Facebook makes the world more connected and is the undisputed king of social interaction with over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide. The platform relies on a computer algorithm to determine which updates and posts to show to individual users. Facebook updates can include links, making social conversation instantly actionable. Their software offers some of the most detailed interest targeting of any online advertising channel, giving a business incredible reach for campaigns. Facebook allows for custom audiences to be built using existing e-mail marketing lists, or traditional retargeting through pixel tracking.
Everyone shares on Facebook, 90% of FB users visit the site at least one day/week, and 70% visit daily. More than half a billion people access Facebook solely from a mobile device, around 96% of all users. Compelling content with video is KEY, as well as encouraging others to Like, Share, and comment.
The News Feed
It is essential to understand the value of the news feed as it is the best value on Facebook. Less than 2% of engagement occurs on your page; over 98% happens in the news feed. Have you ever noticed that a particular friend or brand no longer shows up in your personal or business news feed? Facebook employs a computer algorithm to try to make sure people see the posts they are most likely to be interested in, which rarely includes business.
In August 2013, Facebook revealed, “Every time someone visits News Feed, there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow, and pages for them to see.” It then updated its algorithm to prioritize “an average of 300 stories out of these 1,500 stories to show each day.”
By narrowing the scope of the content, Facebook prioritized exceptional content that needs to stand out and be engaging to ensure a high ranking – All of this starts in the ‘News Feed’ to help people connect with the stories that matter to them the most. The News Feed algorithm responds to signals from users. Marketers must create engaging content daily to rank well in the News Feed, which factors in:
- Who posted it
- How often do you interact with the friend, Page, or public figure who posted?
- When it was posted
- Factors in trending topics and when you like or comment.
- The type of content
- How much have you interacted with this type of post in the past
- Interactions with the post
- The number of likes, shares, and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular
Facebook updates the News Feed so that users will see relevant and valuable stories at the top. Also, Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in the News Feed when those videos are live. The News Feed is at the core of FB’s interactions:
- It gives you maximum reach and unlimited exposure through message broadcasts
- It establishes credibility as people connected to your brand may share their experience with their connections
- Facebook News Feed is constantly updated, increasing impressions
- Prioritizes content that people LIKE, SHARE, Comment On, Click, Spend Time Reading
- Stories that matter the most will be liked/shared/commented on
The News Feed’s goal is to connect people with stories that matter to them; this means B2C content marketers who are building successful social media platforms must:
- Create a Compelling Headline
- Avoid “click-baiting” headlines that don’t tell people much about what they will see. Accounts are penalized for this and must be backed up by a relevant story.
- Avoid Promotion
- This includes posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.
- Try Things
- Experiment with long-form content, short-form content, videos, live videos, and different tones. Ask customers what is important to them!
- Use Publisher Tools
- Test interest targeting, post end date, and smart publishing, then measure with insights.
Audience Optimization can help publishers reach and engage an audience on Facebook. It is an organic targeting tool that consists of three features to help publishers reach and engage their audience on Facebook:
- Preferred Audience
- Lets you add tags to describe the interests of people who are most likely to enjoy your post.
- Audience Restrictions
- Limit the visibility of your content to specific demographics, like content that can be inappropriate to minors.
- Audience Insights
- Shows you how each interest tag you set contributed to a post’s reach, clicks, shares, and likes.
Facebook is no different from Google, Bing, or anything else with an algorithm; it changes constantly. Staying on top of current trends and updates is essential since the Facebook algorithm changes continuously. Facebook wants to judge content the way you do and observe your actions and judge content based on that. The best way to address this is by providing quality and easily accessible content. In most cases, you will want to make use of a Page, a Group, or a combination of the two.
Native Content – Content posted directly to Facebook will always fair better. For example, do not use other platforms like YouTube or Instagram to share a photo on Facebook, share the photo on Facebook. Stay away from automatic postings and tailor all content on all mediums to a specific audience.
Value Rules – Quality visual content and links tend to perform best across the board. Share great visuals/videos and be the first link to quality. Be early to share the link, or don’t bother!
The algorithm is complex but considers things such as:
- Age of the post
- Expected reception of a post
- Actual reception of a post
- The wording of a post
As a business, you shouldn’t ask people to like/share as Facebook will notice and not provide you with any credit. In 2016, Facebook announced a new priority on content shared by friends rather than publishers, the “Friends Rule.” Social sharing is critical. Facebook wants to judge content the way you do and observes your actions and judge content based on that.
Facebook recognizes the need for segmentation and seeks to allow a better user experience by letting a business target a post. It is necessary to build out an audience and set restrictions around interests. When a post goes out, instead of going to move people, Facebook narrows down parameters to those who are more likely to engage.
- Segmentation: Your followers are not all the same, and they are not interested in the same things. This has been the bane of the news feed. Someone who follows you may not be interested in absolutely every topic you cover. By segmenting your posts, you can increase engagement.
- Restrictions – You can also choose to restrict your ad to a specific gender, demographic, location, or language. Segmenting by age, gender, or other areas can aid businesses with multiple locations around the globe. This will not increase your reach (more below), but it will increase your engagement, which does affect your reach.
- Knowing Your Reach – Visit your page, figure out your average reach, and divide reach against the number of followers you have. (Go to page insights to find your total reach on a page you did not pay to boost with PPC advertisements) A realistic percentage to aim for is 20%, be thrilled if you are higher and work harder if you are lower!
Facebook Presence Options
There are five different types of account profiles, and it is crucial to understand which is the best to fit your needs. Choosing the right type of Facebook options for your business is critical.
- Facebook Profiles – Facebook profiles are the listings tied to individual users on Facebook; that is, the place where Jim or Mary can share their life. This is only for individuals, not businesses.
- Facebook Pages – Pages are the business sites of companies, brands, and organizations. You can transfer a profile to a page if you accidentally make a wrong profile or wish to carry tour friends over for leads.
- Benefits: Every business should have a Facebook Page. They should be your home base and the account your ad runs from. Targeted advertising done well requires a Page.
- Facebook Groups – A group is a collection of like-minded individuals who want to communicate about a specific topic.
- Benefits: The chance to create a community around an idea. Some companies should also consider establishing a group. Groups can open the door to more intimate engagement.
- Facebook Community Pages – These pages are put together by Facebook to gather conversation around a specific topic; think Wikipedia on Facebook. It is meant to stimulate discussion and aggregate data.
- Facebook Place Listings – This can function as a business page on Facebook. The key is that it has to be tied to a specific physical location. This can cause issues if you have multiple places listed and get merged, confusing users, and the software.
Certain types of content will perform better on Facebook, test with your own audience different methods like link posts, videos, status updates, or photos. It is not enough to post marketing messages and push sales run through advertising. You need to understand what your audience cares about, and you have to find ways to get them passionately engaged in your content.
Other Important Notes on Facebook
- Referrals – Facebook sends far more traffic to both long and short-form articles via mobile devices than Twitter does; the numbers are not even close.
- Call to Action (CTA) Option – Facebook has a fully integrated CTA option for Pages, allowing a wide range of triggered activities.
- Visuals – There are over 350 million uploaded photos to the site each day
- Creating Exposure – There are many geo-tagged local check-ins tagged posts on Facebook.
- More than 2 Billion people use Messenger each month (no account required)
- 2/3 of FB users cite it as a primary source for news and discovery
Please check back for further content on:
- Facebook Content Strategies
- Facebook Messenger
- Facebook Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Mobile Marketing
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Conversion Optimization
- Social Media Marketing