When Facebook announced a change to its news feed algorithm in January to reduce the amount of content from businesses, brands, and media, brands everywhere began worrying about how followers would keep up with their posts.
The fact of the matter is organic reach has been on the decline for years.
Here’s another, more important truth: The majority of people don’t trust messages from brands on social media in the first place. According to the Edelman 2018 Trust Barometer, only 42 percent of people trust the media—and that includes social media content from brands.
So what is a brand to do? Disengage from social media altogether? Quite the contrary. We recommend you actually increase your social presence. It’s the way you go about it that has to change.
FIRST, and this has been said by people far wiser than me, stop expecting organic brand content to drive…well, any business goals. Only a small percentage of your followers see your content in their news feed.
If you want to increase your social media reach, you have to increase your paid social advertising. The good news about paid social is that you can target who sees your advertising and access predictive analytics to better understand how to reach more of your target audience within your budget.
SECOND, stop focusing solely on your own posts. Only 42 percent trust brands. More than 60 percent of people trust people like themselves. If you are willing to loosen your grip on your message, you can build more trust and extend your reach through the folks who are already engaged with your brand.
This takes a little more work than implementing your own controlled campaign. (Maybe a lot.) Invest the time offline getting to know your most engaged followers. Give them something to talk about. Let them experience your company in ways others can’t. Give them access to photos, videos, and content no one else has.
You may also need to make a financial investment. A common retail practice is to provide products to community influencers or pay them to review or talk about a product online. This tactic can work for the B2B community and NGOs too. Try inviting influencers to participate in a focus group or test a new product. Give them backstage access at a fundraising event, or better yet, invite them to meet the people you serve and share their stories.
FINALLY, stop talking about yourself. We often remind our clients that their brand story isn’t about them. Their brand story really is about the people they want to reach. Why should people work with your company? Why should people trust your company?
Who can tell this kind of story better than your customer? (Hint: Nobody.)
Again, this takes more effort than writing about the newest feature or sharing a beautiful product photo. You’ll have to be your own reporter to uncover the best customer stories—or build a content team that can feed stories to the marketing department. Better yet, hire a journalist. There are a lot of them looking for work these days.
When you find a gem of a story, let it unfold naturally. It is more important to share an authentic story than to coach your customer on your corporate language. A scripted customer is no better than a scripted CEO.
No one knows what the next Facebook algorithm change or new feature will be. It is a safe bet that it will keep changing. But, with nearly two billion users, it is a still powerful tool to reach your customers. Go ahead. Fill it with more powerful stories.