image flickr @smernon

Everyone is buzzing about Facebook again after they announced that starting in January 2015, promotional ad like content will barely (if at all) be seen organically by the Page’s followers.  Facebook took a poll of hundreds of individuals and the one item at the top of their wish list was to stop seeing “ads” in their News Feed.  Facebook listened to the poll and changed their policy so now marketers are scrambling in order to figure out next steps to successfully promote their Page and therefore their business.

I think this is a great move and it means, in my book, that Facebook has come full circle.  Back when social media was in its infancy, those of us who ‘got it’ pushed our clients to do something new when promoting their business: be human, be genuine, be approachable and be honest during the good and the bad that might happen.  This was a new approach when it came to promoting a brand because public relations and ads always used gloss and spin to bring more exposure.  We, the social media agency pioneers, guided our clients down this new road and found success.  Present and potential customers of our clients appreciated this new turn and showed their support through additional online visits and increased sales.

As social media started to be accepted by the mainstream (marketers and the public), brands wanted more.  They wanted thousands if not millions of followers on every channel and that became the focus.  Facebook in particular morphed into an ad machine where the goal for most businesses was to increase ‘Likes’ and they did so via paid promotional content fed to News Feeds.  Increased Likes became the goal and the number to measure vs. finding a smaller more interactive group who truly believed in and interacted with your business.

So now Facebook has come full circle and no longer wants ad like content spamming News Feeds so marketers are back to the where they began, but it is a good beginning because we are all smarter and hopefully understand our customers better thanks to social media. And while this new change makes many nervous, we should all embrace it and learn from it and carry these lessons forward to all of our online profiles.

Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and whether you are new to the social game or just don’t know which way to turn after being at it for a while, here are some tips that can help you gain momentum on Facebook and beyond:

  1. Check out your analytics for all channels including your website.  Who is visiting, how often, what content do your visitors like?
  2. Who is the demographic that is buying your product or service? Study them and research what makes them tick.
  3. Make a list of the top 10 most interesting features of your business, your products and your leadership keeping in mind that most customers don’t know the inside details of how you do what you do so sharing these facts is indeed interesting to them.
  4. Take your favorite top 5 features from the above list, note what you learned from your analytics and your research on your customer and create a monthly content calendar for your website, your blog (if you have one) and all social media profiles and expand on these top 5 features.  Tell your story, share details about the product that no one would know about, interview people in your company, provide captivating imagery and keep in mind that no matter what you do, you should follow the themes you chose for your top 5 features.
  5. Once you have done all of this good work, check your analytics again after a month so you can see a trend.  Is there a bump up (or down) in visitors? Has the demographic changed in any way?  Are people actually talking to you?  What content is the most popular? Make note of what you find and continue to edit out all that doesn’t work and add more of what does from your present top 5 list while adding a few more themes in from the remaining 5 of your 10 most interesting features list.
  6. Follow tips 1-5 and never stop.

When supporting brands as an in house social media marketer or agency, the goal is to make sure your business is educating and/or entertaining the customers and sincerely caring for their needs.  If we can continue to focus on this approach vs. generating straight out ‘look at me’ paid promotions, then a slight change in Facebook’s Page policy won’t affect us at all.

(Image from Flickr via @smernon)

Valorie Luther, Founder & Executive Director, Creative Concepts