The following is an exclusive guest contributed post by Joe Matthews, co-founder and CEO of Tagkast.
Over the last decade, Facebook has evolved from a small network of college students to a site with billions of users worldwide. Throughout this gradual change, marketers have taken advantage of the site’s loyal user base and wide reach. Soon, branded Facebook pages became the norm, and the typical news feed was filled with a mix of content created by friends, family and brands.
But, Facebook is hoping to take the site back to its roots by providing each user with an experience that is less commercialized. Facebook’s most recent algorithm update shows users content from the friends and family they interact with most on the site. The algorithm also favors visual posts and avoids pushing branded content to news feeds. While marketers may believe that this means the glory days of Facebook marketing are over, it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than giving up, brands need to adjust their strategies to meet Facebook’s changing preferences.
Here are three Facebook features that marketers need to keep in mind when adjusting strategies for marketing campaigns:
Facebook favors user-generated content over posts that are created by a brand. So, a brand’s Facebook posts will show up in more news feeds and reach exponentially more consumers if users share them. To encourage sharing, brand posts should not be overly promotional, but should be compelling, timely and informative. Consumers are more likely to share something that tells a story and creates an experience.
Brands can also take advantage of the user-generated preference by encouraging users to post about their brand experience on their own. Offer incentives for consumers to post images of products or events related to your brand. Create hashtags that are timely and relevant to your consumers’ interests that will encourage them to post relevant content. Brands should plant the seed with their messaging, but let Facebook’s preference for user-generated content spread it throughout its network of billions of users.
Facebook will also push photos and videos to the tops of news feeds. The new layout displays photos much larger, creates collages of multiple photos posted by a user and automatically plays videos. Marketers should take advantage of this by posting more photos and videos along with the content they’re sharing on the site. In fact, marketers can generate up to 94 percent more views and significantly boost engagement levels by incorporating compelling visuals into their social posts.
And brands should make sure that this visual content has consistent branding and voice. Photos and visuals should always include a logo, hashtag or tagline to make sure that the brand messaging doesn’t get overshadowed as the content is shared from consumer to consumer. It’s easy for content to get lost among the noise created by Facebook’s billions of users each day.
To expand reach, marketers should also take advantage of Facebook’s tagging feature. When a post is tagged, it links to specific user profiles and is then accessible by that user’s entire network. So, by tagging a few dozen consumers in a photo, it can reach tens of thousands more.
The tagging feature is also a great way to get more consumers to interact with your content. Since Facebook prohibits a brand from tagging consumers in posts, brands need to encourage followers to tag themselves or friends. For example, if a brand sponsors an event and posts an image of the event, that brand could offer incentives for consumers who were present to tag themselves. This forces consumers to visit your page, find the photo and tag themselves.
While many brands are worried that Facebook’s algorithm changes will prevent them from engaging with consumers in the same way, brands can actually take advantage of the site’s changes by implementing a proper social sharing strategy. By using branded visuals and encouraging tagging and peer-to-peer sharing, brands can still use Facebook to reach both current and new customers.