosen demographic, the brand will continue to rise. Owned platforms seem to have taken a backseat in some instances and this change in the Facebook news feed is reason to sharpen up and answer customer questions with useful content.
Invest in your non-social media community
Clients leave clues everywhere which can tell you what questions they are asking and what information they are looking for. These questions can be answered in newsletters, videos, apps and other tools that help to build and engage your brand or interest community. This also has the ability to let brands build their brand evangelist communities without being overly reliant on platforms like Facebook.
In the end, you want to reach out to people with as little hindrance as possible and building this on your platform can ensure that there are less distractions and you increase conversion over time.
There have been many changes to the Facebook news feed and there are always brands that make it work. This one may affect social media advertising budgets as brand page visibility is decreased, and these ideas can help improve things as you look for other ways to interact better with your community. It will be useful to generate engaging content, which hasn’t changed.
We will continue to follow these developments as they unfold and share some of our findings.
Please let us know what you think will help to grow brand engagement in light of these developments.
Mongezi Mtati founded WordStart to help companies generate buzz around their products and services among South African influencers. He is passionate about helping brands to connect the dots from social media, digital data and human interactions outside the web.