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How to Market Your Online Business with Recent Facebook News Feed Changes

Recent Facebook News Feed Changes Require Changes in Your Online Business Marketing

By: Catherine Perry

Facebook recently announced they are making significant changes to their news feed algorithm. This change will result in fewer public posts from pages and fewer videos in the news feed. The objective of the changes is an effort to prioritize “meaningful” person-to-person interactions among friends and family over posts from Facebook pages.
These changes definitely impact how online businesses should market through Facebook going forward.  In this article, we want to summarize the news feed algorithm changes and give you tips on how to adjust your marketing in light of these recent changes.

 

The Facebook News Feed Changes—What They Are, Why Facebook Made Them, and What is Affected

In the article on www.socialmediaexaminer.comFacebook Zero: The Changing News Feed and What Marketers Need to Know” Mark Zuckerburg is quoted saying this about the updates to the news feed:
 “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook, discussed the effect of the changes on brands and publishers in the future and is quoted as saying, “There will be less content directly from (professional) Pages.”
  • Main Objective of Changes

The primary motive in these changes is to stimulate “meaningful interactions” among Facebook users. Facebook thought that, in the past, there were too many ads that bombarded the user. Therefore, the company wanted to make changes that ultimately encourage more personal connections among the users.
According to Facebook on their Update to Facebook News Feed Page, they learned from their users that what people wanted was to see more stories from friends and the Pages they care about, and less promotional content. Through surveys, Facebook found that some of the traits that made organic posts feel too promotional are – posts that……
  1. Solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real content
  3.  Reuse the exact same content from ads
The algorithm changes specifically mean that Facebook users will see more posts from people they are connected to in the news feed and less content from pages they follow. In the past, news feed content prioritized the total time spent on Facebook and how many people shared pasts directly.
  • Page Content

As a result of Facebook prioritizing content that facilitates meaningful people-to-people connections, marketers of online businesses will see a drop in the organic reach of your Facebook pages. This doesn’t mean that Facebook doesn’t value page content—it is still valuable as a part of their “platform’s ecosystem.” However, what it does mean is that the news feed is shifting the focus from ranking content that is directly consumed from pages to content that is shared and talked about among friends.
The big takeaway for online business marketers is that your content on Facebook needs to engage people. Your content needs to not only grab the attention of the Facebook users, but also cause them to share and comment on your posts.

  • Facebook Groups

According to Mosseri, Facebook groups inspire a lot of meaningful conversation, and communities on Facebook, which means they are becoming “increasingly active and vibrant.” Therefore, expect content and discussions posted to groups to receive more distribution in the news feed.
  • Content That Friends Share and Talk About

News content that is shared and talked about among friends will receive a boost from changes in the way the news feed prioritizes content. At the same time, news that doesn’t generate comments or sharing will receive less distribution.

 

How You Can Market Effectively

First, don’t panic! This is a good thing; it’s just different from what you have experienced with Facebook in the past. These changes enable you to develop stronger connections and obtain even better feedback than before. Just like with any other type of change you may feel overwhelmed at first, but do not let this discourage you from reaching your customers through Facebook. You need to keep an open mind and use your creativity to reach them so we wanted to share some helpful tips to get you started!

Here are some of the main areas on which you can focus to adapt to the changes in Facebook.

  • Know Your Target Market

Now, more than ever, it’s important for you to clearly define your target market. Make profiles for your consumers by answering question like these:
  • What is the need for your products?
  • What problem(s) do your products solve?
  • Do your products serve a specific demographic group, for example, age, sex, location, etc.?
  • What does the customer like to do?
  • Why buy your products?
  • How can your consumer use your products?
  • What additional information does the consumer need to know about your products?
According to the “Target Market Analysis” article on www.bigcommerce.com, after you answer these questions, you should “refine your target market by identifying who has bought your product already.” This information includes target demographics, audience type, and other important attributes about your target customer segment. If your product or store is brand new, this article suggests looking at your competitors.
Use Facebook Insights to learn about the makeup of your audience. There is a tremendous amount of information such as who is responding to your posts and when. You can learn the geography, demographics, and interests of your audience through Facebook Insights.
  • Create Content that Engages

The definition of your target market will lead you to ways you can effectively market on Facebook. Keep engagement, connection, and interaction at the forefront of your mind when creating content; let these actions be the drivers of your content.  Try to include questions that stimulate comments in your posts. Or, write about timely and relevant topics that users are sure to have an opinion on. Be careful with this one, however; you don’t want to alienate a segment of users due to a controversial topic.
For example, if you own a pet store, you might create a post that asks “What are some of the ways you keep your pet warm in the winter months?” Include a picture of a pet and your Facebook page. Another example, if you own an camping supply store, you might post the question “How do you carry your cooking utensils to the cooking station from your tent?” In both of these examples you are soliciting input from the Facebook community so there is engagement, connection, and interaction.

