You’ve established a business, hired employees, built a following, and now….now, Facebook changes its algorithm. What the heck? Weren’t algorithms something from high school algebra? Before you completely Facepalm, let’s see if we can break down some essentials.
No doubt, your business uses some type of metrics to define success: profitability, patient/customer satisfaction, productivity, repeat customers, contract renewals, or any combination of industry-specific points. Well, Facebook uses complicated metrics to grow their advertising business by refining their reach to highly-targeted audiences and giving those audiences posts they want to see.
You don’t have to understand all the details behind the Facebook algorithm to use it to your own business’s advantage. Here are some tools to help get your posts noticed:
Facebook is a visual medium, so feed the beast what it wants. Well-done videos get attention from users, and that type of organic reach makes the Facebook algorithm happy to give your posts a boost. Attention spans are short, however, so videos can also be short, while still being fun and engaging. They can also be used to tease longer, informational videos on your website for those who get hooked.
Ligon Marketing can help you create eye-catching videos, as well as Google 360 virtual tours to showcase your office or retail space on Google listings. Read more at http://ligonmarketing.com/google-360-virtual-tours/
Ask questions and start discussions.
Facebook thrives on engagement, so content that generates conversations get a nod. Are there questions or discussion points common among your customers? As a business, you can lead that conversation in a respectful, informational way. Polls are becoming a popular method of initiating a dialogue, and simple questions about topics related to your business can do the same. Hint: people really like to talk about themselves and their preferences!
Debate is healthy, but controversial or alienating posts are not. (Read: strongly political or shocking.) Don’t risk your brand by jumping into a fray that might offend your patients or customers unless you are willing to risk their business. Sprout Social recently conducted a study that found customers who disagree with your political perspective are more likely to voice their disagreement on social media. (Think Publix and Dick’s Sporting Goods, for recent examples.) The impact is more significant on small businesses.
The same study also indicated that your stance on certain social issues can create a positive effect on customers. The credibility of your stance is enhanced when an issue directly affects customers, employees, and business operations. Bottom line: weigh the risks and rewards for addressing potentially controversial issues.
Build your internal audience and grow outward.
Employee advocates, friends, and family are the perfect foundation for your social media to grow. The Facebook algorithm rewards content from people over businesses, so these internal audiences have the power to expand your business reach more than ever. (A study by Bambu indicates people are 16x more likely to read a post shared by a friend than by a business.) So not only do their “shares” have more credibility with their network of friends, they also have more credibility with Facebook’s algorithm.
Encourage (don’t coerce) your team, family, and friends to share your business posts with their own network. Of course, your company should have a social media policy in place to ensure mutual understanding and avoid unexpected outcomes. Don’t have one? Call Ligon Marketing for help in developing and implementing a social media policy.
Photos and tags are more popular than links.
Different types of content will keep the Facebook algorithm on its toes. They want to keep users on their platform, so links are viewed less favorably than tags. Mix up your engaging content and videos with strong photos, .gifs, or other graphics. Use tags to target the audience you want. Facebook best practice says visual content gets 87% more engagement than posts without as visual.
Repurpose content but keep it creative.
It’s tough to create fresh content on a consistent basis, especially small business owners who are trying to do it all. It’s okay to use older content if you repurpose it in a new way. Highlight a different quote or aspect of the piece, change the visual or tags, or lead with a question in subsequent posts.
Pay attention to best times to post.
Engagement drives the Facebook algorithm, giving priority to posts that perform well. So sometimes, timing is as important as the content. Learn about the best times for your business to post, then develop and follow a content calendar to optimize your reach.
Sound overwhelming? Keeping up with content creation can be hard enough before adding in the complexity of the frequently changing Facebook algorithm. Pro Tip: don’t try to do it all. Let professionals manage your company’s on-line presence, from website to social media. Ligon Marketing can provide the technical know-how, as well as content that includes blogs, video, photography, and other visuals. Call us at 863-838-5475, and let’s talk.