Recently, Facebook announced changes to its News Feed algorithm to feature more timely and relevant posts. The update raises an obstacle for Pages: Many are experiencing a decrease in reach for organic posts.
Facebook recommends that brands use a combination of engaging posts and advertising to make up for the decline resulting from News Feed changes.
Although promotional dollars may increase the visibility of posts, there are a few other tactics you can tie into your 2014 social media marketing strategies in order to grow your reach organically.
Great content, strategically deployed, gets your posts that coveted News Feed real estate, whether or not you choose to promote it. So before you click "boost" on every update just to garner a few more likes, keep the following pointers in mind and experiment with them so that you spend your social media time and money wisely.
Harness the passion of your fans
Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool. Get your fans to create and share user-generated content for you, thereby extending your reach in the News Feed. Your fans and followers have their own audiences on social, and when you enable Facebook's Open Graph actions as part of your campaigns, their friends can see when they share or interact with content.
Hashtag campaigns, photo and video submissions, and apps that prompt sharing after a call-to-action give incentive to people to spread a brand's content to their friends. And by thus harnessing your ambassadors, you build brand credibility.
Offer compelling coupons and promotions
Creating coupons and hosting contests are two more ways to boost engagement without buying ads or promoting posts. Offer a coupon for redemption online or in-store, and give incentive to fans to share it with their friends. You'll gain more participation from a new, relevant audience with this approach.
Coupons work increasingly well on mobile, and considering that mobile is a key social media focus in 2014 for many brands, using any tactic that pairs well with it would be doing your brand a great service. Plus, it's a fantastic opportunity to convert social media fans into real-life customers.
Discover your most engaging content
Consistently review the performance of your posts, and apply that knowledge to your content strategy—posting and promoting the most relevant content for your users. Track which content generates the most likes, shares, and comments, and use that knowledge to inform future posts. Track how well a post performs based what type of post it is (photo, text, blog post, etc.), its topic, the time of day it was posted, etc.
Nailing down the successful formulas for posts will keep their organic reach high. Doing so can be as simple as reviewing your free Facebook stats each month, but it is also important to review the data collected after conducting a campaign, contest, or coupon offering. You should know who is interacting with your brand, what they like to see, how they respond, and then take that information and use it to shape each daily, monthly, and quarterly post and campaign.
Learn more about your fans
When you decide to spend budget on boosting your posts, make it count by capturing more data about your fans. Promote campaigns that ask users to submit email addresses so that your brand has a way to connect with those people again in the future without always having to buy ads to reach them. In addition, capturing consumer data will allow you to target '"lookalike" audiences when putting together your next ad campaign. You want to have demographic information available so you can expand your reach to the appropriate types of audiences.
Knowing who would really like your brand and allocating funds to reach them is much smarter than tossing dollars at everything not knowing whether it's even entering the appropriate News Feeds.
Consistently run and promote social marketing campaigns
Paying to promote content when there is no clear call to action isn't always the best way to reach your fans. Run campaigns that give fans opportunities to interact—by naming new products, sharing their videos or photos, or accessing exclusive content or deals. Keep campaigns fresh, tie them into your broader cross-channel marketing programs, and use them to collect customer data.
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Embracing these tactics can extend your reach on Facebook, engage your audience, and drive revenue from your Facebook marketing. Many Page managers have taken to blogs to express their concern over the recent changes. But those changes create an opportunity for Facebook marketers to look deeper into data and to think more critically about reaching new and existing audiences. That, in turn, creates smarter marketers and higher-quality brand Page content.
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