  • Combine both Paid and Organic Marketing*

With these Facebook changes, you need to integrate your paid and organic Facebook strategies. (The definition of organic marketing is the act of getting your customers to come to you naturally over time, rather than artificially via paid links or boosted posts. Source: On Demand CMO, http://bit.ly/2BDiy3q).
In the article “How Businesses Can Benefit from Facebook Algorithm Changes 2018,” Reshift Media recommends “integrating organic and paid planning to use ad dollars as a means to prime the pump for organic reach.”
Bone up on Facebook advertising.  Keep in mind, because Facebook has de-valued a “fan,” it is recommended that you not invest any ad dollars in growing your fan base through “Facebook Like” campaigns. Instead, spend dollars on attracting prospective customers to your website or educating about your products.
Your website’s content with SEO is still valued as most important, but your paid ads can help boost the organic rankings.
  • Have an Engaging Blog on Your Website

At Pure-Ecommerce we know how important your website’s blog is for both search engine optimization and engagement with your customer, but it becomes even more vital in light of these Facebook changes. One of the best ways to encourage people to talk about your company on social media is to create a strong blog with interesting information about your company, industry, customers, and other relevant content.
You should actively promote your blog to existing customers through newsletters and social media. And, of course, always ensure that the blog is search engine optimized.
Experts suggest putting a modest ad budget towards promoting your content on several social networks, not just Facebook. The objective of promoting the blog is to encourage people to visit the blog and to read it. When they are on your article, ask for their thoughts and comments on social media. In this way you have assumed the reach within their social circles, which is more than you could achieve as a brand page. So, if they click through to the blog, read and share it, you achieve more distribution!
  • Encourage Users to “See First” for Your Page’s Content and Invest Time in Groups

Users can continue to choose “See First” in their news feed preferences in order to always see posts from their favorite pages. This is very important – Show your followers how to become, and ask your followers to become, “see first” fans of your page’s content. They can click “News Feed Preferences” and then prioritize who to see first. Or, when they visit your brand page, they can click on “Following” and then choose “See First.”
Because Facebook Groups already operate on the basis of audience engagement, using groups as a marketing tactic works well with the new algorithm. Do your research and look into new ways to engage customers with Groups. For example, HootSuite has some good information on this topic, you can find it here – “Everything Your Need to Know About Using Facebook Groups for Business
  • Try Live Video

In the new Facebook changes, live video carries a lot of weight. We know this may sound scary, but just be open to it. The content of your video depends on your business and customers, but here are some popular ideas (source: www.reshiftmedia.com)
  • Product Demonstrations
  • How to’s
  • Interviews
  • Product Launches
  • Explain a Product
  • Contest or Challenge
  • Behind-the Scenes/Live Tours
  • Breaking News
  • Announcing a New Blog Post
  • Answer Customer Questions From Your Blog or Facebook Page
A recurring video show is also a very popular strategy. Being successful with live video involves developing high-quality content that is informative and entertaining, which results in strong customer engagement.

We know this has been a long article and there’s a lot to digest. It’s a given that these changes will cause a period of uncertainty. Much of our research leads us to think that the News Feed update creates an opportunity for online stores to re-examine the low-engagement mass media approach of the past. Now is the time for brands to make meaningful changes that will improve Facebook results, as well as, the business drivers for customer engagement, satisfaction and acquisition of new customers.
Again, do not be afraid to adapt to these changes. Have fun with creating new ideas and new ways to reach your customers! We would love to hear your feedback on this post – post your questions or comments below. Don’t forget to share on your thoughts on our Facebook page too!

6 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Online Business Now for the 2017 Holiday Shopping Season

Make a plan and prepare your online business NOW for the fast approaching holiday shopping season!

