Why Your Facebook Strategy Has To Change In 2015

December 28, 2014

Facebook recently announced that on January 1, 2015, they are making a huge change to their algorithm that will virtually eliminate the reach of promotional posts on Facebook.

What this basically means is that if you post on your Facebook page to promote that awesome sale you have going on, chances are – nobody will see it.

Marketers all over the world are freaking out, and I can understand why. Even the Wall Street Journal is proclaiming that this change will sting entrepreneurs.

We’ve seen Facebook reach go down significantly over the last few months. HUGE Facebook pages that used to get A LOT of engagement and have been able to drive tons of traffic back to their sites are now running away with their tails between their legs.

With more changes coming in just a few days, I’m seeing page owners make the call to essentially leave Facebook behind and move on to “the next best thing”, whatever they think that is.

As I think about the changes that are coming, I see something more. I see that if I want to survive in a social media world, I have to completely revamp my Facebook strategy.

What We’ve Been Doing

12_29_Social_Media_2015_PinterestThe beauty of social media is that you are able to get your content in front of a lot of people in a relatively short period of time.

As marketers, we use our Facebook pages and profiles, Twitter accounts, Google+ accounts etc, to connect with our audience and show them what we have going on.

If we just posted new content to our blogs, we want our followers (I hate the word fans) to know about it and go check them out. So we jump on Social Media and announce it to the world.

However, we also try to mix it up. Maybe we come up with a ratio of other people’s content to our own content so that it doesn’t seem like we are just pushing our own stuff.

We try to ask questions, post quotes, etc to generate engagement so that we can stay top of mind and that when we post links, our followers will click over to our websites.

It made sense because it worked.

What Social Media Is Becoming

I don’t know if you realize it, but social media is more and more becoming a reflection of our everyday lives (in some ways). When social media was in its infancy, we were just trying to figure it out.

Social-NetworkingNow that it has been around for a while, we’re much more comfortable with it. We use it to communicate with friends and family, find out about what’s going on in the world around us, and even meet new people.
We even have parties on Social Media. In essence, social media has matured, and although I do believe it still has ways to go, it has indeed come a long way.

With this growth, there’s also a growth in what we expect from it. We want it to be more like real life.

Now imagine this – You go out with a friend and this guy/girl starts talking about how awesome they are. They are constantly telling you what they are doing, and whenever they have something to sell, they try to get you to buy it.

social-connectionsYou know exactly what I’m talking about. We all have that one friend who maybe stumbled into “the most amazing Multi-Level Marketing Company IN THE WORLD”. They are now a believer and believe that if you want to change your health, life, and the world, you need to get on board.

Side note: this is not about me knocking MLM companies. I do believe that there are legit ones out there, but it works for the purpose of my illustration.

That’s exactly how we have been approaching Social Media (maybe not you, but I know I have). We use it to tell people what we’re doing in our business, we share all of our posts, we promote our products, and you know what – people are tired.

Social media is becoming more like real life, and in real life, people crave connection. People are looking to engage with others. People want to laugh. People cry (whether they want to or not). People struggle through difficult situations and people often need encouragement. People want to dance. People are PEOPLE.

Why Facebook Is Changing And Why I Like It

thumbs_up1So Facebook is making changes. Why? Yes, I know the typical answer – they are money-hungry pigs that want to squeeze every cent out of us unsuspecting Facebook addicts. But what if there’s more?

Have you noticed that they’ve been doing a lot more surveys recently? I have.

What do you think they are hearing from users? How much they LOVE promotional posts? How much they wish people would sell to them more when they come on Facebook to see what’s up with their friends? Absolutely not.

People don’t care for that, and if Facebook is to survive (and yes – make more money) for the next 5, 10 or 20 years, they HAVE TO try their best to keep their users (relatively) happy.

Myspace died off quickly because they didn’t adapt to their maturing user base. And no – I don’t want another Myspace.

Facebook has to become more human. It has to be a place where users are engaged, and for Facebook pages to continue to be successful, they have to engage their audience in a more authentic way.

THAT, my friend, takes a lot more work, but it’s more real (in my opinion). For that reason, I’m happy about the changes. I would much rather engage my audience than be that sleazy salesman.

A “New” Facebook Strategy

So, what’s this “New” Facebook strategy that I believe will be necessary in order to survive the Facebook changes that are inevitable?

