Why No One Reads Your Facebook Business Posts (and How to Fix This)
BY: BRIAN HUGHES ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2016
With Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm changes during the summer, the social media giant prioritized content from friends and family over brands, limiting the reach of Facebook business page posts. For businesses to reach a wider audience, they need to harness the power of employee advocacy to amplify content. Not all businesses got this message, however, and many continue to follow the same old approach to social media marketing. The result: businesses are investing time and money into a social media strategy that’s doomed to fail but they either don’t realize it or don’t want to acknowledge they need to change.
If your business is coming up short with social media, it’s not too late to pivot direction– and you don’t need an expensive ad buy to make an impact. Read on to learn what’s changed and how you can still make organic reach work for you.
Facebook’s Big Algorithm Change: Friends & Family Over Brands and Content Publishers
Over the last few years, Facebook’s newsfeed has shifted from baby photos and wedding announcements to a steady stream of content that’s shared by brands and publishers. I’ve written before about how Facebook has evolved to resemble a content network rather than a social network. It’s a change the Facebook team noticed, too.
Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice president of product management told the New York Times, “The growth and competition in the publisher ecosystem is really, really strong. We’re worried that a lot of people using Facebook are not able to connect to friends and family as well because of that.”
Organic reach for brand posting has long been in decline. For Pages with more than 500,000 likes, organic reach could be as low as two percent, according to an Ogilvy study cited by Hubspot. Between February 2012 and March 2014, Hubspot reports that an EdgeRank Checker study found organic reach dropping from 16% to 6.5%. Fewer people seeing your Facebook post means fewer likes, fewer clicks, fewer comments and fewer shares. A drop in engagement means a drop in brand life and ultimately a decline in lead generation and sales. Facebook’s algorithm shift this summer – favoring people over brands and publishers – was the final nail in the coffin.
Does Facebook really believe that the photo of a middle school classmate’s three-year-old daughter (or any other obscure connection in our ever-expanding ‘friends’ circle) is more relevant than something posted by a business? Not necessarily. But Facebook has brilliantly convinced companies that they need fans and likes in order to grow their business. With low organic post reach, the only way to engage with these fans then is to buy ads. In short, the algorithm changes are boosting Facebook’s bottom line. But your business doesn’t have to pay to play.
The Power of Employee Social Media Advocacy
Employee social media advocacy is a social media marketing strategy that harnesses the power of your employees to share relevant, meaningful content that generates genuine engagement. Why employee advocacy? For starters, more than half of consumers trust an employee more than they trust a CEO. When Joe in Accounting or Ellen in HR shares information, their networks are more likely to consider this information credible and re-share it in turn. Whether you have five employees or five hundred, employee advocacy is a low-cost, high-engagement solution. Here’s how to make it work for your business.
Be consistent. Consistent sharing has long been a fundamental tenet for social media best practices for businesses, and this same rule of thumb applies to employee advocacy. Yes, employee engagement needs to be organic. You don’t want to push employees to flood their feeds with 24/7 promotional messages. But you do want to calendar out opportunities for employees to leverage their own expertise to share relevant, meaningful content with their networks on a consistent basis.
Set clear expectations. Employees who are excited about your company will naturally want to share content with their friends and family. But you can’t “force” employees to be brand advocates. Trying to push an aggressive social media schedule could backfire and alienate your employees, rather than motivate them to participate. Be transparent and explain why there’s value in this for your employees, too. By sharing great content on their personal profiles, they’ll be building their own professional brand in addition to getting the word out about your business.
Build enthusiasm around great content. What are your team members passionate about? What do their broader networks care about? What does your business do best? Use these questions to guide the content you create and encourage your employees to share. For example, the team at Flipsnack is pretty passionate about graphic design, including the intricacies of what makes for a great book layout or which design software is best for creating books. Content like the “Evolution of Book Cover Design” won’t appeal to everyone, but it does appeal to their niche audience while also reflecting their employees’ passions, too. As a business, your job is to create this type of unique, engaging content that your employees will be genuinely excited to share with their influencer circles.
Employee social media advocacy won’t be a panacea for all your Facebook marketing woes. Like any good brand engagement tactic, it’s part of a bigger strategy to boost engagement and ultimately drive lead generation.
Image via Shutterstock