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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 2: Seven Tips for Using Twitter to Build Your Online Business

By: Catherine Perry

Seven Twitter Tips to help you reach potential customers and market your online business!

Social media is THE way to get the message out about your ecommerce business. At Pure-Ecommerce we are writing a series of articles on how to market your business through social media because we believe it is SO important to building your brand and business. In the first article of the series we talked about using Facebook to communicate to a large group of people about your business. You can see the Facebook Tips we shared here.
In this the second article, we want to give you some tips on how you can market and build your fan base through the use of Twitter. As of February 2017, according to Statista.com there are 328 million active monthly users on Twitter. While that is quite a way from the billions of Facebook users, it remains a social media force that is to be reckoned with because it is continuing to grow.
Due to the rapid increase in the numbers of Twitter users in the last few years, strategies in using it have changed. There is a lot of competition for Twitter feeds because there are so many conversations. Not all of your followers will get your tweets because of the sheer activity of Twitter users. We will go into some ways to combat the attention deficit in this article. But, first, let’s look at why Twitter is important as part of your marketing plan.

What is Twitter and Why is It Important?

We hear from our clients that Twitter is an enigma to them and they still don’t quite get 1) what it is and 2)why it is important for them to use as a marketing tool.  Twitter is a way you can discover what your target market is talking about and searching for. And, when used correctly, it can boost your connections and website traffic. It’s like having conversations with people who are looking for a solution to a problem or need. This is valuable information for you to have for your business. Instead of attending “old-school” networking events to get your business in front of people who may be interested in what you are offering, for an ecommerce business you can use Twitter!
Social Media Examiner describes Twitter as “a short message communication tool that allows you to send out messages up to 140 characters long to people who subscribe to you (“followers”).” In these messages that you send, you can include words and links to any web content such as blogs, website pages, PDF documents, photographs and video. So, because it is only 140 characters long, you have to be concise and succinct (or, “short and sweet”)! There is no wasting time composing paragraphs in the message; therefore, it suits the lifestyle we have become accustomed to in our multi-tasking, fast-paced world.
People follow your Twitter account by subscribing to it and you follow other people by subscribing to them. You read, reply to “tweets” and share tweets or “retweet” with your followers.  For your business, the bottom line is that you use Twitter to get your message, your branding, and information about your products out to a community who uses Twitter and who is interested in what you have to offer. You can see how this ability to quickly pass along information to people who may be interested is important in marketing your business.
(Note that it is outside the scope of this article to give instructions on how to actually use Twitter; however, at the end of the article we will post some great resources for learning the basics.)
Now, here are 7 tips on marketing your online business through Twitter.

Tip #1 – Find People to Follow

Initially, your Twitter experience is defined by the conversations you get from people you follow, not from those who follow you. On Facebook you have “friends” who receive your posts and you get their posts; on Twitter, you receive tweets from the people you “follow” and you send tweets out to those who follow you.
You want to find people who are experts, leaders, or points of influence in your industry to follow. Additionally, you want to follow those people who are your target market. They could be people, companies, or organizations–consumers, companies, vendors, competitors, and trade organizations. It is also good to follow people in your local area, such as your Chamber of Commerce and other small business organizations to help you put the name of your business out in your local community. Spend some time making a list of who these are. Also, be sure to follow your competitors and others in your industry to see what they are tweeting.  The important take away here is to start following others on Twitter – the goal here is to have them come back and follow you too!

Tip #2 – Listen and Share

Begin watching the tweets that are coming to you from those you are following–this is the “listening” part.  You can use Twitter’s advanced search or use other tools (HootSuite, Sprout Social) to look for tweets that include your products.
Then, retweet—this is the “sharing” part! You benefit from the information you are getting from those you are following, and you are sharing that information. A retweet affirms the user who originally sent the tweet, and that is always a good way to get a fan. As you continue to do this, you will start to get followers yourself.

