Facebook released an algorithm update in early February that nearly set the marketing world on fire. The changes were designed to prioritize content from family and friends, making brands fear that they’d be left in the cold.
But brands don’t need to change their relationship status with Facebook just yet. After taking the new algorithm for a test drive over the past few months, we’ve identified some tips that have helped our clients remain successful.
Active vs. Passive Engagement:
Before we get into the ways you can get ahead with the new algorithm, let’s look at what interactions Facebook rewards.
The shift to prioritize content from family and friends means that you see more updates about your second cousin’s baby. But it doesn’t mean that her posts are taking the place of your brand’s content. Here’s why:
There are two types of engagement:
- Active Engagement: Commenting, Sharing, Tagging, Replying
- Passive Engagement: Clicking, Watching, Hovering
Facebook rewards active engagement. So if your second cousin happens to love your brand’s content enough to actively engage with it on Facebook, it will then show up among her family and friend’s news feeds, furthering your brand’s visibility.
This doesn’t mean running ads on Facebook is a family affair, just that organic visibility will be harder to come by. The easiest way to crack this algorithm is to make content for the people and not exclusively for your brand.
Remember the 80-20 rule: 80% of your content should be informative, educational and entertaining. The other 20% should promote your brand.
1. Use Facebook Live
“Live Videos get 6X as many interactions as regular videos.”
— Adam Mosseri, Facebook Head of News Feed
As scary as “going live” sounds, it can be a great tool in your arsenal. Because the content of live video happens in real time, viewers feel as though they are more involved and there aren’t expectations for high quality camera shots.
We host live educational segments for one of our medical clients, which allows us to share important health information in an engaging format where the audience can ask questions in real-time. Other examples of live video ideas for brands include breaking news, exclusive interviews and broadcasting live events.
The longer you stay live, the better. Give yourself at least 30 minutes of airtime to allow more people to join and engage with you. There’s no need to be camera shy.
2. Share UGC
User Generated Content (UGC) is the most cost-effective content you can get. Most of this content is unplanned (unless prompted by a contest or direct ask) and free. And it serves as a testament to the super fans of your brand. In our experience, UGC nearly gets double the engagement when compared to brand content.
By giving the microphone to your fans they feel a sense of ownership over your brand, creating loyalty that’s hard to come by.
3. Start a Conversation
Comments are a great example of active engagement, which Facebook rewards with increased visibility. But those comments must be considered meaningful interaction.
Avoid engage-bait, which are common one-word answers and numbers. The audience becomes uninterested and unsatisfied with the stimulation served—the content is belittling and will be demoted by Facebook.
We use “talk triggers” to initiate compelling conversation. When the copy is remarkable, repeatable, reasonable and relevant, you can generate authentic conversations and your content will appear in more news feeds.
“Comment ‘YES’ if you breathe air!”
It’s Friday the 13th—what scary movie will you be watching?
4. Leverage Influencers
An influencer can deliver your message without it feeling forced. They also allow you to reach new audiences that aren’t following your page yet.
Their fans feel as though they’re getting a third party opinion while also being entertained by their favorite personalities.
But influencers are facing the same algorithm challenges as brands. To overcome this, they’re creating content that’s tailored to their core followers. As a result, they’re acquiring more active followers as opposed to passive followers.
In the past, influencers’ content was only seen by approximately 30% of their followers. But now they’re seeing the number of engaged users grow. This is a win for the influencers and the brand that partners with them.
When partnering with an influencer, we always ensure our values and ideas align. Otherwise, the partnership doesn’t make sense for either party, regardless of the likes you may get.
No matter what you do, be sure to ask yourself these questions to help develop engaging content that Facebook will reward:
- What are your audience’s challenges?
- What are their motivations?
- What do they love?
- What do they care about?