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Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm Updates – 3 Things to Know

facebook algorithm

For a company not even two decades old, Facebook has done a fantastic job integrating itself into the daily lives of people around the globe. It quickly became a hot spot for brands looking to connect to a wide variety of audiences, and public relations professionals have been including the platform in their communications plans ever since. However, Facebook hasn’t made their job easy. After successfully positioning themselves as a requirement of nearly any brand’s PR, the social media giant has continuously made it harder for companies to reach their Facebook followers.

Despite keeping up the appearance of a brand friendly platform in recent years, Facebook’s frequent newsfeed algorithm changes have cut back on the reach that companies are able to achieve. Their most recent changes, announced June 29, 2016, will redirect social media users back to what Facebook says was its original intention – connecting with family and friends. Content on users’ newsfeeds will highlight posts from their friends and family, rather than posts from brands and pages. This is a stricter version of a change that has been happening since Facebook did away with its completely chronological newsfeed a few years ago.

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Here’s 3 things for communications pros to keep in mind with the new changes:

Shareable content is more important than total follower count

When users were guaranteed to see most of your page’s posts in their newsfeed, a simple “like” was enough to boost your reach. Now, more than ever, engaging content is the key to reaching your desired audience. Though your page’s posts will take more of a backseat on the newsfeed, there’s still ways to reach your targets through their friends and family. The content now given priority isn’t just posts from friends, it includes highlights of what they’ve commented on and shared. Engaging content is content that gets shared and discussed, and shared content reaches beyond your page followers. Focus on creating content that adds value for your followers and isn’t just marketing. No matter how many followers and likes a brand currently has, there’s potential to reach hundreds if not thousands more through commenting and sharing.

Advertising reach is not affected

The reach of paid ads on Facebook will not be affected by the algorithm changes. Keep in mind, though, that social media users don’t have a high opinion of advertising on these platforms. Have specific goals in mind for your ads, and line up the content with what’s being posted on your page. Think like your consumer – what value can you add for them through a social media advertisement? How can you create the ad to be less intrusive and more engaging?

Don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket

While Facebook is still an important tool despite these changes, there are numerous other platforms to take advantage of. Twitter is a fantastic option for direct conversations with your audience, and makes sharing content easy for followers. Snapchat can be a great way for brands to show some behind the scenes footage and try new ideas that might not work well on other platforms. If your company is primarily interested in driving sales through social media, Pinterest is a land of golden opportunity. Facebook will likely continue to be a part of most organizations’ communications plans, but the rapidly changing social media landscape offers new alternatives that can boost a brand’s reach.

Direct Mail is Not Dead — Especially Among the 18-34 Crowd

French mailbox

Despite its reputation as a waning content marketing tool, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that direct mail is still very relevant. In fact, according to a recent study referenced by the SBA, nearly two-thirds of all consumers reported they had purchased something as a result of direct mail in the past year. Among 18-34 year olds who are inundated by spam emails, text messages and banner ads, the SBA suggests that direct mail might even offer a sense of old-school charm that stands out from the rest of the noise. Moreover, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) reports that almost 80 percent of consumers will “…act on direct mail immediately, compared to only 45 percent who say they deal with email straightaway.”

One thing is clear—direct mail is showing no signs of becoming obsolete.

While people could easily make the shift to conduct their entire lives online, many people still opt to keep a balanced mix of online and offline interactions. They find virtue in connecting with a brand through a smartly-worded piece of mail that offers them something they value. Product discounts, reminders and packages are among the most coveted items, while pamphlets and customer magazines fare the worst, according to the DMA.

So, what’s the best way for you to market your business using direct mail? It’s important to remember that personalization is key. What might work for a retail store might not work for the nonprofit next door—and certainly not for most large-scale businesses. However, Adobe’s Digital Marketing blog offers some basic, up-to-date tips that can benefit almost anyone starting a direct mail campaign.

Mickael Bentz, product marketing manager at Adobe, recommends the below:

  • Targeting and personalization are crucial. Remember, your goal is to resonate with individuals, not to simply reach the masses.
  • Use direct mail as part of an overall campaign, as opposed to your only tactic.
  • Use clear and compelling calls-to-action. Often, you will need to repeat your call-to-action several times, as most of us skim our mail.
  • Provide multiple ways for readers to respond.
  • On paper, more information is often better. Keep in mind that people spend more time with information on a piece of paper than they do on a screen.

 

What do you want direct mail to accomplish for your business? Contact us to discuss how to make this tactic a supportive part of your overall communications strategy.