It’s definitely not to jump ship and find the “next best thing”.

It’s to do exactly what Facebook is doing – figure out exactly what your audience wants and give it to them.

Here are some of the general things I plan on doing as a part of my Facebook Strategy.

Share more images

stock-photosI just took a scan through my Facebook newsfeed and the predominant things I’m seeing being shared are images – funny pics, memes, image quotes, etc.

This is not just a coincidence. People love sharing this kind of stuff. Social Media is becoming more and more visual. Yes, it takes time to get nice images, edit and post them, but people want them – so I will be giving it to them.

Short Videos

Video PlayerThese are also shared quite often on Social media – funny, inspirational, educational, thought provoking video clips etc.

Once again, it takes work, but so worth it.

Ask Engaging Questions

I don’t want to be that guy who always has something to say but never cares about what others have to say.

QuestionsI know that the people who follow me on social media have opinions, knowledge and all kinds of other things to share that can enhance the Become A Blogger community and I want to tap into that.

LISTEN

EngageThis is a direct outgrowth of the previous point. Social media isn’t all about talking. It’s more about listening.

What is your audience speaking about? How are they answering your questions? What are they telling you and what will you do about it?

Engage

When someone leaves a comment on my facebook post, I want to engage them in an ongoing dialog. And no, I don’t simply mean – “Thanks for your comment”. I mean asking follow up questions, looking at their response, following up with them, etc.

You know – like in real life? Yes, I want my Facebook page to be like real life.

Be Consistent

I SUCK at this. I’m not consistent, and I believe it’s because I haven’t had a full strategy when it comes to what I do online.

Well, I’ve been doing a lot of planning, and one of my main goals is to be consistent with my social media postings. I’ve personally decided to focus on Facebook, and once I get that going consistently and efficiently, I will move on to Twitter.

Analyze and Adjust

Think_AnalyzeThis is one of the most important part of the strategy. I want to be proactively looking at my stats and seeing what people are resonating with. The more I do that, the better I will understand what works for my audience.

I know what you’re thinking

“Leslie, that isn’t anything revolutionary”. Nope, it isn’t. It’s being social, engaging, and giving people what they are looking for.

THAT, is what social media is all about. Not you selling me on your product, but you actually doing what we expect from people in real life.

What do YOU think?

How do you feel about the upcoming Facebook changes? Are you concerned? Are you afraid? What’s your plan of action? Let me know in the comments below.

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57 Comments

  • Candra Evans says:

    Awesome article. I was just about to abandon Facebook for good when I first read your title. 🙂 I’m all strategized out when it comes to getting Facebook users to my blog. Because of this I’ve been MIA from my Facebook page for several months. It’s been on auto pilot via Twitter. Using more images and video is something I haven’t tried much of. You have encouraged me to give it a go. Thanks!

  • maxinvegas says:

    Great ideas! I have been hearing about these impending changes to FB and the importance the new algorithm will place on photos and videos. It seems that FB users want the videos and pictures and makes me wonder how this all ties in to Instagram. Does this change also potentially put a greater emphasis on G+ or a similar service?

    • I don’t think it will put a greater emphasis on G+. People just haven’t bought on to G+ as much as we thought they would. I think Instagram will continue to thrive because people love their images, and with Facebook owning Instagram, I can see instagram images rising in priority there. I haven’t caught onto the instagram movement though. For me, it’s just another thing. I need more focus in my life 🙂

  • Guest says:

    Great idea with the change. Getting ti know what interest others is key and supplying service

  • Joy says:

    Great idea with changes! Knowing what interest others is a great way to supply the services others need most.

  • Hoosier Homemade says:

    I’ve been working hard over the last 6 months to build my reach on Facebook. The struggle I have is that I can post the exact same way one day and the very next day it’s totally changed. I’ve asked questions, posted photos (without links), shared large pages posts, etc. etc. And nothing seems to work. I did have a post go viral about a month ago, and the reach stayed up for about a week, then dropped back down. And I did the exact same thing I had been doing before the viral post.
    So, I’m really at a loss. I will continue to share, but I definitely feel like jumping ship and finding the next thing.
    Great points Leslie!

    • I hear you Liz, I’ve heard that from a number of people and I definitely understand. But then there are people having massive success even today. I think it’s becoming more and more important to learn from what they are doing.

