On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced significant changes to the algorithms it uses to select newsfeed content for its users. The business and marketing world quickly responded with great trepidation over how those changes would affect their social marketing efforts. For the average user, the changes should mean more personal engagement and deeper conversations. However, for a business or organization that lacks an effective social media strategy, it can mean that their content virtually disappears from their audience’s sight.
There is good news, however! For those who intentionally create an effective strategy, with meaningful content for their followers, the algorithmic change doesn’t have to mean a loss. If anything, excellent content can become even more visible, as Facebook seeks to weed out less engaging posts. This means that a business’s social media strategy is even more crucial to leveraging the potential that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter still offer. At its root, the framework for an effective media strategy has not changed, it has simply become all the more important to follow and apply it.
This begs the question then, “What is an effective content strategy?” For each business, the content that your audience finds engaging may vary, but the questions you need to ask remain the same. First, what is your goal in using social media for your business or organization? Are you seeking to raise awareness of a cause? Are you using social media for market research, to get an idea of what your target consumers are seeking? Are you trying to drive sales, by marketing a new product or idea to a wide audience? How you answer these questions will allow you to curate the content that you choose to offer, as well as give you a standard by which to measure your success.
Second, who is your audience? What do they want? What catches their interest? What questions are they trying to answer, and how are they using the various social media platforms to answer them? The new Facebook algorithm prioritizes “meaningful conversations”, which means that simply garnering “likes” on a funny post will no longer be sufficient to gain time in your followers’ newsfeed. In addition, know who your audience is already listening to. Is there someone of influence in your area or niche who could help drive interest and conversation towards your cause/product?
Finally, how can you meet a need or answer the questions that your audience has? Once you’ve identified what they want, the final, and most crucial step is to meet that need. Position yourself as a resource, rather than a drag. Invest your social marketing time in providing something of value to your audience. Share helpful information, engage in conversations, match the content you share with what you know about your target audience. The greater the engagement and conversation you can create, the more priority your content is likely to receive from the new algorithm, and the better return you’ll get on the time you invest.
Effective social media continues to be a crucial part of building a business. As the various platforms refine what they offer their users, we must adapt our strategies to fit. However, at its foundation, a strong strategy will always mean asking the right questions and providing something of value to our audience. Know your own goals for using social media as a business or organization. Know your audience. Then, you can meet your audience with the insight or resources they seek.
I will be writing on the subject of social media marketing and advertising over the next several months. Please stay tuned and feel free to reach out to me at JulieB@EasySocial.Solutions if there are questions you would like the team and me to tackle next month.
Bio: Julie spent over eleven years in sales and marketing for a family business. In fall of 2016, she transitioned to working with EasySocial, managing clients’ social media accounts. As the Client Relationship Manager she helps clients create a strong voice and effective strategy for their social media efforts.