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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!

Social Media Series – Part 1: Four Easy Tips Using Facebook for Your Online Business

facebook-tips-for-online-business

By: Catherine Perry

Use Facebook to market your online business with these four easy tips!

This starts our series on using social media to market your online business. During this series we will post articles giving you tips using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Blogging for boosting your business. We are beginning the series with tips for using Facebook because we feel using Facebook is one of the top priorities for your marketing plan.
In case you still need to be convinced that Facebook is a primary way to reach an audience, here are some statistics that should back us up when we say, “It is!”
Based on the article “Top 15 Valuable Facebook Statistics” on zephoria.com, a digital marketing agency that collects data from social media outlets, here are a few of the statistics you may be interested in when thinking about using Facebook to boost your online business:
  • Worldwide, for the month of March 2017, there were over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users, which is an 18 percent increase year over year.(Source: Facebook 5/3/17).
  • There were 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile DAU) for December 2016, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year.
  • 28 billion people logged onto Facebook as daily active users (Facebook DAU) for first Quarter of 2017, which represents an 18% increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 05/03/17)
These 3 statistics show the massive audience on Facebook, showing that Facebook is too big to ignore in your marketing plan. No, you may not want to engage all of these users, but you don’t want to neglect getting your message out to the part of Facebook who will be interested in what you have to offer either!
Another great resource for data on this subject is www.smartinsights.com. According to their article “New Global Social Media Research” published 1st quarter 2017, the U.S. is “the most advanced major market” and, as such, is a good indication for future global trends, as shown in this graphic:

It is a fact that in 2017, if you have a business of any sort—service or product, online or not, you absolutely must have a presence on Facebook! It is THE way to build a brand and increase web traffic.
So, the question is, how can you best utilize your valuable time on Facebook for business? We think there are certain tasks you need to do to reach your objectives.

facebook-for-online-businessPost to Facebook Consistently

Posting in a consistent way keeps your message in front of Facebook users. When you post only sporadically and have too much time between posts, you send a haphazard message. Creating an editorial calendar for your social media marketing effort will keep you on task. People like to see consistent posts and will come to look for them. The standard rule of thumb is to post on your Facebook business page at a minimum of two or three times a week, but once per day is recommended to keep your business in front of your followers. Posting more often than that could be construed as crowding your fans, but you can decide what seems appropriate for your products and audience.
We found from a couple of different sources that 1) the highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 p.m. (source: bit.ly blog) and 2) a Facebook post at 7 p.m. results in more clicks on average than a posting at 8 p.m. (source: Forbes.com). So, what this tells us is that you may reach more consumers during peak usage times, but people may be more engaged in the evenings. Additionally, engagement is higher on Thursdays and Fridays (source: bit.ly.blog). Trial and error will give you more information for your own business regarding the “best” times for your postings.

Post to Entertain and Informfacebook-for-online-business-tips

People use Facebook for a lot of different reasons—staying in touch and connecting with others, learning and being informed about new products and services that are available, and being entertained. But, we maintain that being entertained is an overall desire people have even when their goal is to be informed. This means that you need to make your posts not only meaningful but also entertaining in order to grab your audience’s attention and keep it.
Using pictures and videos is a great way to achieve this. Visual content has become a requirement for social media postings. Information from hubspot.com in the article “How to Create a Facebook Business Page” tells us that visual content is “40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.” One of the Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons on Facebook business pages is “Watch Video” because it is such a prevalent way to get content. Using both pre-recorded and “live” videos engages consumers and keeps your message in front of them. Using images and videos of your products is a great way to show your customers how to use them and why they need them in their life.

facebook-online-business-call-to-actionUse Call-to-Action Buttons

Be sure you give the consumer a reason to act and an easy way to do so – this is key and you can do this from your Facebook business page by using CTA buttons. Through the “Add a Button” option on your page you can select the CTA you want to create and the URL and/or existing content on your Facebook page you want to direct visitors to. This is extremely important in seizing on the initial interest people may have to your brand and products. Don’t just post and never ask the audience to do anything or assume they will go the extra step to find your website. Make it easy for them!
Optimize the information you publish about your website in the “About” section. Put your mission, your story, and a general description with descriptive copy. This gives your audience a feel for your business before they decide to like it.
You can also set up a “Shop” section on your Facebook business page in order to sell products directly.

Target Your Audience with Facebook Adsfacebook-advertising-online-business

Creating a Facebook ad is one of the best ways to introduce your online business to a targeted market. A Facebook ad promotes your page and it is easy to create. When you click the 3 dots at the top menu bar above a post, you can then select “Create Ad.” From this point, Facebook lets you start creating an ad from scratch based on your goals, like creating reach or generating traffic or even simply generating brand awareness.
Ads are exponentially more effective when you target them to certain audiences to whom you want to market. You can even segment individual page posts by gender, relationship status, educational status, age, location, language, or interests. You choose the amount of money you want to spend daily and the number of days the ad will go out. As with everything, this works best when you do it consistently. But, you will find your fans increase rapidly using Facebook ads!
By using these 4 tips for using Facebook to promote your online business and by being consistent, you will begin to build your brand and your fan base. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you are diligent and patient!

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