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Facebook Newsfeed Changes
How They Affect You & 10 Tips to Master Social Media in 2018
On January 11th, Facebook announced it would implement newsfeed changes by adjusting their algorithm to favor content that promotes personal connections. As often happens when Facebook makes algorithm updates, the social media world erupted with fear and negativity.
I think it’s important to note that this will not change anything for the average business page. Most of us are posting content that is interesting or valuable, and this change will be most impactful to those who are trying to push spammy or advertising-based content. Stuff, no one wants to consume anyway.
In the words of Brett Davis of Premier Printing Solutions in Bend, Oregon, “Local small businesses that create great content are building their communities. Facebook is looking to better serve content to users that is more community-centric and I believe these small businesses are a big part of those users networks.”
I agree that this change is nothing to be concerned about. In fact, it’s mostly beneficial for everyone, even business pages!
Here’s what I believe these changes will do:
• Hold pages accountable to rules that were already in place (ie. no click-bate, no like-bate, etc.)
• Reduce the amount of noise people see in their feeds, allowing them to better engage with content they actually like
• Force pages to share content people actually want to see
• Weed out the businesses, people and pages that weren’t considering their communities when creating content
• Allow pages to track content that performs well
Having said all of that, this is a reminder that we never know what social media changes will come down the pipeline, and it’s important to have a place we put our content that will be around regardless of changes on particular platforms. I refer to this as “home base”. In my opinion, your home base should be your website. Websites aren’t going anywhere, and they will continue to serve as a space for you to post your content, get found online and interact with people for as long as the web exists.
What I love about these Facebook algorithm changes and the attention they are receiving, is that people are starting to pay attention to the top two ingredients to a successful social media strategy; great content and follower engagement.
Even if you’re already doing great, there’s always room for improvement and I’ve got lots of ideas!
10 Tips to Help You Rock Your Social Media Game in 2018
1.Set social media goals that are business and community-based, avoid vanity metrics such as Likes and Followers.
Goal setting can be challenging. We all want to jump out of the gate, full-speed ahead. This can be counter-productive when facing an ever-evolving task like social media. Start with baby steps first, then build from there.
Examples of poor social media goals:
- Gain 400 followers by the end of the first quarter
- Post to Instagram once a day, to increase website traffic by 20%
- Make more promotional graphics to push out on Facebook
Examples of excellent social media goals:
- Publish a blog post each Tuesday that will educate our followers on our processes, important dates or answer questions
Find and post useful content to Facebook 3x per week, using information from our blog, reputable sources, or other industry insiders
Increase our page reach and touch more people by creating a consistent posting schedule and content calendar
- Ask fans/followers once a month how we can help them or answer their questions to better serve our community. Post these questions and answers to our blog, Facebook, and other social media sites
To help you develop your goals, I have put together a free 7-page Social Media Goals Guide which walks you through the elements of great social media goals, creating your goals and following up on them to see if you have achieved what you set out to accomplish.
2. Create a consistent posting schedule.
I recommend 3-5 times per week, if possible. Use a scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite (both have free options) to make posting on a schedule easier. I recommend you sit down one day a week and schedule your posts for one to two weeks ahead, so you never feel “stressed” about needing to come up with content.
3. Post content that adds value.
Ok, so this one appears obvious. I would even say it IS obvious, except most people aren’t really doing it… well. I want you to really do well because when you start to see momentum, you’re going to want to keep moving. So, here’s my secret sauce to creating content people actually want to consume.
I have found 6 ways to create content that converts really, really well, here they are:
People are interested in their communities, and most want to feel engaged and plugged-in. Posting about local events, participation, volunteerism or sponsorships will help other people see you as a pillar in the community, or, at the very least, inform them of the events happening around them.
Tell Your Story-
Have you ever heard of the Hero Story? We all have one, even if we have to dig deep to find it. Be vulnerable with your followers, talk about your trials, tribulations and triumphs. Even if your story is a little “vanilla”, people will be interested in knowing how you got your start.
Rock Your Niche-
Look, you’re likely (hopefully!) in your industry because you love it and you know it well. Share this passion by telling people things they wouldn’t otherwise know about what goes on “behind the scenes” answer questions, talk about processes, share techniques, or educate people about little-known facts in your industry.
There is a lot to be said about the Facebook Algorithm Changes… They’ve clearly caught on to the negativity that many people have seen and felt over the past few years as Facebook has grown and become a breeding ground for politics, opinions and even online bullying. You have a great opportunity to be a ray of sunshine and inspire your followers. You can tell inspirational stories, post quotes or just simply be a positive presence online.
