4 tips for a successful Facebook strategy in 2018

Every year brings exciting new marketing opportunities! Have you considered your online strategy for 2018 yet? Trends and online behaviours change constantly which is why it is important to keep up to date. Did you for example know that Facebook is changing its algorithms to promote “meaningful social interactions” over content from brands and businesses? If you own a business page it is crucial that you anticipate this transition. Make sure your content is relevant, engaging and tailored to the right audience. I’ve compiled 4 tips that will help you develop a successful Facebook strategy for 2018.

1. Establish what you want to achieve

Thinking about what you want to achieve might seem like an obvious first step, but you’d be surprised at how often this gets overlooked! Make sure you get the best outcomes by establishing the right objectives from the start. There are basically three kinds of objectives: awareness, consideration and conversion.

Awareness is all about generating interest in your service or product. Is your business only just starting off? Make sure you focus on building brand awareness and growing your fan base. Try and reach as many people as possible and see who actually shows an interest.

The next step is consideration and is meant to get people to start thinking about your business. Show a video of how your product could improve their lives or share informative blog content which highlights your expertise. As your business develops, you might want to start thinking about how to convert those that show an interest.

Ultimately most companies want people to actually take action such as purchase a service or product, visit a website, install an app or sign up to a newsletter. Thinking through the entire process will help you optimise conversion. What will people see when they land on your home page? Is your app easy to navigate so that it leads to sales? Does your newsletter provide the right offer to the right audience? It is important that you think carefully about how to draw in the right audience via Facebook and whether this lines up with the rest of your messaging and strategy. Once you’ve established your objectives for the year, it’s time to start thinking about creating your content accordingly.

2. Optimise your content

Creating relevant content and addressing this to the right audience is becoming more and more important with Facebook’s new algorithm. The platform already decides how high posts appear in the news feed based on reactions, comments and shares. The change that will happen in the next few months means an additional focus on posts that spark genuine interactions and meaningful conversations between people. As a result, pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. Whether this will impact your page depends on several factors including the type of content shared and how people interact with it. If no one engages with your content you are likely to see a large decrease in distribution. Pages that do prompt conversation between friends will be less affected.

[embed][/embed]Mark Hull, Director Product Management talks about Facebook's changes

As a result, it will become more difficult to reach the right audience both organically and paid. Ad prices and competition will increase so that posting average content will no longer get you the same results in terms of reach. Entrepreneur went through all the (known) changes that Facebook has implemented to its algorithm and came up with a list of factors that they think may determine whether your post shows up or not.

Things that the algorithm likes

• Posts with lots of Likes, comments and shares

• Posts that receive a high volume of Likes, comments or shares in a short time

• Posts that are Liked, commented on, or shared by one’s friends

• Link posts

• Post types that one interacts with often

• Post types that users seem to prefer more than others (e.g., photo, video or status update)

• Videos uploaded to Facebook that receive a large number of views or extended viewing duration

• Posts that are timely or reference a trending topic

• Posts from Pages that one interacts with often

• Posts from Pages with complete profile information

• Posts from Pages where the fan base overlaps with the fan base of other known high-quality pages

Things that the algorithm dislikes

• Clickbait

• Like-baiting

• Posts that include spammy links

• Frequently circulated content and repeated posts

• Text-only status updates from Pages

• Posts that are frequently hidden or reported (a sign of low quality)

• Posts that ask for likes, comments, or shares

• Posts with unusual engagement patterns (a like-baiting signal)

• Overly promotional content from Pages—pushing people to buy an app or service, pushing people to enter a contest or sweepstakes, posts that reuse the same text from ads

It's obvious that carefully curating your content needs to become one of your main priorities. Finding out what kind of content already does well on your page will therefore come in handy. The posts tab under insights will tell you your most successful post types. Are photos, links or videos receiving the highest level of reach, clicks or engagement? Depending on the objectives you have established, figure out which of these post types will help you create meaningful content. Also keep in mind that video content will remain an integral part of Facebook marketing. However, the platform announced to place a lower emphasis on passively received videos, pushing the popularity of Facebook’s live streaming feature. Live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. A comment on engagement bait on the other hand, is not considered a meaningful interaction. These are posts that ask you for a certain action such as “comment & share this post” or “like if you are …”. This kind of content comes across spammy and Facebook will continue to demote these posts int the news feed.


