The way people interact on Facebook is evolving. And so are the algorithms that place your marketing content in relevant News Feeds. As of late 2019, average reach for Facebook posts was down by 2.2% (according to Hootsuite) and in some categories as much as 50%.
That said, if you’ve been managing a business page for a few years now, you may have seen a drop in traffic and engagement on your posts. But don’t worry! There are ways to adapt to these changes and continue getting results from your social media efforts. Here are a few ways you may have been affected and important factors to consider.
More Competitive Newsfeed
Problem: With 1.54 billion active users in the United States, it’s no surprise that literally millions of businesses have shifted their marketing efforts to include Facebook. Unfortunately, this means that the newsfeed has become a very competitive place, with heaps of content fighting for users attention. And as a result ad prices increased while audience reach decreased.
Work Around: Be more selective and deliberate with the content you are sharing. Only boost posts that have gained traction organically first, so you can be confident that it was receive positive feedback and engagement. Instead of posting several times a day, consider posting higher quality content a few times a week.
Restrictions on Audience Targeting
Problem: Facebook recently announced it is now requiring all U.S.-based housing, employment and credit advertisers to select the “Special Ad Category” option in Ads Manager when creating ads. marketers running ads for these 3 categories can no longer target by age, gender, ZIP code, multicultural affinity, or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics.
Work Around: Focus on interests versus demographics! While you can’t exclude a 19 year-old college student from seeing a post about $350k homes for sale – you can however, target people who are interested in parenting, mortgage lenders or websites like Zillow. Get to know your audience a little better and use those interests to help you narrow down exactly who you are trying to reach.
Emphasis on Meaningful Interactions
Problem: While meaningful interactions may not sound like a problem, the new algorithm update was not designed with marketers in mind. It was the exact opposite. “Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses,” explained Facebook in a news release.
Work Around: Simple! Create more meaningful content. Prompt conversations between friends, invite people to share their thoughts, ask for feedback. Show the human side of your brand or use real images instead of stock photography. Don’t use marketing speak that is geared towards a one-sided conversation. Invite your following to share content with their friends and family, or better yet – create content that people want to share without being prompted.
Types of Content
Problem: The same content that worked for you in the past may be holding you back. For example, sharing links may have done wonders for your engagement in 2018, but in 2019 Facebook started prioritizing posts with photos (according to a recent article by Hubspot).
Work Around: There is no exact formula. Share different types of content and see what your audience reacts best to. Don’t be afraid to upload short and long videos, create photo carousels, share links, write lengthly posts etc. Focus on your audience and their unique needs.
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Key takeaways: Always be ready to adapt, despite what has worked for you in the past. Stay alert for whatever new changes social media will throw our way in 2020. And definitely don’t give up on your efforts just because your results aren’t what they used to be.