Facebook has become a real pay-to-play marketplace just like TV, radio, and more traditional media has been for years. In January 2018, they rolled out a new algorithm that basically prioritizes content from friends and family, as well as business content that gets actual engagement. Other than that, the organic reach of page and business posts is at an all-time low. With numbers that were often in the 2 percent range anyway, the days of “free” social media marketing, at least on Facebook, are over.
Is this bad news? Not necessarily. Advanced targeting software means you can pinpoint ads to those who are really interested in your products or services. Want to market to Minnesota Vikings fans in Boise, Idaho who also like dogs? Done deal. This means at the least the ads and boosted posts will be worth the money.
Facebook is also a place many customers go to find reviews of the companies they will do business with. This means that whatever your relationship with the social network, marketing there matters, as does gathering reviews from those who like and follow you there.
So how do companies use Facebook to attract a younger, wider audience? Here are some quick tips and a guide of how to use Facebook in the coming year.
The one thing we know about the new Facebook algorithm is that engagement is driving visibility. This applies to both your personal and business pages. Facebook has already changed the way marketers reach their customers, and engagement is already an important part of a good social media solution. If you are already writing great content that produces engagement, this is not a problem for you at all. Keep doing what you are doing.
There can be no argument that Facebook has changed the way companies market themselves. However, the pay-for-play model now changes things once again. For many companies who do not have much of a social media budget anyway, free promotions mean creativity.
This means a great deal of time and dedication to content creation. Just throwing up a link to your blog post will no longer have a meaningful impact, and the likelihood is that you will not get any engagement at all.
Instead, posts that contain surveys, ask questions, or make statements that spark discussions and conversations in the comments along with likes and shares will be the ones that make their way to the top of the news feed. However, it is not enough for your post to just go viral. Photos of your new German Shepherd might perform well, but they will not lead to conversions on your website.
More than ever before, relevant content that is also entertaining and engaging is what matters most. It is because of this that many companies do not do well on social media and consider it a wasted effort. It does not have to be, though. WIth boosted posts and ads, along with content that is legitimately worthwhile, you can generate engagement and organic results.
Video and other content
There is no doubt that video is the future of marketing, and short-form video tends to have a larger impact, in part due to shorter consumer attention spans. However, it is about more than that. Live videos tend to get six times the engagement of other types of video on Facebook, which means that this is where the younger audience is paying attention.
If you can involve your community in interaction with live videos, and perhaps get some of them to join you in live-streaming projects, you will gain even more engagement. Boosting these videos through ad spend will make the impact will even greater.
Still, video is not the only content on the rise. Short-form blog posts, images, and more still have an impact, and in some cases it might be even greater than video depending on your audience. The key is testing. Test and promote different kinds of content, and look at what your competition is doing and the interaction they are getting.
It’s not just about getting your video to have the most views, but instead it is about what people say and do once they see the video. Remember, just as with photos or other types of content, what matters is not only engagement, but relevant engagement.
Expand your community
Companies that are attracting a younger, wider audience on Facebook deliberately target those audiences. Sounds like a no brainer, yes? Yet targeting and expanding your community are often overlooked on all social media, not just Facebook. So how do you get more people to like your pages and join your Facebook community?
- Hold Events: Local events, online events — anything that will interest your audience and get them to interact with your brand are huge. Many breweries, restaurants, and museums are using events to increase engagement and bring younger customers physically to their place of business.
- Contests and Giveaways: These drive engagement and can work to expand your audience as well or better than any other techniques. These are easy to set up with online programs like Rafflecopter. Just be sure you give away something relevant to your business and worthwhile.
- Invite Those Who Like Your Boosted Posts: As you boost posts and run ads, people will see them who do not already like your page. Facebook lets you invite them to join your community so they will see future updates. Use this to increase your audience.
Here are some staggering numbers for you:
- There are 1.1 billion active users daily on Facebook
- Almost 57 percent of users only access Facebook on a mobile device
- 81 percent of Facebook revenue came from mobile usage
- The number of mobile users rises every day
If your brand only engages a fraction of that audience, especially younger users, you will have struck literal marketing gold. Actively working to expand your community is key.
Shareable content is king
The now-aging adage that content is king is still true, but more than ever it is shareable content that matters most. This means your content must have an element that not only answers your customers questions or needs, but is so informative that it compels them to share it with their social circle. Shallow content is more useless than ever.
This is also in part due to Google and their continuous updates. The search engine is getting smarter, and content that pleases users gets top priority. Artificial intelligence and machine learning makes this process automated rather than sites needing manual review. Content that goes to the top of Google also becomes more popular on social media, so creating great, sharable content enables you to kill two birds with one stone.
The hard truth is
by Frankie Wallace