Adam Mosseri, VP of Product Management for News Feed explains how the Facebook News Feed works

Once you have established the right type of content, it is time to consider the look and feel of it. Scroll down your own facebook feed for a few seconds and you realise the importance of nice design. It’s no secret that the brain can only process a limited amount of information and it is therefore important to grab people’s attention with attractive images. One good example of entertaining visual content are GIFs. The rising popularity of GIFs is evident from the fact that Giphy has more than 100 million users per day. As watching GIFS doesn't require the same amount of cognitive investment compared to videos and carousels, brands are using GIFS more frequently to convey their message. The crux is to keep the message simple, the images interesting and the transition between these smooth. Add a bit of originality by creating your own GIFs! Here is an example of one that our social media manager Jess made for a Valentine’s Day campaign.

To sum up, make sure you know what your audience wants to see so you can tailor your content accordingly. Keep in mind that Facebook is more likely to show your posts if these are engaging and lead to meaningful interactions between people. Be creative and share awesome videos, start a live feed or create your own GIFs.

3. Figure out when to post

Once you’ve figured out what your fans want to see, the next step is to establish when they want to see it. Facebook’s posts tab (under insights) is a valuable tool that tells you exactly when your audience is on Facebook. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the best time to post. We also want to know when our audience is most likely to engage. To find out, head over to insights again and click on overview. On the top right you will find export data, click on that. But before exporting, make sure to click the second option under data type that says post data and indicate the desired date range.

exporting Facebook data

Facebook will produce a bunch of data which may seem a bit overwhelming at first. To find out what time and day your posts are being most successful search for type, posted, lifetime post organic search and lifetime engaged users. Highlight these columns with a colour and delete the ones you aren’t using. If you want to find out the best time to post in terms of engagement, look at the lifetime engaged users column and organise from the highest to the lowest number. Look at the times and you will find your sweet spot for engagement. Do the same with lifetime post organic search to find out when your posts are having the most reach. Looking at type will show you whether there is a difference in optimal posting time in terms of images, videos and links.

It is a bit of work but it will pay off in the long run. Looking at post data will also help you figure out how many times to post. There is a bit of inconsistency amongst marketers about what is optimal and the reason for this is likely that it really depends on your brand, audience and content. Experiment from week to week and see what gets you the best results in terms of reach and engagement.

4. Know your audience demographics

The last thing you want is to spam (potential) fans and customers. To avoid this, it is useful to understand who your audience is in terms of age, gender and interests. The people tab on your page insights will be able to tell you age and gender and scrolling down will show you the country, city and language of your fans. Alternatively you can head over to Facebook’s Audience Insights (via Ads Manager) to really nail it down. However, this takes quite a bit more digging around.

Facebook insights audience demographics

With Facebook’s two billion users, it helps to target only the people that are right for your business. There are basically three options when using your audience. First, you can select a core audience manually based on characteristics including demographics, location, interest and behaviour. If you are a local bakery it makes sense to target people in your local area (you can even create a radius around a shop to help create more walk-ins) who like food and have previously purchased bread online. Alternatively, if you are a massive international online fashion site, you’d probably want to focus more broadly both in terms of location and shopping behaviours. Another option is to create a custom audience where you can target loyal customers, people who have visited your site or people who already use your app. Quite useful is the option to create a lookalike audience. In this case Facebook builds an audience based on people who are similar to your customers. It uses insights to increase your chances of reaching people potentially interested in your product.

Using information about your audience means you can target content to people that will actually be interested in your posts. This will result in your content being seen by more people as Facebook ranks it more valuable. Plus, already acquired fans are likely to drop off when they experience your content as being spammy or irrelevant. Lastly, targeting more narrowly helps you spend you budget more wisely.

I hope these tips have given you a better understanding of how to create a successful Facebook strategy for 2018. If you still feel like you could use a bit of help, shoot me an email with your questions and I’m more than happy to answer these. :)

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