Tip #3 – Create Your Brand

Be strategic in your tweets to build your brand. The core of your message is in the information you link to. The links that you include in your tweets should be relevant to your business, your products, and your brand, but do not only promote. You want to ensure your tweets are a good mix of informative, entertaining and educational tweets along with some promotional ones in the mix.
Your headline needs to grab attention and lead someone to click on the link. The headline should give a bit of information so the Twitter user has some idea of what you are about; it should be useful, have a sense of urgency, and be rewarding for the user who follows the link.
For example, if you have an internet business that provides yoga clothing, you might do a series of tweets educating on the benefits of being mindful. Or, if you have an internet business that provides organic products, you might tweet on why organic is important.
You can link to information regarding sales or discounts from your website. You can link to articles written by experts. And, don’t forget to use photos and videos in your tweets for pulling people into your message as well. Don’t think its important to add an image related to your post, well think again, it is! Tweets with image links have engagement rates TWO TIMES higher than tweets without according to findings by Buddy Media. Just as in your FB posts and blog posts, visuals are powerful and very popular these days!

Tip #4 – Create an Editorial Content Calendar

As with any marketing plan, you need to have plan! A calendar for your tweeting is just as important as your editorial Facebook calendar because it keeps you on track for a disciplined, consistent approach and on point with your message.
Schedule your tweets consistently for a few days or weeks. For example, you can set aside certain days for particular kinds of tweets. Monday might be for special promotions. Tuesday could be for tweeting blog posts. Maybe you tweet how-to tips on Wednesday. On Thursday you may tweet about industry trends. And, Friday could be for videos or photographs.
Note that you can get content from 3rd-party sources–as long as it is pertinent to your branding message–so you don’t always have to create original content.

Tip #5 – Tweet Consistently and Frequently

There is a lot of activity on Twitter. This is “good news/bad news.” Good news: Because of the traffic, you have a large audience to reach. Bad news: Because of the traffic, you can get lost in the “noise” and it may be harder to get noticed. Tweets don’t have the same organic reach they used to because of the number of users.
To combat this, you need to be consistent and frequent in your tweets. This means you should probably look at tweeting several times per day in order to get seen.  Don’t fall into a habit of tweeting a link to your blog once and then no more. You will definitely benefit by tweeting multiple times during the week in order to get more followers seeing it. In the Coschedule.com article, “How Often to Post on Social Media”, they share insight from DowSocial suggesting “businesses should be tweeting a minimum of six tweets per day, and to do it daily. Since Twitter is a fast-paced network, they say that tweeting about once an hour during business hours is a good guideline, coupled with engagement tweets.”
Another tactic is to use Twitter for connecting directly with your followers, instead of only using it as a mass messaging channel. You can engage in conversations and be personal in your tweets, which makes it a great forum for providing advice and customer service. Many large companies are finding Twitter to be their preferred way of communicating with customers.
Tweeting often not only helps you to stay active on newsfeeds but improves your ranking in online searches. Be sure to use keyword-rich phrases in your tweets as often as possible.

Tip #6: Use Advanced Search Options for Opportunities

Twitter contains advanced search capabilities (search.twitter.com) that allow you to search for keywords people might use to find your product. For example, let’s say you have an organic nutrition website. People who are looking for those products might tweet on the phrase “organic nutrition.” You can search on those keywords to get the tweets that contain them and then reach out to those people. You can start building relationships just by saying “hello” and asking them to connect.

Tip #7: Use Keywords & Hashtags in Your Tweets

Using keyword-rich tweets has 2 benefits: 1) helps in your search engine ranking and 2) helps you find followers. You should always be aware of using keywords that relate to your business when sending tweets so it is easier for people to find you. (When you purchase a website through Pure-Ecommerce, your Twitter account and links to it from your website are also created. We always use keywords in your bio on Twitter and in your company name, which helps Google index content that is relevant to your business.)
Hashtags may seem like the “trendy” thing to do, but they actually have relevance. Twitter support says, “People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter search. Clicking or tapping on a hashtagged word in any message shows you other Tweets that include that hashtag.” You are probably asking yourself, “How many hashtags should I use per tweet”. That leads us to this article by Buffer Social, How to Use Hashtags, where they share this data – “Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more. Tweets that use more than two hashtags actually show a 17% drop in engagement.” Keep these stats in mind when you’re adding hashtags to your tweet.
We hope these 7 tips will be helpful as you build your online business. Using Twitter should be an integral part of your marketing plan. Start following and retweeting today!!

Resources to Learn Twitter Basics

Here are a few places you can go to for the basics:

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