Mark Zuckerberg dropped a bomb on social media managers earlier this year when he announced that Facebook would be placing a higher priority on content in news feeds that is published by family and friends (instead of publishers and brands).
“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.” – Mark Zuckerberg
Understandably, you might be worried about what this Facebook algorithm change means for your organization’s Facebook presence. Many of our clients are public health organizations whose budgets are limited and to whom social media is extremely important. We get it. But never fear – there’s one big way you can still be seen.
A big focus of the Facebook algorithm change is to “spark conversation.” This means that while your page’s content might be bumped in some instances to make way for a photo of your cousin’s college graduation or a video of your mom’s dog, you can still show up in news feeds if your content garners comments and creates conversation.
But here’s the catch: you can’t ask for engagement.
“Using “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”
Facebook will penalize posts that ask people to “vote” for a certain option, “tag a friend,” like the post to receive some sort of benefit, or ask the user to share the post with friends to enter the chance to win something.
How do you create engaging content then? Here are a few tips:
Create more live videos.
Facebook has recently begun to prioritize live videos over regular videos in news feeds to promote the platform’s live video functionality. Live videos are not only preferred by Facebook, but tend to garner a lot of comments. We know that live videos can be scary for a small organization to pull off, but one thing to remember is that no one expects social video to be polished. There’s a certain expectation that a “live” video is more candid than a recorded one. While you should be strategic in creating videos that have a definite purpose, they don’t need to be perfect.
Ask your followers to share (their opinions, that is)
While asking people to like, share, or tag a friend on your post won’t help you, there’s nothing against asking for genuine engagement. Airbnb, for example, asks their followers in this post to share an image of their home on the slopes. This isn’t “engagement bait” because isn’t asking for comments for the sake of comments. It’s asking followers to share their experiences and pictures.
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Create content that sparks positive emotion.
According to marketing guru Neil Patel (and backed by many studies), content that sparks positive emotions like surprise, hope, joy, delight, and excitement is most likely to be shared on social media.
Use your Facebook page to share inspirational stories, humorous images, or unexpected ideas. We do a pretty good job at this, if we do say so ourselves.
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And one more idea…
Ask your team to engage with your content.
Your team should be your biggest advocates on social media. Ask your staff to comment on or like your organization’s posts to get the engagement party started and to help their friends to see your content in their news feeds.
Our growing dependence as marketers on social media means that it can be a little scary when Facebook pulls the rug out from under us. Thankfully, for smart marketers, algorithm changes only mean we have to keep doing what we do best: creating great content that people love.
Have questions about the Facebook algorithm change or want help managing your organization’s social media? Contact us.