By: Catherine Perry

Most of us are just now beginning to feel the cooler temperatures that signal the fall season. This past summer seemed to stretch on forever adding a few more days of late summer heat. But, even though a chill is finally in the air, if you own an online business there is no doubt that you are already thinking of the holidays and how you will be ready for the biggest shopping season of the year.
According to www.marketingland.com, a company that focuses their business on digital marketing, nearly 75% of retailers say that the holiday season accounts for approximately 20% of their annual sales. That’s one-fifth of the sales for the entire year made in only a couple of months!
While retailers experience lower sales volume in the summer months, sales for the holidays begin to gain traction in the fall and you need to be ready. We don’t want to scare you, but right now, you have about 80 shopping days until Christmas!
Now is the time to get your online business poised and on board for this very important season! We know that you are already busy wearing many hats as the owner of an online business. We get that. So, we’ve put together just 6 tips that can optimize your time in preparing you to gain as many sales as possible during the 2017 holiday shopping season.

 

Tip #1: Create a Holiday Marketing Calendar

First things are first, decide the holidays you will market. Between now and the end of the year, you have a “holiday” marketing opportunity about every other week. There is President’s Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday just to get started. So there are many events to which you can attach your marketing.But, you probably don’t have the time to market for every holiday that occurs in the next 2 months, so you need to decide which one(s) you will put your marketing efforts into.
That’s why it is important to create a holiday marketing calendar and outline the holidays you want to focus on during the busy holiday season. We suggest focusing on the holiday season after Thanksgiving for the biggest return on your investment. If you find you have “extra” time, then pick out a couple of the other holidays for sales to fill in.

 

Tip #2: Collect Email Addresses

To prepare for a strong marketing campaign, you need to collect as many email addresses as possible. The email address is a very powerful tool for you both in the short- and long-term.
Jeremy Smith, a digital marketing expert, posts on his blog that you “can create an incredible connection with the customer long after they leave your site” through an email address. And, it isn’t as difficult to obtain as you may be thinking. The best method to get email addresses is to offer incentives that you give in return for obtaining their addresses. Such things as free shipping and discount coupons are great ways to get email addresses. Additionally, you can offer to give customers “heads-up” information first about upcoming sales and specials through if you have their email address.

 

Tip #3: Provide Customers Information Through Your FAQ & About Us Pages

You are going to be extremely busy during this shopping season and may find it difficult to keep up with answering all the questions that come in. A great way to provide information relative to initial, frequently asked, and common questions is through your FAQ page. Don’t overlook keeping this page filled out. Anticipate what your customers may need to know and questions they may have. Put the answers on your FAQ page for their assistance. Potential and current customers appreciate the help and will consider this part of your top-notch customer service!
It is also important to have an “About Us” page on your online business. It is a great platform to give your customers a “warm welcome”! You can share information about your business and why they should shop with you. By having this additional information it can help build a trust that many online customers are searching for when they shop at an ecommerce business.

 

Tip #4: Use social media to Reach Customers

Social media, social media, social media – we can not say it enough! There is no debating the fact that many people get their consumer information through social media, so you need to really “up your game” on social media this time of year. People get recommendations, see advertisements, click on e-commerce sites and find out about great deals through social media these days. We’re talking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Make a conscious effort to increase your presence by spending money, time and energy. It can impact your sales in a big way!

 

Tip #5: Have Enticing Shipping Terms, Return Policy and Discounts
People want to have convenience at their fingertips when they shop online.  By offering consumers incentives like free shipping and discounts, you are giving them something upfront that entices them to shop with you. This is very important in gaining sales. However, you don’t want to give all of your profits away either. Spend time studying your numbers in order to calculate the discounts you can afford. Shipping costs can be tricky so really focus on how you can offer this to customers and still be profitable.
A liberal return policy goes a long way for people to feel more comfortable in spending their money online with you. For a drop-ship business, more than likely you aren’t the one receiving the returned items. Be sure you have this covered with your vendors so that returning merchandise is handled smoothly.

 

Tip #6: Have a Festive Feel To Your Website

Your online business needs to look like you are in the holiday swing of things so put some time into giving your homepage a festive look. Having the holiday “look” on your site helps get consumers into the mood and stimulates them to buy. Many people shop early but don’t buy until closer to the day; that’s okay. Just have the site show that you have a focus on the holidays.
One thing not to do is change your site in a big way at the holidays. Don’t reorganize the site’s categories or navigation at this time because it may confuse the shopper. Just spruce it up with holiday cheer!
We hope these 6 tips have given you some ways to prepare for the 2017 holiday season. Start working on these things now. Focus on planning and then executing. We are confident that, by working diligently now, you will have a great season of sales in the coming months!

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