With my day job, I know first hand that algorithms can be a royal pain in the…and Facebook is no different. Over the past couple of years, Facebook have been tweaking their News Feed algorithm to accommodate changes in user behaviour, as well as to try and punish brands from using click bait headlines and gaining ‘weight’ with users by publishing memes that generated meaningless engagement.
Because of this, as marketers, we’ve had to keep up with these algorithms and change our strategies accordingly, seeing these changes as opportunities to adapt and evolve. As a Facebook marketer, I’ve seen brands chase the algorithm and feel disappointed when they don’t see an upturn in their reach. It’s important however to remember one thing – Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is designed to deliver content to users that they want to see. This quote is from Mark Zuckerberg during his first public Q&A in 2014:
Our goal is to build the perfect personalized newspaper for every person in the world. We’re trying to personalize it and show you the stuff that’s going to be most interesting to you.
Facebook now has more than 1.5-billion MAU and 1-billion DAU and, aside from being mind boggling stats, they now mean that Facebook has taken over the ‘traditional’ advertising market. This user base is also becoming more and more intelligent, with many users now looking to a brand’s social media channels to verify their legitimacy as well as to seek out peer reassurance. I’ve personally seen users seeking out a brand’s social media channels when I’ve run heatmap software on their sites (IMO I find that returning users seek out the social icons more than new site visitors).
On top of that, they also look to see how active you are, how many likes you have and to see if you’ve shared any interesting content (or special offer vouchers). However there are a number of common mistakes that brands make that ultimately kill your identity on the network as you become another, generic Facebook business page.
1) Don’t rely on funny or off-brand, bandwagon content:
While it is true that constantly posting about your brand and your products/services can be boring and can reduce your audience’s participation – if your strategy is to rely on off-brand content to gain cheap likes, it will alienate your audience even more as they won’t be able to relate to it. Everything you post is a reflection on your brand and your brands identity.
Yes, offer a variety of post type and media to your audience but don’t go out of context. It’s also important to not let your personal impulses influence your decisions – if you can’t make the post relevant to your brand (or your location if you’re predominantly local) then don’t post it. Just because people like your product/service doesn’t mean they share all of your interests.
2) Excessive hash-tagging – stop it:
In order to grid with a massive audience, many companies are using an irrelevant hashtag on their Facebook page. If you are using trending hashtags for promoting your products or service, that will give more likes and visibility for a certain time but ultimately it will be harmful to your brand. If you are using a proper hashtag then it helps you to make engagement with your target audience as well as making a positive impact on your brand.
This is a huge mistake I see brands making a lot on Facebook. They see personalities on Instagram using an excessive number of hashtags to describe their gluten-free organic salad with quinoa and they think that it’s the ‘sure fire’ way to engage with multiple audiences. However, the numbers don’t lie (source):
- Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags averaged 593 interactions
- Posts with 3 to 5 hashtags averaged 416 interactions
- Posts with 6 to 10 hashtags averaged 307 interactions
- Posts with more than 10 hashtags averaged 188 interactions
If you’re looking at incorporating hashtags into your Facebook strategy, research first. The best way to do this is to search for the hashtags you want to use on Facebook first and see if a) if they’re already in use and b) if they have any traction.
3) Users want fast responses, so be faster than your competition:
The response rate on your Facebook page is important – a slow response rate can easily put users off messaging or making a comment, while a fast response rate can entice a user in. 42% of social media users who make a complaint expect a response within 60 minutes (source).
For example, the below response times have been taken from the official Facebook pages for some of the UK’s biggest high street brands who sell homeware and electrical (among other things), so if you have a query about a toaster and want further information, based on the below information who are you least likely to message?
- John Lewis – “Typically replies within an hour”
- Debenhams – “Typically replies within an hour”
- House of Fraser – “Typically replies within an hour”
- TK Maxx – “Typically replies within a few hours”
- Clas Ohlson UK – “Typically replies within a day”
[Featured image: Shutterstock]
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