      A lot of the people I see who are having those kinds of issues are people who post mostly a lot of links to their own content. I believe (and it’s only an educated guess at this point) that Facebook looks at that and determines not to take the page as seriously.

      I think the key is getting people engaged on the platform as much as possible and then being VERY targeted about where you send them.

      For my, my goal is to Engage, engage, engage, and then send them directly to an opt in when I do send them. The more people I get on my list, the better.

    • Hoosier Homemade says:

      I agree Leslie. I will continue to try and engage, I just don’t seem to have talkers on my page. The large pages that are having success share content all day long, so it’s a bit aggravating.
      But I will keep pressing on and try to win the game. 🙂

    • Wait a minute – you do have women who like your page right? Then TRUST ME, you have talkers.

      Ok, now that I made that quick jab, I can move on to the serious stuff 😉

      I think there are many pages that have success that post maybe 4 to 6 times/day. I agree that it is tricky, and I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I will for sure give it a good try in 2015 and will be reporting on my findings 🙂

    • Hoosier Homemade says:

      Surprisingly the women don’t talk on my page. I ask question after question – and crickets.

    • That makes me wonder if you’re being penalized for other content that you’re posting. I find it interesting how many of the entertainers have ridiculous reach. It seems as if the more you make people laugh, the more reach you get.

      I don’t know. Now I’m just speculating.

    • Jerry Dugan says:

      Seems legit.

    • claycath says:

      I have had luck by making the question into a photo meme. You know, find a good relevant photo and add the question on it with a photo editor (I use pic-monkey). These seem to get better reach more than just a question by itself.

    • Hoosier Homemade says:

      Thanks for the reminder! I have tried that in the past. I still didn’t get very good interaction. It’s strange for sure.

    • Yeah, that’s a good one. Takes a lot of creativity though.

    • Jerry Dugan says:

      Photo meme seems like a brilliant idea. Makes sense from a multimedia education principle, too. I have the same issue like Hoosier Homemade.

    • claycath says:

      You may need to try it a few times to hit the right button with your audience. It helps if you know what their concerns are. If you are getting any comments at all to your FB page or your blog, check and see what they are talking about and use that as fodder for your question memes.

    • It does indeed. I’m thinking about that more 🙂

  • Gail Wilson says:

    Honestly, I wish fb would do what twitter did–get rid of my dead weight. I have over 450k likes, but my reach has been as low as 1%. Likes are great, but I thrive on the engagement. My plan is to keep doing what I’ve been doing . . . sharing great content whether it be mine or some else’s. Wishing everyone the best! My Repurposed Life

    • I definitely hear where you’re coming from. Here are a few thoughts:

      1. The great thing about FB is that it’s free (unlike email marketing). Having 1 billion likes doesn’t cost you any more than having 1 like. So, I think it’s worth keeping the 450K likes. Who knows? Your engagement might increase in the future and it would be a shame to not have those likes any more.

      2. Engagement has been down for a lot of people. But if we are to continue using Facebook effectively, I think it’s pretty hard to keep doing what we’ve been doing and see any improvements. If anything, by keeping on with what we’ve been doing, our engagement will most likely go down as the algorithm changes.

      Social Media is a very fluid landscape. It changes more than anything I’ve ever seen. In order to keep ahead and survive, or even thrive, we have to learn to roll with the punches. We must constantly analyze and adapt.

      Those are my quick thoughts 🙂

  • MorganMandel says:

    I’m wondering if Facebook will eliminate Events now. I know they’ve already cut the list down to 495 friends to share events with but wonder if they’ll go even further. I usually use my Groups on Facebook to promote my books, and wonder if somehow they’ll make those not as accessible.

    • I have no idea what they are doing with events because I hardly ever use them. I don’t think that they will eliminate them as they are useful, but as marketers keep spamming people with events, they will most likely make more changes there.

    • maxinvegas says:

      Events might be a thing of the past…however continue to use groups. Facebook is working on an app similar to the Pages Manager app for groups. It seems groups as being built out as a separate platform to reach your audience.

