In January, Facebook made a massive announcement many social media marketers dubbed Facebook Zero. The algorithm changes were so large and far-reaching, I had an amazing number of colleagues, and not just those in the marketing realm, discussing the changes and how to best manage and mitigate them.
These are a few of the links from Facebook marketing experts I feel outline, highlight and best explain the changes:
- Facebook Marketing Expert Mari Smith and her perspective on the changes.
- Leanne Peard outlines the changes, along with solutions: Is Your Facebook Page DEAD?
- The Boss Magazine’s interview with Michael Stelzner: How to Survive the Facebook News Feed Changes
The long and short of change is: if the 65 million business pages do not pay Facebook to promote their content. No one will see it. (Zero people. Hence the nickname.)
There will be exceptions. The posts that promote community. The posts with video (Facebook Live video, vs uploaded video or YouTube links). You will also see posts from companies you choose to SEE FIRST. (Considering the number of company pages sweepers LIKE, it will be a daunting task to pick a select few as Facebook limits each person to 30 SEE FIRST pages.)
I have been telling my clients for years they needed to own their marketing. I could see the writing on the wall and would always ask, “How would you reach your audience if Facebook disappeared?” Most didn’t have an answer. Owning your own marketing is now more important than ever, especially based on the recent changes announced by Facebook.
As a Sweepstakes Expert, I believe the recent changes will also change how companies create and execute Facebook giveaways. Here is what I told my followers on my From The Contest Queen blog days after the announcement:
I believe we are going to see a change in the hobby. I have yet to fully process the changes or formulate how it will look exactly. Right now:
- I believe we will see a move for companies to increase their newsletter subscribers.
- I hope we see a return to traditional online entry sweepstakes.
- We will see a bigger shift to Twitter and Instagram giveaways.
Only time will tell …
You will also see posts from those companies pay Facebook to boost, plus ads companies pay Facebook to push.
I also interviewed Neal Schaffer as I wanted his perspective on the changes. We discussed some inherent problems with sweepstakes on Facebook.
- Contests that ask entrants to click a link that takes them off Facebook. These types of posts will get less viability. Facebook likes ‘stickiness’ and wants you to stay.
- Companies that try to dupe the algorithm by using third-party apps. Again, better to play within the rules than try to hack them.
- Making sure your contest works via mobile as 80% of users are using their tablets or phones to engage. Do You Enter Your Own Social Media Contests?
What you can do to own your marketing via Facebook:
What are you posting? Is it interesting? If you were scrolling your personal Facebook feed, would you pay attention? Would you like it? Share it? Comment on it? If you wouldn’t, why would anyone else?
Back in 2009, I heard Scott Stratten of Unmarketing equate social media to a grand pool party, where you arrive, chit-chat for a while, take a dip and leave. He was absolutely right.
You ignore the guy that arrives and is loud and obnoxious. The drunk gets kicked out. Those telling the best stories are those that garner a crowd.
Be the person telling the best stories. The ones that get retold weeks after the event.
Good stories don’t happen overnight. They are built into a larger plan. Consistency is Key When Planning Social Media Contests
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
This is one activity every expert agreed on. Facebook Live streams will garner high in the Facebook algorithm and organically be shared to your followers.
To ensure maximum engagement and live viewers plan them in advance and let your followers know.
To test this model I have preannounced Facebook Lives and done a few on a whim. I found I had hundred(s) of live viewers and thousand(s) of comments. Those on a whim had virtually no viewers and only a handful of comments. Essentially, Facebook Zero. I have also noticed evening lives streams garnered more traffic than daytime ones.
Check your analytics, preplan your events and then adjust accordingly to maximize your audience.
If you have the opportunity to do amazing things in your life,
I strongly encourage you to invite someone to join you.
BACK TO YOU
This is the number one thing you should be focussed on when owning your own marketing. Building your mailing list.
If all your other marketing channels disappear, this is the only thing you own. Yes, you do own your website, blog, podcast, etc., but you can’t ensure people will visit, read, comment, listen, etc.
Most people are reminded to take those actions via posts they see on your social channels or your newsletter. Until Facebook disappears continue to use the platform, but do not rely upon it. (Most companies do fold at some point, it’s a rare few that last 100+ years.)
Continually drive people to sign-up, and collect their email address for every action. A pop-up offering a freebie on your website and reminder posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
As a Sweepstakes Marketer, one way to ensure people stay subscribed to your newsletter is to offer subscriber exclusive giveaways. Dave Lackie is a master at growing, and maintaining, his following across all platforms and social channels by using giveaways as the hook. People stay for the well-written content about all things beauty.
It’s good to make your own things because you can have control of your own art.
Google loves to see new content posted on your website. New timestamps on posts tell search engines that your site is relevant. Pick your frequency and stick with it.
In 2015 I undertook a massive experiment. I decided to blog every day for a year. It could be short and sweet, or long and involved, but I had to post. I lasted until mid-December before I ran out of ideas and was overwhelmed by other projects. What I saw was a massive spike in traffic and followers across all my channels.
I have yet to replicate that pace of posting, but I post several times per week, enough to keep my followers engaged, but not so much I can’t keep up.
One reason I encourage people to blog is that the act of doing it
stretches your available vocabulary and hones a new voice.
Take a step backward.
When online sweepstakes first came about they were basically a digital version of a mail-in paper entry blank. As social media became more popular, online entries shifted to social media. Now social platforms are shifting and becoming Pay-to-Play. The new Facebook algorithm penalizes those asking people to comment, which is only two things you are allowed to according to the Facebook Page Guidelines. Some companies get around this by requiring entrants to follow the instructions on the posted image, requesting likes and comments there.
Why not forgo social sweepstakes and take that step backward. Host a giveaway on your own website giving bonus entries to those signing up to your newsletter. It accomplishes two things:
- Increase website traffic, and
- Increases newsletter subscribers (back to owning your own marketing!)
The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
CHANGE THE CHANNEL
Half of my clients love Twitter. The other half hate it. I love it! The quickness of it and the ability to converse with others. I think that’s why it’s the platform I have the most followers on.
Not all of your demographic is on every channel. It’s why it’s important to spend time on each of them and have a different approach to each. Therefore, try something new on Twitter. Host that quick Retweet and Follow contest. Host a Twitter Party and see who shows up. Get entrants to tweet out a participatory image and use the contest hashtag.
I see Instagram as a double-edged sword. I have noticed more companies increasing their Instagram activities, but as the platform is owned by Facebook, how long before the same algorithm changes are applied?
Plus, links in the text are still not clickable, so you are limited to one link in the bio. When you are on Instagram how often do you tap your way back to the linked information or entry page? Exactly. Not many will take those extra steps.
That said, Neal Schaffer stated he was ‘doubling down’ on Instagram for his own marketing. When a global marketing expert makes a key shift in their plan, everyone should take note. Since we spoke, I have and I believe that says a lot.
Social media is about the people. Not about your business.
Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.
What may not work:
Asking your followers to choose SEE FIRST when following your Facebook Page is a good idea. However, there is a 30-page limit. Each person will have to determine which 30 Pages they want to SEE FIRST out of the thousands they have LIKED from entering Facebook timeline giveaways.
Some social media experts recommend the Facebook version of owning your own marketing; creating a Facebook Group. It allows you to speak directly to your followers in a safe environment. Depending on your company it can be a Public or Closed group. You may even want to create a Private group as part of a premium membership. However, again, it is owned by Facebook and what if Facebook starts charging companies to host groups? Then what?
Social media is a contact sport.