By Olsy Sorokina | Courtesy Hootsuite
Have you been slacking off when it comes to updating your brand’s Facebook Strategy? Have you been working with the same strategy since before the introduction of Timelines? You’re not alone.
Facebook is constantly adding and optimizing new features to keep up with the fickle desires of its audiences and keep its spot as a leader in the world of social media. Some of these additions, such as the introduction of the cover photo, are obvious from the start. Other changes take a while to register, and can work against your brand’s social media presence without you realizing it. In order to avoid this, and to make sure your social media strategy is up to date, here are several Facebook features introduced over the past 3 years that you need to understand to keep your Facebook strategy fresh.
1. Profiles are personal, and Pages are professional
Keeping a Facebook profile for your business is not only outdated, it violates Facebook’s Terms of Services. There are countless advantages to a Page for your business; it makes building a relationship with a fan or a customer effortless, as they are only required to ‘Like’ a page to start receiving updates from your brand. Pages also get the perk of Facebook Insights, a free analytics feature that track the results of your Page on the network.
2. Facebook now has verified accounts
Following the example of Twitter and Google+, Facebook now allows you to sport the prestigious blue checkmark that verifies your brand’s account. It’s recommended that your brand’s Page goes through the verification process, which often only involves putting a link to the official website in the description, and making sure the “About” section is completed. Verified accounts are more likely to appear in the Suggested Content field on the users’ News Feeds, which is helpful for your Facebook strategy as it means your Page is more likely to be seen by potential fans.
3. Over 50% of Facebook users are mobile
Facebook boasts over one billion users and more than half of these use the mobile platform. Facebook Mobile app has a permanent spot on top of the free app charts for both iTunes Store and Google Play. Make sure to optimize your updates for mobile, and make sure all your shared external links lead to mobile-friendly pages—so you don’t scare off half of your potential audience!
4. Users do judge the Page by its cover
There is no excuse for disregarding your Facebook Page’s cover photo in 2014. Introduced in 2011 along with Facebook’s Timeline, a cover photo is a great way for customers to get to know your brand: you can use it to encourage link visits, advertise an upcoming event, or simply get new visitors to ‘Like’ your page. Some tips to keep in mind: make it colourful, center- or right-align your cover photos for better mobile optimization, and try to keep it light on the text.
5. Younger users have larger audiences
Despite all the talk about teenagers abandoning Facebook for greener social media pastures, recent research confirms that users in the 18-29 age group still make up a large part of the social media audience. They also generally have bigger circles: the median number of Facebook friends for this age group is 300, the largest among other groups. If you want to expand your audience, find out what the kids are up to these days—they are a tough crowd to crack, but once you reach them, they will be your biggest fans.
6. ‘Passion pages’ are a gold mine for referral traffic
Facebook users often express their interests through Page Likes, instead of explicitly including their passions in profile descriptions. Enter passion pages: Facebook Pages that include the words “I Love” or “I Like” in their names. Create one for something your customers are bound to love—for example, if your brand specializes in outdoor gear and you’re based out of British Columbia, “I Love BC Outdoors” could be a great passion page for you. How does it benefit your brand? If you include a link to your brand’s page or website, this is a great way to refer potential customers and create new fans.
7. People use Facebook for the lulz
Multiple studies released around Facebook’s tenth anniversary agreed on this as the most common reason to use the social network: users log in to get some laughs. Sure, people share facts about their lives, but those also get more ‘Likes’ if the update happens to be funny. Don’t be afraid to incorporate a little humour into your Facebook strategy: make your updates informative and entertaining (like this post, for example).
8. Content related to current events is more visible
Facebook is one of the leading tools for sharing news, and it has developed a lot of features to take advantage of this fact: (mostly) spoiler-free ‘Trending’ sidebar, suggested content, and related links. The latter is especially useful for social media managers: if you share content related to the news of the day, it is likely to get more audience engagement. Don’t be afraid to connect your content to the big news of the day, and then share it with your Facebook fans.
9. #Hashtagged posts reach bigger audiences
So you’re a pro at using hashtags in tweets, but feel weird about doing the same for Facebook updates? Facebook has officially introduced clickable hashtags last June to make it easier to track discussions online, so if you haven’t done so already—join the trending conversations.
10. Explicitly shared app content is more visible on News Feeds
It’s a great idea to link all your social accounts, but make sure you don’t get complacent with your posting habits. Your audience is more engaged with explicitly shared content (i.e. third-party app content intentionally cross-posted to Facebook)—and Facebook modifies the News Feed to include more explicitly shared third-party app posts. This means that if you manage your brand’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, instead of automatically having all your Tweets copy to Facebook updates, you should manually select which ones you share. This also prevents you from the pitfall of overwhelming your fans with too much content.
11. A picture’s worth a hundred text updates—photos increase engagement and reach
One of the modifications for Facebook’s News Feed includes fewer “text-based updates” from Pages. This means that your posts are more likely to reach a wider audience if you illustrate them with photos. If your brand is design-savvy, you can include original visual content to accompany your updates, to follow Kraft Dinner’s example.
12. Instagram + Facebook = Social Media Success
If your brand also has an Instagram account (and it really should!), you can take advantage of the modifications by including photos from your brand’s Instagram in Facebook updates. Now that the popular image-sharing app lives under the Facebook umbrella, it should be a seamless inclusion into your Facebook strategy. Instagram is a great visual tool to engage your audience on their smartphones—as we’ve just mentioned in #3, half of your fans are probably using the mobile Facebook app already, so the switch between the two is very likely.
13. Video posts can reach a larger audience—if users find them interesting
Facebook recently made changes to its News Feed to reflect users’ video-watching habits: those who watch more videos will see more video material on their feed, which means frequently watched videos will have a significantly larger reach. If we haven’t stressed video use for audience engagement enough, this is yet another reason to do it—especially on Facebook.
14. Slingshot is Facebook’s newest video app
Since videos are a great way to engage your social media audience, why not try Facebook’s answer to Snapchat, a newly introduced instant video app Slingshot? It works similarly to the popular ephemeral video apps, but has a bonus reciprocal feature: the users can’t see your video until they share something in return. Slingshot has the potential for a great two-way conversation between you and your brand’s fans.
15. Like Ads help promote your Page
A ‘Like Ad’ is Facebook’s non-invasive way to promote Pages on users’ News Feeds. It functions the same way as tagging one’s friends in photos or updates: similar to this, a Like Ad shows up in the News Feed of the person whose friends liked a page or a post. There are a few ways to build your Facebook audience using Like Ads, with some requiring an investment of as little as $20 or less to boost posts to hundreds of users.
16. Storytelling ads result in more page visits
A recent study sponsored by the social media giant discovered that Facebook users are more likely to visit the page if the advertisement tells a story. Storytelling means ‘sequencing’ the ad, which entails a series of separate ads that tell the story of the brand, explain the product, and only then invite the user to visit the page. We have always encouraged making storytelling a part of your social media strategy, and the latest research provides more support for our call.
17. Hiring? Facebook is full of educated job seekers
Research shows that graduates in search of their first post-college jobs are incredibly active on Facebook. Graduates are almost twice as active on Facebook after they walk across the stage as they were during their studies, and they discuss their job hunts and interviews extensively. Consider dipping into this large pool of educated young minds if your company is hiring, or wants to find out what happens in young graduates’ lives.
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