Facebook is changing – and your social media strategy should too

Joe Stevens, Social Media Manager, bigdog Live

Critics are heralding the latest major tweak to Facebook’s algorithm, regarding the reorganisation of its newsfeed, as the biggest change to Facebook’s user experience in years – and they’re probably right. In short, Facebook has taken the decision to start delivering more content from friends and family in the newsfeed, which may come at the expense of branded and media content. This brings with it significant implications for the worlds of events and promotions. Not only because it spans such a large audience, but because events’ pages and content can be tailored specifically to meet the different Facebook user categories.

This change will certainly have an impact on organic reach (how many people we can reach without paying for ads) – which has already seen a significant drop over the last few years – but this doesn’t mean that brands won’t be able to reach their preferred audiences on Facebook anymore. In fact, Facebook thinks it will result in more meaningful engagements for its community of businesses since Facebook users will be enjoying a better platform experience.

A major part of social media consultancy is to respond to technological and algorithmic shifts in the platforms we operate on. At bigdog Live we spend time analysing the data and consulting with social media platform representatives to ensure we’re providing the best guidance to our clients. Since social media platforms change every day, it’s important to keep up to date with any said changes. So, we thought what better time to give event organisers a few pointers to help you navigate through the shift.

Invest in quality content

Content is Facebook’s lifeblood – if the posts it serves aren’t relevant, interesting or useful then users will stop visiting the platform and start spending their time elsewhere. Event organisers and promoters want Facebook to put significant reach behind their content, so we need to make sure that it’s relevant, interesting and useful. With the latest shift to the newsfeed, Facebook is going to become even more selective about the business content it serves. A less but better approach should be adopted, through investing more resource into less content, ensuring your most important pieces are providing the best user experience possible.

Concentrate on targeting

Investing in the production of quality content is vital, but it’s just as important to invest in the distribution of that content to ensure it reaches the right people. For example, your Slow Roast Baby Back Ribs recipe video might look incredible, but if it’s served up to a community of vegans then you’re probably going to get some negative feedback – rather than the thousands of “let’s have this for tea tonight” comments you were expecting! Event audiences can be easily and effectively segmented, so it’s important to take time to get your targeting right. Facebook provides us with some of the finest behavioural targeting out there – and it’s more important than ever that all content is guided by this to reach the right newsfeeds in the future.

Innovate

Social media platforms reward innovation with increased reach. When Facebook introduces new functionality (like it did with Facebook LIVE in 2016) it gives posts that utilise that functionality more reach in the newsfeed. Facebook wants more users to get inspired by content and increase general engagement on the platform. This presents a massive opportunity for the brands who are first to achieve greater ROI, simply by virtue of being the first to the party. We’re still seeing incredible results from Facebook LIVE and the brands and businesses that are innovating in this space are earning significant rewards; this won’t be changing anytime soon.

Engagement Bait is Dead

‘Engagement bait’ is how Facebook has termed those posts that ask users to take a certain action to help that post reach even more people in the newsfeed. For example, “hit like if you love dogs and share if you love cats.” These posts cleverly invited users to hit the reactions that would then send a signal to the Facebook algorithm that users are enjoying the content, so it must be good. But Facebook then surveyed users and found that these posts actually had a negative impact on user experience, so now they’re being penalised.

The key is to think about how your brand can contribute to a positive user experience on Facebook and your event’s content will be rewarded with greater reach and engagement. The suggestion that quality content should be accompanied by fine targeting is nothing new, but these latest changes mean it will become even more vital that event organisers and promoters get it right in the future.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.