  • Jeff Stephens says:

    Thanks for this post Leslie. I agree a strategy change is necessary and completely agree with your overall approach to engagement. The problem is many of these strategies will fail when used via a Facebook Page. You can share images, share videos, ask questions, listen, engage, and be consistent and your content will still not achieve reach. I think the upcoming FB changes will further marginalize the concept of a Facebook Page and really push people into Groups where real conversations can happen organically. Also, more people will engage on the personal level outside of their business brand…much like how we do and many others on social media. Where do you see your Facebook Page going? Do you think you’ll simply abandon it and tell people to connect with you on your personal page?

    • I definitely don’t see myself abandoning my Facebook Page. I see it becoming more personal and engaging. When I do engage on there, I get pretty good engagement back from my audience, but I have to be more consistent. I will be sharing what I do as I do it and also sharing the results.

      I also engage on my personal page, but you have more control and analytics on your Pages. Those are the details you need to gauge effectiveness. If pages were no longer relevant, you would not see so many people using them successfully.

      I think it’s about figuring out the strategy that works for YOU and then working it like nobody’s business. As people are starting to move away from pages, I will be moving more towards them. It will be a serious experiment, but I’m committed to doing the best I can do to make it work.

  • RMGH says:

    Hmmm…this is really good stuff Leslie! Way to go. I agree to an extent. I was wondering though. I hate the hard sell, so I don’t actually practice it on my posts. Sometimes I talk about a house I photographed and leave a photo or something of that sort. Yes, its promotional. That’s what I do and of course I expect to get engagement on it. Perhaps the algorithm would actually be good for those who don’t pound on people relentlessly with a sales pitch. It will sort of clean out some of the mess and leave room for a more quiet approach.

    • I think it’s gonna be something you’ll just have to test out to see what works for you. We can speculate about what the algorithm change will do to your posts, but we will know for sure in 2015.

      Here’s how I look at what I’m doing with social media in 2015 – I’m telling a story. I’m sharing this ongoing story with my audience to get them bought in and actively engaging. Maybe that’s a good way to share your houses. I think there are a lot of stories to be told.

      For example, if you are sharing a picture about a kitchen, I can see something like this: “Man, with this much space, can’t you just imagine your entire family having fun baking that awesome cake?”. I know – silly, but who knows? It just might work.

    • RMGH says:

      Mostly I share video slide shows – which are short and brief and say something about the shoot. For example, once there was a drone photographer onsite with me. He got there before I did and when I arrived I found a man coming out of a lake – naked! It was stranger still because it was about 45F. Brrrrr…. The story was that right before I arrived the photographer had lost control of the drone and it went into the drink. When I arrived, he was in the process of retrieving it. Though they generally aren’t quite so colorful. Sometimes I just talk about how to correct problems like color balance like when you photograph something in the snow and everything turns blue with before and after shots. How to save an underexposed shot. Things like that.

  • Hello Leslie,

    You are the second person in the past 2 days that I have read on about how to better use social media in today’s world… You and Tiffany Lambert both are petty much saying we need to be more engaging with our post, more along the line of lifestyle post as apposed to all the business post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michelle Y. Talbert says:

    As always, Leslie, great suggestions. I’m a content producer and my own personal adage is: “Content may be king but void of Context it’s Futile”–engagement will be based on exactly the points you note above. Thanks for the reminder. Happy New Year!

  • You know what Leslie, the last update of Facebook (and we will see how this new one plays out) hasn’t really affected me at all. I don’t even used paid or sponsored-boosted posts at all. I list build through of course relationship building, commenting on posts, sharing links and resources (not necessarily my own all the time), make one or two offers a month, and make new friends by using GROUPS! Yes Facebook groups (some are calling them forums)! I’ve tried this new things by sharing all of the above from my Facebook Business Page to topic or theme related Facebook Groups. I get more likes, more shares, more people on my lists, more connections, more new friends to network with and/or build relationship with. My insight numbers are growing exponentially with this new strategy. It’s not spammy, and it’s exactly what you said above in your posts: “figure out exactly what your audience wants and give it to them.” It’s pretty simple! Define your target audience, search for LARGE and VERY ACTIVE Facebook Groups that connect around the topic you are writing on or they are looking for solutions to problems that you can solve. They will eat it up EVERY time! And they are engaged and ready to connect, meet in person when they come to your town, and even offer opportunities to speak at their events. BAM! lol!

