A recent announcement from Mark Zuckerberg has a lot of people in the digital marketing world talking, and it’s going to drastically change the strategy that most content marketers will have to take.
The gist of his announcement is that Facebook realized that the more time people spent on Facebook the more they showed signs of depression and anxiety. Studies showed that the algorithm offered up more meaningless interactions with connections on Facebook than they should — primarily a problem with too much content from businesses you follow rather than more important roles in your life.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook wants get back to what the platform was originally about — personal connections with friends and family all over the world. That doesn’t mean that your company’s followers won’t see your content, but it does mean that it may be harder for them to see it as regularly. Interestingly enough, he said:
“By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term, too.”
So long story short, Facebook is changing their algorithm so that it emphasizes things showing in your personal feed that are posted and shared by the people you follow rather than the businesses or other entities. Your paid posts will still get exposure, and users will absolutely be able to see your public organic posts, but more likely than not they’ll have to come to your page to see them — unless you do it right.
The big target for this initiative is the sort of click/like/comment/share-bait type posts that have become very popular for businesses to get exposure and play the algorithm (meaning that they show superficial engagement hoping that Facebook will show their content to more people). Creating posts or pictures that say “Tag someone who gets it.” Or, alternatively, doing a roundabout poll with “like if you disagree, love if you agree, share if you want to be entered into the drawing…” Generally, these types of posts aren’t truly engaging — they’re meaningless fluff created solely for the purpose of driving “engagement” that’s reflected in the numbers, but not where it counts — effect.
So, the challenge for us at Fluid — and for anyone marketing their business on Facebook — has now become to continue to get organic traffic for our clients. But when an algorithm changes against your favor, that’s a daunting task. So here’s how we’re planning to adjust.
Focus on Real Engagement:
Engagement with an audience is about more than clicks, likes or shares. It’s about emotions that result from the viewer. As an agency, we’re choosing to step back from the numbers and ask a bigger question — how will this impact our clients’ customers lives?
Real engagement comes from someone stopping, thinking and genuinely reacting to what you’re sharing. The goal could be laughter, longing, envy, inspiration, ability to relate or simply giving them pause. There are a myriad of tactics to achieve that goal, but in the end it has to be genuine. It has to be believable. It has to be “organic” in that it lines up with the client’s business, goals and culture. And then, in order to really work past the algorithm change, it has to be shareable so that whoever sees it will want to share of their own volition, not because we asked them to.
I was recently at a tech conference where a representative from Beats by Dr. Dre talked about their campaigns in 2011 and 2012. They created content that shared a story of people — albeit rather noteworthy people like Kevin Garnett, Colin Kaepernick, and Richard Sherman.
Their story was using Beats headphones to shut out the world and focus. But what was great about it beyond the celebrity endorsement was this:
- It told a story about the person that made them seem normal. The average Joe could watch one of their videos and say, “I have those same headphones!”
- It told why they have the product on a level that you and I can totally relate to – “Man, there are times that I wish I could shut out the world”, or “Yeah, that’s why I love my Beats. They’re perfect when I really need to focus.”
Their campaign generated millions of impressions, shares and mentions on numerous social media platforms. They paid the athletes for their endorsement, paid for producing the videos, but the one thing they didn’t pay for — promoting the videos. It was all organic.
At Fluid, we recognize that digital marketing is about connecting with people on a level that meets their needs. The need to connect with others, the need to relate, the need to share, the need to buy. We aim to strike at the emotional triggers that move viewers down the sales pathway — wherever they may be on their journey. We have some of the best creative brains in the business that come up with amazing things, but unless those incredibly beautiful images and videos connect with the viewer in an emotional way, they won’t drive meaningful engagement. Challenge accepted!