It appears Facebook is trying to compete with Google when it comes to keeping online marketers up at night.
Facebook regularly tweaks their newsfeed algorithm, known as Edgerank, and research suggests the most recent changes come with heavy side effects for business pages. So if the engagement or virality stats on your self-storage facility’s Facebook page have seen some twists and turns lately, don’t panic. You are not alone.
When Facebook switched to its new Timeline layout, they introduced a “Top Stories” filter to the newsfeed— basically your Facebook homescreen, where your friends’ and liked pages’ posts appear in a never-ending stream. The new layout rearranged the newsfeed to bring users content that is more tailored to their interests. As a business page, getting users to notice you got tougher. Now it appears Facebook has taken it a step further, more specifically toward de-cluttering the experience for mobile and tablet users.
Liz Heron, social media editor of the Wall Street Journal, conducted a test among her subscribers on October 9. She asked them to only Like her posts if they saw them appear in their newsfeed. Here were her findings:
In the past, Facebook has said that content with higher engagement gets shown more often in users’ newsfeeds. So as a marketer, you’re not only competing for attention with other businesses and your customers’ friends, but with Facebook’s algorithm as well. If you’re trying to build your storage facility page up, you find yourself in a strange paradox: How do I get more engagement in the first place when content with higher engagement gets shown more?
The answer isn’t surprising: You have to pay to play. Promoted posts and sponsored stories ads are your first play, and we covered that a bit last month.
One way to take this a step further is to target mobile users in your ads. At this point, I don’t need to give you stats on the rise of mobile. You can’t get two seconds into your morning Internet routine without reading something about how mobile is the future. So mobile focus is a must, and check out how Facebook is using mobile advertising:
The ”Pages You May Like” section is dropped right into the middle of users’ newsfeeds on mobile. Facebook also employs the friendsourcing technique, letting you know you should Like a page because someone you trust (or at least, are FB friends with) likes the brand. In many cases, mobile advertising has yielded better results than desktop.
Good thing for you, Facebook lets you target mobile users with ads, and it’s fairly simple to do:
When creating an ad, just find the “Broad Categories” section and select “Mobile Users,” then check the “All” box. This does not limit you to just mobile, ads will display for desktop users as well.
Also note that Facebook recently announced they will allow personal users, not just brands, to pay and promote their posts. So aside from other marketers, now you’ll be competing with baby pics and artsy shots of sushi dinners. Yeesh.
So what’s the real lesson here? There is so much to contend against on Facebook that you need to step your game up. Especially since we work in self-storage, we’re already fighting an uphill battle. Like a veteran quarterback being pushed by a young hotshot rookie, competition is fierce. You need to post the most entertaining or valuable content possible, and not be afraid to devote resources to promoting it.
Like football, Facebook marketing is a game of inches, and every inch counts. As Al Pacino said in his famous Any Given Sunday speech, “When we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING.”
Keep that in mind when it comes to Facebook marketing. Spending just a little extra cash or focusing more time on producing great content can give you that one extra step ahead of your competition. Fight for that inch.