For many, one of the most daunting things about implementing social media marketing is keeping up to date with the latest developments in the industry. Channels, tools, apps, trends and tactics all evolve at lightning speed, so we’re here every month with a round-up of 5 things you need to know right now.
It feels like every day there is a new headline about Facebook; new launches, new developments and scandals, in equal measure it seems. All this news can be hard to keep up with. So, here’s a summary of 5 things you should have in mind as you plan your 2019 social media strategy.
It’s still growing
Pretty much since the dawn of social media Facebook has been hailed as the ‘social media giant’. It grew so quickly and to such exponential heights that it felt for a long time that no other platform would catch up.
Today, whilst Facebook continues to boast the largest network of 2.3 billion active users, Instagram is continuing to pick up the pace and attract new users in the masses, leaving many questioning the role of Facebook in their future marketing plans.
So, the news that in the last 12 months Facebook has continued to grow its network of users, even against the backdrop of data scandals and apparent lack of teenage appeal, is a relief to those businesses who have spent years growing a strong network of customers on this channel.
The ‘Meaningful Connections’ algorithm…one year later
Speaking of businesses being left unsure of their future on Facebook, the announcement in January 2018 that the algorithm was prioritising content from friends and family, not business pages, was yet another spanner in the works this time last year.
Whilst businesses had noticed that their organic reach was declining over time and the peaks in engagement that they were once achieving felt like a mean feat, this was the first time Facebook had so blatantly declared it’s prioritisation of people content over pages.
This latest algorithm change meant that quality posts were deemed to be shared by someone in a person’s close network, i.e. friends and family, and so they would always rank more highly in the feed than business content.
Although this sent shock-waves at the time, a year-on and things aren’t looking so gloomy. Facebook had reached a point of saturation and without the ‘meaningful connections’ algorithm change I have no doubt that the channel wouldn’t have generated the growth it has over the past 12-months.
People are now enjoying their time on Facebook again. They’re seeing content that interests and engages them, they’re having a quality experience and as a result their attention is peaked ready for when a business post makes it to the feed (most likely because it’s paid to be there!).
Invest to be seen
Speaking of paying for the privilege to appear on the Facebook feed, that brings us on to Facebook advertising.
The reality of the situation is, Facebook provides you with a huge and diverse audience to market your business to, but without an advertising strategy in place you’re only going to reach around 6% of the audience you’ve secured. You’d rightly be pleased to have built a following of 2,000 people but you could only be getting in front of 120 of them, that doesn’t leave you with a great likelihood of converting sales through your Facebook marketing efforts.
The recommendation now is to allocate an annual advertising budget to support your efforts on Facebook – if you can budget for an ‘always on’ advertising campaign then even better!
Without an advertising budget on Facebook your success will be limited, so explore the options and plan to trial some campaigns. You will probably be surprised with the results, you can reach a huge number of people without having to spend a huge amount of money.
Clear your history
There are a number of rumoured updates on the way for Facebook this year: a dating feature and virtual reality experiences being just a few, but one which has caught many people’s attention is the ‘clear history’ feature.
Still reeling from a relentless data backlash, Facebook announced that a clear history feature would soon launch (said to be live by spring 2019) and would allow users to see the data stored on their use of apps and website and be able to clear that history within Facebook.
The question is, how will this impact the effectiveness of ad campaigns and will this really put people’s minds at rest on the wealth of information Facebook has on its users.
The most recent announcement to hit the headlines was that of Facebook’s merge of its messenger platforms: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Whilst it is believed that all three apps will remain stand-alone, the three will be connected and messages will travel across the platforms, news which has received mixed reactions to say the least.
This gives Facebook a strong stance going into 2019; WhatsApp and Instagram are seeing huge success in demographics that are beginning to move away from Facebook and although all three are already owned by Facebook this would give the currently competing apps a common core.
So, what’s the problem? Well, from a user perspective each of these apps hold a very different user experience, to force the three together is backing people into a corner to integrate their use of the apps. Also, the data concern is bound to rear its head once more as Facebook continues to feel a little too Big Brother!
If you have any questions at all on your Facebook marketing just get in touch, we could talk about this for hours…at the very least over a cuppa!