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Back to Great Content with Facebook

Brands have had a hard time on Facebook for a while now: from relegating the visibility of posts from business pages, to culling inactive users on a given page, Facebook has definitely upheld its mantra of a great user experience.

We’re now a few weeks into another game-changing update, which has afforded users greater control over what they see in their news feeds. This is fundamentally the right move for Facebook, to continue pleasing its fans—who remain the core customers of the social media platform.

When Facebook confirmed that visibility of brand posts had dropped off from an organic perspective, the response from businesses was to engage in promoted posts on their page, boosting the reach and uptake of these posts to fans.

Facebook ads then took off in a huge way, which (not to be confused with promoted posts) allow a brand page to promote themselves outside of their wall, to targeted fans and non-fans alike. This approach has delivered excellent ROI for business from a fan acquisition and a conversion point of view.

However, what’s evident here is that Facebook risked morphing into yet another ad exchange, where users are served promotion after promotion on a space that was originally designed to connect them with real friends—not brands.

Facebook, predictably, has reacted, much to the detriment of brand pages. The social media giant released an update prompted by users’ feedback to see more posts from their closest friends. An algorithm change now makes it easy for each user to select what they want and don’t want to see.

What this means for all unfortunate brand pages is that if a user has specifically requested not to see their content, no amount of promotion or tactical targeting will reach that user. To compound the issue in a very different way, the update more readily shows similar brand pages to your own for a given user to follow, thereby upping the competitive ante.

To that end, I encourage all business pages on Facebook to return to the most human element of content planning, in putting themselves in the shoes of their user. We’re all consumers and I wager that almost all of us use Facebook to varying degrees. What annoys you in terms of content? Is it fair to be served the same ad more than twice a day? Are you following brands for their hard-sell or their humour?

Once you’ve interrogated your consumer self, the following recipe for success will ensure that your unlikes are kept to a minimum and your engagement is kept to an all-time high:

When is your audience online? Invest in promoted posts at this time only
What format of content do they respond best to? Image, text, or video?
How many times a day would you reasonably want to see your offer if it’s promoted?
Do your audience ask questions? Do you respond to them quickly and helpfully?
The above list is refreshingly pure and “back-to-basics”. In conclusion, this algorithm update takes us back to the heart of great content, which will maximise your reach and fan retention on both the organic and paid-for fronts.

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