In January, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced the platform would undergo another drastic overhaul, this time further affecting the reach companies would have on its audience. Citing a responsibility to reduce Facebook’s negative impact on its users, Zuckerberg makes no secret that companies will need to put in considerably more effort to maintain its audience.
Fortunately, this can actually be a great thing for you.
The key point to take away from the upcoming Facebook changes is turning the focus away from passive content. Passive content refers to the deals, videos and generally uninteresting articles that publishers post in an effort to gain more likes and followers. By engaging with your audience, you’ll stand the greatest chance of standing out now more than ever.
1. Create actively engaging content
Zuckerberg’s plan is to prioritize pages that promote “meaningful interaction,” which essentially means content with quality comments, not just tagging a seemingly infinite amount of friends. Posts that prompt users to share with friends and start conversations are the most likely to maintain organic reach.
What this means is that brands should focus less on quantity of content and instead lean towards posts that will create new conversation that users wouldn’t have had otherwise.
How can you do this? Add questions to post relevant to current events. Whatever will get your readers talking, ask them something about it. When friends and family see their loved ones conversing on quality content, they’ll see your content as well and are much more likely to interact.
2. Live video won’t go away
Traditional prerecorded videos are another type of passive content as far as Facebook is concerned, but that doesn’t mean you should count out video completely. Love it or hate it, live video content is the new holy grail for audience interaction on the platform.
Even before the upcoming algorithm changes, live videos already have six times the level of engagement than standard videos produce, and Facebook wants to zero in on engagement as a priority. The company only wants to promote videos that people are more likely to interact with, and what better than a live video in which a representative directly answers questions?
The goal is obvious: In addition to written quality content, it’s important to strive for live videos that will initiate conversation between users without having to worry about algorithms for each interaction.
3. Seriously, tone down on quantity
It won’t be enough to have quality content with plenty of comments on your page. Small publishers that automate any part of the process, especially in the case of posting links to the latest blog post without any description, are most likely to be penalized in reach.
When social media was young, this minimalist strategy was acceptable, but this has not been the case since at least 2014. Local and niche communities may manage as pre-existing engagement is already high, but this is more of an exception that proves the rule.
Now, Facebook also announces in its list of upcoming changes that pages posting content without any real amount of engagement will suffer the most in distribution. While Facebook didn’t outline the specifics of what that means, it seems likely that pages with posts that have zero reacts or comments simply won’t be shown to other users.
In other words, get rid of the automatic queue and post only the best content you have. Take all the energy you’d put into creating a bare-link post and work instead of creating meaningful discussions.
4. Encourage users to set filters–and take advantage of your own
Another way to stand out in the midst of decreasing Facebook reach is a tool that’s been around for a while but gains much importance in the wake of the upcoming updates: the “See First” news feed setting.
The setting makes such a difference that you absolutely should not shy away from specifically showing users how to enable to “See First” option and remind them how much help it would be for your company reach. In fact, it would even be worth asking new customers to follow you on Facebook.
Another way to take advantage of Facebook filters to thwart declining organic reach is to get better at Facebook ads. As the company gets smarter with how it prioritizes its content from brands, so too must you be smarter with target demographics and how to stretch those advertising dollars.
5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
It’s the unfortunate truth that opportunities of all different sizes come and go. While nobody would be quick to claim Facebook was on its way out, sudden changes like this can serve as a jarring reminder that relying on any one platform for a huge portion of marketing ROI isn’t usually sound business advice.
In an effort to reduce the reach of influential but fake content, Facebook aims to reduce the overall reach of business content, prioritizing posts from friends and family–individual users. Where this line will be drawn remains to be seen, but Facebook’s goal to increase shareholder value is sure to eventually arrive where brands must pay the cost.
What can you do about this? Think about expanding your reach to other social media platforms. A similar number of users actively use WhatsApp and Viber, for example, compared to Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook. You needn’t bring your entire Facebook marketing plan to a halt–just prepare for any future fall to hurt as little as possible.
The main takeaway to gather from these strategies is to work with the flow of the company and become more of an influencer than just another company trying to gain a wider audience.