Just a couple weeks ago, Facebook announced that it was going to be making major changes to what appears in our individual News Feeds.
The social media powerhouse says it is going to now prioritize content that is likely to spark meaningful conversations between friends and family. The move comes from the aftermath of Facebook’s involvement in the super contentious 2016 US election season. Personally, it’s comforting to see the platform acknowledge its power in our modern world, and make changes that are - according to Mark Zuckerberg - “aimed at ensuring that time spent on Facebook is good for people's well-being.” Sounds lovely, right? Like it was the intended purpose of the channel all along?
But as a marketer, it’s exhausting to think about. Growing organic reach is already tricky, and this is guaranteed to make it even more difficult. That being said, I couldn’t help but think that this was actually a GREAT thing for member-based organizations.
Associations, it is YOUR TIME to shine on Facebook! And why?
Think about it: you exist to connect. Whether you’re a professional association with thousands of members in a particular industry, a small association of members who are passionate about a niche hobby, or a state chamber that is responsible for the wellbeing of its economy, you’re used to encouraging members (and non-members, even) to engage with each other. You’re fostering a sense of community already!
Now, apply that thinking to this bit from Zuckerberg’s official statement:
That’s what it all boils down to: they’re looking to create meaningful engagement and experiences, rather than passive ones. And that concept is 100% in your wheelhouse, you just have to figure out how to apply it to the platform!
One way would be to try more live video. As Zuckerberg notes in the above, going live has proven to be great for engagement. If you’ve never experienced it before, go to your feed and find the first live video you can. Comments and reactions (likes, loves, laughs, etc.) are abundant in these forums. Think about giving it a test run at your organization to see what really resonates! The key with live video is to stay on long enough for people to see that you’re live and join in the conversation. Brainstorm with your team to see what you could go live for - a conference, a weekly chat, a ribbon cutting event...there are so many possibilities!
Another thing to consider trying is to create a Facebook group that members can join. Zuckerberg and Facebook’s official statement both imply that this is a great place for people to interact with public content published by a company or brand. If you’re worried about what a Facebook group might do to detract from an existing online community, I’d suggest making it a public group that members and non-members alike can join, and gear the conversation toward topics relevant to your industry or community as a whole. That way you’ll be getting the engagement you’re looking for, along with the exposure as the host of the group.
A final word of advice as we navigate this change: beware of engagement baiting!! In mid-December, Facebook announced that it would be making efforts to demote posts that provoke interaction by straight up asking for likes, comments, shares, etc. If there’s one thing that’s clear in all of this, Facebook wants to see authenticity across the board. Lean into that, and see what you can do!
As the impacts of this mandate unfold, I encourage you to experiment your overarching social media strategy. You might find that, ultimately, paying to boost important content on Facebook works, and shift your organic reach focus to Twitter, or LinkedIn. Or...you may not! There’s a lot of you can do and tweak to find out what works best for reaching your unique audience. For more on social media best practices, check out the Small Staff Guide to Social Media.