People severely underestimate the power of educating their followers. This is hands-down the easiest and quickest way to get serious engagement and grow your fan base. Many people resist doing it because they don’t want their competitors to know what they do that makes them succeed. Don’t fall into this trap… If you’re already doing something and doing it well, you’re way ahead of the race. Also, you are the only you in the universe. So, even if your competitors did know your secret ingredients to success, they couldn’t implement it exactly the same way. However, you will be empowering people around you, and that’s powerful! This can be accomplished by educating followers on your product, industry, or processes. Provide tips, valuable information, tutorials, or how-tos that will add value and inform people.
If you’re a funny person, be funny! Tell jokes (ideally, appropriate ones), make memes, create videos, whatever works for you, do that.
Whatever you choose to do, always be authentic to what is natural to you. This is the ONLY thing that will ever work.
4. Post the TYPES of content people want to consume.
In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.” We know video gets exponentially more interaction that plain, text links. However, people are still posting them. This is often because people think more=better, when in fact, higher quality content=winning. The best types of content to post on Facebook are very visual in nature and get to the point very quickly (under 15 seconds).You can accomplish this with videos, photos or engaging visuals.
*If you haven’t noticed, people have gone GIF crazy on Facebook because they are fun, interactive and quickly tell more in one interactive photo than a person could say in 200 words.
5. Be accessible to your fans.
Don’t simply push content and walk away. Remain accessible to people by interacting with them when possible. This means you like or respond to their comments, respond to direct messages and engage when possible.
6. Don’t use Facebook just because we tell you should.
Look, if you’re just on Facebook because all the “gurus” tell you that’s where you need to be, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and everyone that follows you. Why? When we do things out of obligation, our hearts aren’t in it. We will be lackluster at best, and we won’t get the results we’re seeking, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. In marketing, business and life, you do you!
7. Host fun contests.
I feel the need to highlight a few things here. First, it’s important to keep the emphasis on fun here. Give your fans something to interact with and give away a prize they will love. It doesn’t have to cost a lot or be super fancy. Second, do NOT ask people to like or share your page or your post. Not only is this against Facebook’s Terms of Service, it is a bad user experience for your fans. If you’re doing everything else correctly, you shouldn’t need to hold free stuff over people to get them to engage with you. For more help on running a Facebook Contest, download my free Facebook Contest Checklist, complete with the information you need to successfully run a contest on Facebook, like setting a budget and choosing an app to randomly pick a winner and more.
8. Create a Facebook group.
Facebook groups are more intimate that pages and allow you to interact with people on a more personal level. In addition to creating a two-way street of communication with a group, you can see who has viewed posts. Groups do not replace Facebook pages, but they are a great supplement and work well for businesses that have a niche that requires customer communication and/or regular interaction. For example, a local restaurant may want to create a group for their events if they happen regularly, as this will allow locals to have a central place to go for information on the events they want to attend. Realtors® can utilize Facebook groups by creating groups specifically for local buyers, community-focused groups, or groups that cater to a specific neighborhood (information, events, news and more). In each industry, you can find an authentic reason to start a group that will add value to many people, while allowing you to establish your authority and expertise.
9. Audit content regularly.
The single most valuable tool I have at my disposal as a marketer is the social media audit. I began using this technique nearly six years ago, and have continued to use it to this day. An audit can be as simple or complex as you would like, but the basic concept is this:
Every 3 to 6 months, look over your Facebook page and note the following-
- Number of followers on your page
- Interaction on the past 5 posts include reactions, shares, etc.
- Note the piece of content that got the most interaction, what was it?
For a more in-depth look at this process, download my free 17-page Social Media Audit Guide which will guide you through a full social media audit process on the top social media channels and websites (including news and blog mentions). If you complete the audit, you will have a well-rounded look at your online presence, what you are doing very well, and what you can improve.
10. Keep going, even when it feels like you’re talking to yourself.
Building an interested and interactive audience takes time, and often attention spans are so small, people won’t hit the reaction or share buttons. This could be an indication that you need to pivot your strategy, but it is not a sign that you should give up and walk away, unless you weren’t that into it anyway. In my experience, it takes a solid three to six months just to learn the voice of an account and get into the flow of what works best for that account. If your content is good and you’re staying consistent, give yourself some grace and be patient, the results will eventually come.
What Facebook has to say about the recent algorithm changes
Mark Zuckerberg addressed the Facebook algorithm changes, here’s what he said…
“One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.
We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.
But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.
We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.
The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.
Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.
Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.
At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”