Marketing your business on Facebook – All you need to know

Amidst the rise of new social media platforms, Facebook shows no signs of abating. Last year it enjoyed a 17% spike, and now has more than 2 billion daily active users.

However, despite its growing numbers it is now harder than ever to engage with this audience, thanks to changes to Facebook’s algorithms earlier this year.

Meaningful conversations

Facebook for business

Photo credit: Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Algor-whatims? Algorithms are a set of guidelines that describe how to perform a task. This is something we do in everyday life – from following a recipe, to riding a course – you have to follow certain steps, in an exact order, to achieve the right result.

Facebook’s task is to keep users on its platform. It does this by using a sophisticated algorithm that arranges posts in a user’s news feed, according to how likely they are to interact with the content. The guidelines are based on who they are (age, gender, location, political beliefs, income, sexuality etc.), and also on the quality of the content.

Facebook are constantly tweaking these algorithms, and the latest change at the beginning of 2018 puts content that creates “meaningful conversations” higher up a user’s news feed.

According to Facebook: “These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”

Key interaction signals:

Clicking, watching and hovering don’t count. Here are the three key interaction signals:

  1. Comments – posts that generate meaningful comments and replies will rank higher in the news feed.
  2. Shares – sharing posts publicly (by friends on a timeline) or privately (using messenger) are the second most important ranking signal.
  3. Reactions – cute emoji’s that enable users to express themselves (love, haha, wow, sad, angry etc.) are another sign that users want to see that type of post.

What does this mean for public content?

With posts from friends and family that start conversations taking precedence, Facebook is inevitably showing less content from businesses.

It is now more important than ever for your page to engage with your users and spark a reaction.

Here are some tips on ensuring your content appears on that all-important news feed.

  1. Post content that starts conversations
  • News – post content on stuff that is going on right now. If it’s on people’s minds, they are more likely to take part in the conversation.
  • Videos – video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Live video is particularly effective – see more on this below.
  • Personal stories – everyone wants to know the brain behind the brand, so make sure your posts are personal. Treat your followers like friends and you will create relationships that inspire trust, loyalty and ultimately the holy grail of social media – engagement.
  • Responses – your job isn’t done once you’ve hit post. Reply to comments and talk to your followers. It will keep the conversation going, which will push your posts up the news feed.
  • Advice – people use Facebook as a place to get advice and recommendations. By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, users will want to share your content.
  1. Understand your audience

You can only create meaningful interactions, if you share content your followers find meaningful. If you trigger an emotional response they will want to comment, share or react.

To do this you have to understand your followers. What makes them laugh or cry? What are their daily challenges? What motivates them or drives them nuts?

  1. Embrace live video

Live video on Facebook receives an average six times as many interactions as regular videos.

  1. Avoid engagement bait

According to Facebook, engagement bait that goads people into commenting on posts does not create meaningful interactions, and they will demote these posts in your news feed. You have been warned!

  1. Encourage people to follow your page

People who follow your page will still see your content in their news feed – especially if they set their news feed preferences to ‘See First’. So offer incentives to follow you.

  1. Start a Facebook group

Groups are the perfect way to build an active and engaged community around topics they care about. They are used by more than a billion people around the world and are a key part of the Facebook experience. Groups are a great place to share your content with like-minded users, so get involved with an existing group. Better still, start your own.

  1. Paid reach

Organic reach has been declining for a number of years, and many businesses use paid ads to reach their audience. If you don’t already do this, now is the time to invest. Check out this great guide from Hootsuite on how to effectively advertise on Facebook.

For more great advice, get in touch to find out how we can help you make an impact with your marketing. We provide a range of services, from social media to strategic marketing management, and athlete representation to international services.