With over 2 billion daily active users, Facebook is a platform that can’t be ignored. It serves a different purpose than other popular platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, as a home for businesses and brands to interact with users in a group setting through pages, posts, and groups as well as on a more individual level through messages and stories. However, with the recent changes in the Facebook algorithm to favor social connections over business promotion, some brands are having a tough time maintaining and increasing engagement with their content. Luckily, a recent Hootsuite webinar called “Drive Meaningful Customer Interactions with Content on Facebook” has it all figured out for us. Don’t have time to watch the hour-long seminar? Don’t worry—we watched it for you. Here’s what you need to know:
It’s no secret that, in the era of fake news and data breaches, users are concerned about their privacy. This concern changes the way that users interact with brands and also which brands they trust. Along with other user research preferences, this is one of the reasons that the Facebook algorithm has recently changed to encourage authentic interaction by showing more of a user’s friends in their newsfeed, rather than brands and products. Although this change challenges previous social media strategies, brands now need to shift their content to fit that mold.
The goal of Facebook, and of all social media platforms, is to connect people to brands and communities that are most important and relevant to them. Facebook is unique in that it is part of a much larger web of connection, including other Facebook-owned apps such as Instagram and Whatsapp. Facebook’s 10 year roadmap is three steps: establishing “ecosystems” or technology systems that connect people together (i.e., Facebook), connecting those ecosystems to different products like Messenger and Whatsapp to reach a larger audience, and partnering with others to integrate connectivity, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) into these technologies. This roadmap follows along with what Facebook views as the natural progression of social sharing, starting with text, moving on to photo, to where we are now with video, and eventually to the future of VR/AR.
On average people spend three hours a day on their phones, picking their device up almost 80 times a day. Users in North America are spending about 20% of those three hours on Facebook and Instagram—a significant chunk considering that this does not include time spent on any other apps or social platforms. The takeaway from this is that Facebook users are not just social but they are also mobile, a shift that started back in 2012. With 2.2 billion monthly users, a lot of people are spending time looking at content on their phones—a point that content creators definitely need to take into account in order to drive meaningful engagement.
Social media is and will always be about storytelling—the thing that’s constantly changing is how those stories are told. The next thing on the horizon? Video. By 2021, Cisco predicts that video will make up 78 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic. This is because users overwhelmingly prefer video content to read the text. This means a big change in content marketing, especially for brands who don’t have experience in video content. Luckily there are many free and inexpensive video editing apps out there to help you get started.
With the growing popularity of video, the use of “stories” has grown as well. Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, there has been a shift from feeds to stories that started back in 2016. According to Facebook, who sees stories as one of their fastest growing products, by the end of this year, there will be more time spent stories than in feeds on all platforms. Why is this, you ask? The simple answer is people like them. They’re uncurated, which means they’re not subject to inconsistent algorithms. Another important note is that this preference is happening across all demographics. Therefore, stories are a great opportunity for brands to reach their consumers. And, as a fairly new technology, there’s more freedom for businesses to test out what works for them.
Facebook has four pieces of advice for brands who are experimenting with the stories feature for the first time: Speed, Multiple Scenes, Sound, and Bookending. Users tend to go through stories quickly, so if your video is too long chances are they may not watch until the end. That said, a lot of brands are playing around with time lapse and faster video to keep viewers’ attention. Multiple scenes are a more complex concept for a beginner, but it’s just another tactic to keep the user interested. This could mean flipping between different scenes or even split screening so that the user is watching two things at once. The sound is important because it adds another interesting dimension to your story. Maybe put a popular song in the background to create a memorable impression—just don’t forget to tell your viewer to turn the sound up! Bookending is key to promoting the name and logo of your brand. No matter how long your story is, make sure that the first and last thing a user sees is your name and imagery.
The last, and probably most important, piece of advice for stories is to play around. This is such a new technology that success will require a lot of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to try something new!
According to Hootsuite, these are the three steps to meaningful engagement with your Facebook content.
Social marketing is all about being flexible. Come up with a plan, track its success, and change what doesn’t work. Just test, review, and repeat to build up your organic traction.
The key to meaningful engagement is a combination of organic and paid posting strategies. Make sure you use your paid content wisely to strategically target your audience.
Remember that engagement is a two-way street. When a user engages with you, whether it’s through commenting, sharing, or messaging, be sure to respond and engage back. Increased engagement means that your content is making the impact you want it to make, but make sure you keep that trend going by developing a relationship with your followers.
Hootsuite identifies two types of content that will drive a brand’s meaningful engagement: connection-driven content and value-added content.
In order to make engagement meaningful, you want more than just likes and clicks. Make sure you are using products that will allow for meaningful engagement, such as stories or Facebook Live.
Users like content that offers help or is an education in some way—think how to videos and quick tips. Not only does this type of content gets twice as many shares and four times as many comments but it also builds trust and loyalty with your followers.
Unfortunately, the process of driving meaningful interaction will take a lot longer than a one-hour webinar, but we hope these tips and background knowledge have given you the foundation to start increasing your engagement on Facebook.