The Facebook news feed has been all the rage the past few weeks as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has let the world know that changes are coming. Brand pages and publishers will be seen less in the news feed as Facebook aims to reward value-driven content that produces meaningful engagement.
If you haven’t read Zuck’s declaration, click here to read it. Here’s the sentence that businesses need to pay attention to the most:
(Several weeks ago) I announced a major change to encourage meaningful social interactions with family and friends over passive consumption. As a result, you’ll see less public content, including news, video, and posts from brands.
Passive consumption means reading your articles or watching your videos or viewing your posts-that-are-really-ads without commenting, reacting or sharing. What Facebook is trying to encourage more isn’t merely engagement as we know it but a true back-and-forth among people that goes beyond the polarizing and brings us together.
Ever since my agency days in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I’ve been saying that businesses have to behave like media companies. I remember being at a project meeting at the agency I worked at in Dallas back in 2003 or so, and everybody was bemoaning having to wait on the client for content.
My response was, “How does the Wall Street Journal manage to put out an entire newspaper every damned day, and we can’t get an article from a company with 100 employees?” The solution wasn’t merely that we should have waited on the company either, but somebody needed to get to writin’.
Because that’s what media companies do. At their core, media companies produce all sorts of content.
How can your small business make a name for itself on Facebook in an ocean of companies that are just like yours? How can you survive the changes to the Facebook news feed? More than ever, you have to behave like a media company.
Here are five ways you can survive any change to the Facebook news feed:
1. Create content constantly.
That means articles and videos, and that means becoming comfortable with live video whether it be on Facebook or YouTube. If you’re a CEO who isn’t very adept technologically, hire somebody to oversee your digital. That person should have a journalism background.
This could include graphics and photography, and it most definitely should include audio and content for devices like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. You don’t have to do it all today, but from here forward, you’re in the content business.
There is no other marketing in 2018.
2. Start posting on all platforms.
In the era of the new Facebook news feed, the last thing you want to do is have all your digital content eggs in one platform basket. That means the best way to survive the Facebook news feed changes is to not only be on Facebook.
YouTube has 1.5 billion users.
Instagram has 800 million users.
Twitter has 300 million users.
Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr and more constitute hundreds of millions more users.
And this doesn’t even count the number of people who listen to podcasts or still read blogs. Heck, Google is still the mother of all content platforms, which means if you think a blog is a remnant of the early-2000s, think again. I remember encouraging my last company to start a blog, and their biggest concern was how the organization would be able to get a post out there every week.
My thought was, “Every week? Why not every day.”
If I teach you nothing else on this blog, it’s that creating content is neither difficult nor a mystery. It’s words + art + voice + video in all sorts of varied combos. And perfection is the enemy of progress.
But you might want to hire somebody. If I may do so, I’d recommend somebody with a journalism background and a photographer’s eye. Musicians are particularly good for content roles. Maybe that’s a personal bias on my part seeing how I am one.
A clever digital assistant will know how to re-purpose all the content he or she creates for different platforms, complete with verbiage in various voices that comes across authentically to its audience. This is the equivalent of throwing digital spaghetti against the wall, but serendipity in this era requires some experimentation and a willingness to go thin before you go deep.
Quality is important. Quantity is the secret sauce.
3. Go live.
Do it often, daily even. It doesn’t have to be just you and a camera, talking blindly into the ether and answering questions. It could be a camera set up at your front desk or in the break room or the lobby. It could be a Facebook Live during a meeting.
Go live. People interact with each other on live videos, and that’s precisely the type of result Facebook is going to reward. In fact, if you understand nothing else, know that the meaningful interaction that live video produces is precisely the type of result that Facebook is going to reward in its news feed going forward.
If I’m a business owner, I go live every day at a certain time and talk to my audience, no matter how big or small it is.
4. Interact with everybody.
Like Facebook comments. Answer their questions. Let them hit you up on Messenger, and comb through old posts to see who has commented recently. Your interactions with people on your Facebook page not only help your standing in the news feed, they’ll help to encourage other people to interact with you as well because they’ll see that you’re the type of business that interacts.
And do it in a timely manner.
5. Have a paid plan.
You don’t have to spend millions or even thousands. Hundreds might do the trick, but it’s imperative that you learn the Facebook ads platform. It’s imperative that you take it seriously. Posting content onto Facebook with no intention of moving beyond organic reach is an incredible waste of time and is marketing malpractice. First, Facebook is still grossly under-priced as a place to do targeted advertising. Second, it over-delivers compared to every other advertising platform on the planet as of today.
What if I told you that you could start with $20 tomorrow on Facebook? Spend $100 this month, and see what happens.
You don’t have to spend a mint. But you have to get into the game to have any shot of being a player on the platform. Go to Google or YouTube and look up content on how to get the most out of Facebook’s advertising platform.
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