What Facebook is doing to brand pages – and the difference content can make

January 23rd, 2015

A couple of weeks back US organisation Pew Research published its latest social media findings and discovered that, in spite of talk of millennials shifting platforms and content overload, Facebook is still in very rude health.

The report concluded that ‘Facebook remains by far the most popular social media site. While its growth has slowed, the level of user engagement with the platform has increased. ‘

According to the report the platforms is still seeing growth among older adults and its levels of engagement are as high as 70% in some demographics.

So while the social media juggernaut continues to roll on many brands are scratching their heads about what to do with their Facebook pages which, in some instances are now seriously mis-firing. Over the past few years the platform has instituted a ‘pay to play policy’ which means that the organic reach of posts for brands who do not spend any money on advertising has dipped significantly.

And earlier in January the platform announced that it would be taking brands to task for posting too much promotional content – which essentially means contests and sweepstakes and aggressively asking for links and likes.

It makes life very difficult for people tasked with social media output on the platform.

Why images may be a solution

There may however be a solution and that is high quality content marketing. It seems that Facebook has been a little ignored by brands recently as they chose to focus their key content on their own platforms and other social media sites that are seemingly a little more sympathetic to brands. However as the SEJ points out here an imaginative approach to content marketing might be just the thing to resurrect a moribund Facebook page.

There are obvious things that a brand social media manager can do – quite possibly the most important of which would be to persuade the company to part with some marketing cash for Facebook advertising. However if that isn’t an option the key could lie with images. Hit Facebook with the right image at the right time and even if a brand’s organic reach has up until then been falling off a cliff they might find that they get some serious shares.

So much of social media at the moment is focused on images – the success of Instagram among teens and Pinterest with women being two examples – yet so many brands focus on still producing wordy content.

Ironically much of what is most shared on Facebook are images that have either been edited or are accompanied by words or slogans. These are especially effective if they are timely – so for example fit in with recent or upcoming events or trends.

There is now wealth of tools to help brands create these images from Illustrator at one level through to online offerings such as Canva. All it takes is a little time and imagination.

The other key thing that brands need to consider is how salesy their Facebook page should be? There is an argument that a brand’s Facebook output should limit the more salesy to posts to promotional posts and then try and build up and engage an audience using imaginative content. To be realistic about this, it is an approach which seems sensible in the light of Facebook’s recent changes, but it might mean that brands should look again at how effective Facebook is for them as a sales and marketing tool.

The dilemma really is that, as the Pew Research highlights, the audience isn’t going away anytime soon.

Commissioned by the CMA

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