From Sprout Social:
The Facebook algorithm often feels like a mystery, doesn’t it?
Perhaps that’s why Facebook’s recent announcement to push back against branded content in 2018 has so many businesses sweating.
In a moment of transparency from Mark Zuckerberg himself, Facebook seemingly laid down the gauntlet against marketers and brands at large.
And as a result, brands are rightfully concerned about their organic reach on the platform.
However, the recent Facebook algorithm changes don’t necessarily signal a death sentence for brands.
Not by a long shot.
Based on what we know from recent Facebook stats, the platform produces one of the best ROIs for marketers based on its massive user-base. Given that your customers are already on Facebook, there’s every reason for you to be there too.
The reality? Surviving the new Facebook algorithm means making some changes to your content strategy in order to bolster your organic reach.
Based on Facebook’s best practices and top-performing brands, we’ve broken down nine tactics to do help you do exactly that:
1. Incorporate Video Content ASAP
You’ve heard it a million times before and we’ll say it again: it’s now or never for marketers to hop on the video bandwagon.
Don’t take it from us, though.
Facebook themselves note that video content drives higher engagement and interactions from users compared to any other type of content on the platform.
Perfect for starting conversations and keeping your fans’ eyes glued to the page, marketers of all shapes and sizes can incorporate video on Facebook. You don’t necessarily need to create big-budget commercial content, either.
For example, check out how Sharpie double-dips user-generated video content for Instagram on their Facebook page. These short-but-sweet pieces prove that there’s power in video beyond in-depth productions.
The platform also urges creators to embrace Facebook Live to create compelling, real-time content for their audiences. The fact that Live videos produce notifications that ping your fans and followers is an added bonus for helping your videos stand out too.
Whether it’s an off-the-cuff vlog or a how-to tutorial like this one from SEPHORA, live video represents a powerful medium for brands today.
In this case, it’s not about outsmarting the Facebook algorithm, but giving the platform exactly what it wants. Facebook rewards organic reach to posts that drive discussion and hold users’ attention, after all.
With so many options available and Facebook explicitly looking for more visual content, creating more video is a no-brainer.
2. When in Doubt, Start a Discussion
As part of the most recent Facebook algorithm update, the platform is now punishing marketers perceived as trying to game the system, so to speak.
For example, Facebook has explicitly dropped the hammer on posts deemed as engagement bait. While posts asking outright for comments, tags or likes was once the norm, Facebook recognizes how these posts often serve as spam.
Although there might still be a time and place for these types of posts, brands should strive to start conversations with customers without being shameless about it. Facebook wants us to create content that drives discussion, granted we find creative ways to make it happen.
For example, you can poll your audience while letting them lead the way in terms of discussion. This playful question-based post from Loot Crate scored plenty of love in the form of comments and shares:
In fact, tacking on questions to any given post is a smart way to encourage comments without having to beg for them. Check out how Birchbox uses a question in one of their video posts as a sort of call-to-action:
Brands should also try to post content that’s worthy of debate when appropriate. Controversial content can do just that, although brands should tread lightly as not to run the risk of offending or alienating their audience (think: overtly politically-charged or “shock” content).
A recent study from Sprout Social found that if your audience disagrees with your stance on social and political issues, they’ll be less likely to buy from your or recommend your brand to others.
Consider brands such as Delish that regularly post buzzworthy articles that drive a ton of discussion and shares without ruffling any feathers. Whether it’s a visit to a pickle popsicle factory or an article about a couple hosting a wedding at White Castle, these types of pieces are perfect for getting a response out of followers.
The more you’re able to get people talking, the more likely the Facebook algorithm is to feature your content organically.
3. Activate Your Brand’s Most Powerful Advocates
The key to overcoming the Facebook algorithm has been under your nose since the day you started marketing on the platform. Yet so many brands overlook it—your employees.
Employee advocacy has never been more relevant than it is today. Since Facebook is prioritizing content from friends and family over businesses, this is the perfect time to start your employee advocacy program or rev it up if you already have one.
Your Facebook page’s reach is already somewhat limited by the number of fans/followers you have. And when you tack on these new changes to the algorithm, the number of people that see your content is going to be reduced even more.
Encouraging your team to share your content with their networks on Facebook instantly amplifies your reach. Not only that, but since the posts are coming from friends and family instead of your brand, people will be 16 times more likely to actually read it.
Even if your brand has significantly more followers than your employees, when you consider there are more of them, and they get higher engagement, it’s easy to see the value.
The challenge is getting employees to share your content. Often times, just sending an email asking people to share an article from your company isn’t enough. It requires too much time and effort on their end to go to Facebook, type up a message and share it. Plus, some employees will just flat out forget to share and never check the email again.
That’s why having an employee advocacy platform like Bambu comes in handy.
Bambu makes is very easy to curate content for your employees to share on their personal Facebook page. You can give background info as to what the content is about and provide suggested messaging to include in their post.
Plus, every time employees login, they’ll see a stream of recommended content to share, which allows them to post on their own time.
Have these tools helped you outsmart the algorithm? Tell us in the comments. For tips 4-9, head to Sprout Social.