    • I hadn’t really thought about using the groups aspect actively, but mostly because I think that would take much more time than I want to invest at this point in time. However, I do see that it can be very beneficial. Glad you’re having success with it. Keep it up.

    • Yea it all depends on your personal work flow, business model, personality type, etc. For me I do coaching, mostly group coaching, and I am a people person so spending more time in group and forums over podcasting, or even blogging as much as I used to works better with my make up. This probably will not work for everyone. Every one needs to learn there SHAPE as Rick Warren calls it, which stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart (passion), Abilities (natural talents and skills), Personality (temperamental bents), and Experiences (like family, educational, occupational/vocational, spiritual, ministry, and painful). When you know how God SHAPE’d you and wired you, then you can best find out what you are “divinely” qualified to do. I was running around trying all kinds of things, which is a waste of time, but I took it as a learning experience to find out what works best with the way God designed me so I can best serve whom God has sent me too reach.

    • Amen! That’s all I got to say on that one 🙂

  • Fred Fichman says:

    Wonderful discussion Leslie. Your suggestions can be seen as obvious. But we are so busy, so concentrated, so compelled to get the word out about our product or service sometimes we can overlook the obvious. There is so much going on in our lives it is very easy to get sidetracked. My solution: 3×5 note cards. I have them scattered everywhere. They are like a storyboard in the TV and movie making business…my first career. An idea pops into my head…BAM…onto a note card. I cull through them regularly and discard the Action Items I have taken and keep what must be addressed. As far as change in FB or anything else internet…it’s inevitable. The trick is to recognize those changes as a way for positive improvement in message and content. You are helping us in your community focus on how we can take advantage of those changes. Thank you for that.

    • You are very much welcome. It’s interesting to hear about people using note cards for these kinds of things, but as long as it works for you that’s what matters 🙂

      You’re right. Change is inevitable. ESPECIALLY today. Seems like social media changes every single day. I think a key is deciding what you’re going to focus on and trying to keep ahead with fewer things.

  • claycath says:

    i think I’m doing most of those things EXCEPT engaging them by answering their comments. I have over 184K followers on FB. How in world could I ever answer every comment?

    • Ella Smith says:

      I’m so glad that you have so many followers

    • claycath says:

      Thanks Ella! I’m glad too but it’s almost become a full time job just handling it.

    • Yeah, I would definitely say that it’s time for a community manager 🙂

    • claycath says:

      I agree about the community manager but that costs money that I don’t have. It’s kind of like a catch 22 thing with it.

    • Yeah, that’s a dilemma that is easy to find ourselves in.

      Now, I don’t really know your business but is it possible that you need to revisit your business model? With 184K likes, I would think that you have decent enough exposure to generate a decent amount of income.

      I’m not saying that you could do that just based on the likes, but to get to that point I would imagine that your website sees a decent amount of traffic. Do you think you’re monetizing your site as well as you can?

    • claycath says:

      You are right Leslie. You would think I would be making a good amount of income. I do have a lot of engagement on the FB page and get several thousand visitors to my site everyday. Right now I’m monetizing with affiliate offers (Amazon and t-shirts from SunFrog mostly) and adsense. I need to find some better ways to monetize.

    • Ahh man, if that’s all you’re doing, there’s SO MUCH more you can be doing. More higher paying affiliate offers, digital products, memberships, etc. You should explore other options.

    • claycath says:

      You are right Leslie. I guess my job is in finding the things my audience resonates with. I have tried some other affiliate offers but either I’m not presenting them in the right way or I just don’t have a buying audience.

    • You definitely can’t answer every comment. I don’t think that’s necessary. At a certain point, it’s just about showing that you are engaged. I definitely don’t respond to every comment (and my page is MUCH smaller than yours). It’s all about figuring out what works for your audience and delivering that.

  • Jerry Dugan says:

    Huh…I just spent about a minute looking for the “Like” button for this post. That’s funny.

  • Hey Leslie thanks for this great post! It’s refreshing when someone takes a perspective other than the most cynical. Yes it’s true that FB probably is considering cash flow and staying relevant. However, I agree with you that there could easily be higher motives behind their actions. Social media is going to get harder to be heard above the crowd but at the same time it will have to be authentic and genuinely interesting to the audience.

  • Mathavan Karthikeyan says:

    suprb discussion , Your suggestions can be seen.

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