How Brands Can Still Reach Consumers on Facebook
By Je Matthews, Co-Founder and CEO of Tagkast
As organic reach on Facebook continues to decline, standing out on the social platform is more challenging than ever.
At its simplest, Facebook's most recent News Feed algorithm update makes content shared by users' friends appear higher in a given News Feed and promoted content appear lower.
Facebook warned that post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline - and many expect that is exactly what will continue to happen. As a result, brands fear they will no longer reach their desired audiences or be able to foster relationships with new customers - at least in an organic fashion. Despite what they may think, however, marketers can still increase brand awareness on Facebook if they consider the following:
1. Leverage Peer-to-Peer Sharing
Facebook's new algorithm encourages peer-to-peer sharing, emphasizing content shared by users' friends and family. Now more than ever, retaining customers is more important than acquiring new ones on social media, because companies will rely on current customers to increase their brand reach. If current customers share their brand experiences on Facebook, chances are very high that friends and family will see their posts and possibly comment on or share them.
Marketers may want to consider sponsored and promotional events to provide their brands a perfect platform to encourage peer-to-peer content sharing, like capturing photos of consumers experiencing a product in a hands-on way and encouraging guests to share those photos with their social networks. By doing so, they increase a brand's reach and maximize impressions - helping broaden their networks and build new relationships.
2. Integrate Visual Content
Visual content takes peer-to-peer sharing one step further. Photos and videos have proven to be one of the most effective ways to communicate on social channels. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that social platforms like Facebook continue to modify their layouts to highlight photos and graphics.
Marketers can generate up to 100 percent more engagement through image-based posts (rather than those that are text-based) according to the social network itself.
3. Implement Tags
Brands shouldn't forget the importance of tags to increase reach, vitality and engagement on Facebook. They should encourage groups of attendees to tag themselves in photos for optimal reach. The more people tagged, the more chances a photo will be shared, which will increase a photo's impressions and overall brand awareness.
While peer-to-peer sharing, visual content and the use of tags will help brands extend organic reach, to become a social marketing superstar, it is necessary to add in branding to user-generated content (as well as their own). Let's return to the event example. If a company brands event photos with a name or logo before guests post them to their own Facebook accounts, this will boost recognition of the sponsoring company, not just the event. Think about how often sports photos are shared on Facebook for either a contest or out of pure excitement for the win or a new player. Often, one photo is shared by hundreds of fans with a congratulatory message. If this photo is branded with a logo, this sharing desn't just spread news of the player or the game - it spreads the brand's involvement as well. In fact, marketers that facilitate peer-to-peer, branded photo sharing directly from a promotional event have helped grow their social reach by up to tenfold.
At the 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show, for example, Subaru received more than 400,000 word-of-mouth impressions on Facebook through consumer-shared, branded photos. Each branded photo that was posted to Facebook by an event attendee was seen 200-plus times.
ORGANIC REACH STILL EXISTS
New Facebook algorithms will affect organic reach once again, but brands can still reach consumers without paying to play. By using branded photos and encouraging tagging and peer-to-peer sharing, brands can continue to leverage Facebook to reach both current and new customers and to positive effect. To see these strategies in action, visit wsm.co/orshare.
Je Matthews is the co-founder and CEO of social advertising platform Tagkast.