Social networks change a lot. I've been managing social media accounts for companies (and my own blog) since around 2007. Facebook, especially, has seen tremendous changes. From introducing their graph algorithm which transformed timelines, to leading the pack among social media sites in terms of building out an advertising platform.
For a while there, many bloggers and brand managers threw up their hands and waited for the dust to settle before they worked too hard on building their Facebook strategy. And in the meantime, things like Pinterest took over as a bloggers' best friend. I remain a Facebook believer, however.
Facebook may be a tricky nut to crack, particularly in comparison to the traffic driver it once was. But personally (and for Chicory), it remains our #1 traffic referral source. With that in mind, I recently dove in and performed a deep audit of our post performance. And what I noticed, in terms of Facebook strategy, is that what works on Facebook hasn't actually changed all that much since 2007. It's the tools that have changed. Here's what I mean.
Major 🔑 #1
In 2007 they said: "It's a social network! Be social!"
In 2016 that means: use Facebook to get to know your audience.
What companies loved in Facebook's early days was that, for the first time, there was a reciprocal relationship with consumers of a product. You could throw out a question to your "fans" and immediately get a handful of responses straight from the source; previously, you could only get those kinds of insights from time-consuming surveys.
We all know that things don't work like that anymore. Posts without some kind of multimedia element get completely buried in feeds and users are way less inclined to take time to directly respond to these kinds of requests.
That said, Facebook's audience data has become an incredible and robust tool in the past four or five years. Not only can you analyze the demographic data of those folks that follow your brand, but you can also target your ads with incredible detail. What Facebook used to offer in terms of getting to know your audience, you can still get--but at a price.
Major 🔑 #2
In 2007 they said: latch onto pop culture events to get noticed.
In 2016 that means: talk the talk of the Internet while remaining on-brand.
A few years ago, when I was working as a social media manager for a theater company, I would stay late or get to work bright and early to offer commentary on events like the Tony Award nominations or an airing of The Sound of Music, LIVE on NBC. I wasn't a reporter, nor did I work for a content company, but the engagement we saw during these live events was huge, so as social media manager, it was always expected that I would be live tweeting. It was a lot of fun, but ultimately the engagement tapered off and the followers we gained during those live tweeting sprees soon unfollowed our account.
There was also a big push a few years ago to latch onto pop culture moments as a brand and comment on them in some way or another. This resulted (and continues to result in) lots of corny moments. Consumers, especially millennials, see right through these attempts at relevance, but there's still something to trying to stay on top of trends.
Take a look at our top posts from the past month or so. Our number one post makes a reference to 2008 Black Eyed Peas song "Boom Boom Pow" and also references that daaaaamn, Daniel! Snapchat trend. The thing is, that post was about keeping your blog up-to-date... so there was contextual relevance to our caption. It wasn't just a lame attempt to talk like the kids do. Also note that we do this kind of thing sparingly. It helps keep your brand from looking desperate.
Major 🔑 #3
In 2007 they said: optimize your Facebook page in order to get viewers to your website.
In 2016 that means: determine what social ROI means for you.
When I was working in social media nine years ago, at first people had no idea what the expectations for return on social media investment could even mean. Around 2012, everyone became convinced that social media should be a channel for funneling traffic to your website.
As time went by, though, and the idea of "influencers" took hold as a major way to market products. Even media companies who literally monetize their pageviews, began to shift toward realizing that their social media channels and communities were valuable on their own merits.
What do you think of our advice? What have been the keys to your Facebook success? Let us know in the comments!
Today, you see bloggers or media companies tagging their tweets or Facebook posts with things like #sponsored or #ad. These posts are purchased by companies on their own because a big Facebook following can be monetized, even without a link to some sponsored article.