Since its creation in 2004, Facebook continues to be the most widely used social network to date with more than 2.2 billion active users and has shaped online communication as we know it. Over time, it has helped bridge the gap between brands and their communities. Opening a channel for instantaneous access, Facebook has helped determine how we expect to hear from and interact with organizations.
As more people and brands become active on Facebook, the amount of content and brand saturation for individual users increases. Yes, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm cuts through much of the “noise” by showing users what it deems to be content that is most relevant on an individual (and contextual) basis, which is even more reason for brands to be interesting, add value, and encourage engagement to stand out from the crowd.
In fact, Facebook’s algorithm can hurt or help your content at any given time. Since 2015, Facebook has made changes on the backend of its architecture that affect what users see first, typically catering content that put friends and family first. For example, people have always seen their friends’ engagement announcements before they’ve seen a National Guard post.
Sometimes these changes are announced, and other times they aren’t, so if you notice your reporting numbers taking a dip while Facebook works out the kinks about balancing the variety of content, don’t panic. Give these changes two to four weeks to settle, and then reevaluate what’s working and what’s not.
- To consistently combat algorithm changes, remember to:
Host a Facebook Live broadcast when you’re able to and make it worthwhile (e.g., interviews, events, trainings, Guard competitions).
Engagements from live videos and other highly interactive posts will still be highlighted on the News Feed.
- Create content that is engaging (e.g., use an image or video, ask a question, provide valuable information, create something that is worthwhile to share by users).
- Post at least once a day, and only twice a day for special occasions, such as observances, breaking news, or trending topics.
- Explore new ad campaigns as a way to reach people—because Facebook will never give up the advertising portion of the News Feed.
To ensure your content is seen, optimize and keep these Facebook tips in mind:
CONTENT REIGNS SUPREME
Everything posted on Facebook is considered content, including status updates, images, videos, live events, and even profile picture changes. As we know from the News Feed algorithm, how users interact with your content is important. All posted content is an opportunity for increased reach and engagement. To increase engagement and, ultimately, to ensure your content is populated on your followers’ News Feeds, provide a call to action for users, including “learn more,” “visit,” or “tag.”
Everyone wants to ensure that his or her opinion is seen by everyone, no matter how vulgar, inaccurate, or unsuitable it is. To combat this, identify how you’ll address inappropriate content on your Facebook Page and make this stance publicly available to your team. These guidelines let your community know what you will and will not allow, what you’ve deemed as appropriate conversation, and the expectations you have set for your Page. However, just because you say it, doesn’t mean it will happen. Facebook is a public space, so you can’t control everything people say. Provide your moderators with:
Examples of when to remove content: Personal promotional content, harassment and abuse, derogatory or offensive language, threatening posts, comments that paint the Guard in a derogatory way, and posts that contain personally identifiable information (PII).
Examples of when to address comments instead of removing them: Complaints, negative commentary that can be rectified (i.e., my recruiter never reached out), and critical statements. You might not always like what people have to say, but continuously censoring conversation will make users feel as if they can’t have an open dialogue and, as a result, engagement will suffer.
It’s not enough for users to comment on, “like,” or share your content. You must also engage with fans and followers by liking their comments, responding when they have questions, addressing negativity that’s within your control, sharing content from others, and simply saying “congratulations” or “hooah.” Users want to interact with your state and will go out of their way to do so by becoming a fan and engaging. Don’t lose out on their excitement by not engaging with them.
A large part of your online brand is building your credibility. Users are following your Page because they view you as the authority on Army National Guard (ARNG) knowledge, specifically for your state. Just because it is social media doesn’t mean grammar and spelling are disregarded. It’s okay to answer comments and questions in a conversational tone, but to maintain professionalism, try not to use slang. Additionally, sources and news should be fact checked before sharing them on your social media sites. Do not share links to malicious sites, and if you believe you’ve been hacked, change your password immediately.
FACEBOOK BEST PRACTICES
Facebook has its own set of “dos” and “don’ts” for brands to keep in mind. At its core, Facebook is a social network that keeps users connected with one another. It has also evolved into a platform for brands to engage with their fans, but it’s important to keep the connection aspect at the forefront. Here are a few tips to get you started:
DON’T OVERWHELM YOUR AUDIENCE
If you are posting three times a day on Facebook, fans will get overwhelmed and hide your content, or worse, stop following your page; posting once a day will suffice, as long as your content is appealing and engaging. If you are contemplating posting more, do so on days when you might have one post for an observance or holiday. This will allow you to share content as part of your normal calendar. For instance, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you might choose to post in the morning about the observance and then post an article or information about a job later in the day. If you are worried about the number of posts, think about what you, as a Facebook user, would like to see from other brands.
We’ve mentioned engaging with users by responding to questions, concerns, negativity, and even good news, but response time is also important. Users expect an immediate response on social channels, more so than on traditional internet channels, such as email. In most cases, strive for same-day responses. It’s important for your followers to know you’re there—on Page posts or in DMs.
TAGGING USERS AND ORGANIZATIONS
If you want to call out another public Facebook page or user, you can directly link to their Facebook Page by typing the “@” symbol and then their username, which notifies the user that you are posting about them. Facebook will help guide your selection with a drop-down list of suggestions. Tag users and organizations in posts if you’re working on the same campaign, if a user made a great comment that you’d like to call out, or if you want to ensure an organization sees a post. Please note that private users can’t be tagged unless you’re replying to a comment that they left on your page.
Applications built within the Facebook interface were more popular five years ago than they are today, but there are a select few that could work effectively for your state. If you decide that you want to use Facebook to collect information on potential leads, or use campaigin IDs (or Google UTMs) to gain lead information, contact FMG, and we can help you with logistics.
Most valuable Facebook apps are through third-party applications and allow you to create content tabs that house your posts from other channels—Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for example.
To learn more, visit:
Aside from these types of applications, you may want to explore more effective tools to gather information and entertain your audiences, specifically more engaging posts or even switching to different platforms like Instagram or Pinterest.
FACEBOOK ADS AND CONTENT BOOSTING
For step-by-step instructions on how to create a Facebook Page, boost ads, or create campaigns, please reach us at email@example.com.
GOING LIVE ON FACEBOOK
If you’re attending events in your community, working out with the local football team, or giving a pep talk on careers in the Guard, consider going live on Facebook. This is an excellent way to connect with your audience in a new way and give them another Guard perspective to consider. Before you hit the “start” button, consider the following:
Give notice: If you know approximately what time you’ll be going live, create a post to let people know. An example could be “Going live from the State County Fair in 15 minutes! Tune in to watch me go in the dunk tank.”
Go live with a strong connection: Check to make sure that you have a strong signal before going live. WiFi tends to work best, but if you can’t find a nearby network, you’ll want a 4G connection. If you have weak signal, the “Go Live” button on Facebook will be grayed out.
Write a description: Before you hit “go live,” Facebook will ask for a sentence about what you’re broadcasting. This is an easy way to peak people’s interest.
Engage with people: This can be tricky since you’re busy going live, but if you see comments, try to say, “Hey John, thanks for joining!” If you can’t respond in the moment, go back after you’re done and respond, or encourage follow up, such as, “if you want more information, reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Broadcast for longer periods: Try to broadcast for at least 10 minutes, and only start the broadcast if something interesting is happening. If you start going live and it’s a video of nothing happening, people will tune out.
Equipment: Point and shoot is the easiest way to go live, but you need to keep the camera as still as possible, unless you’re walking around showing aspects of an event, or filming yourself. If you want to go live and show a performance, for example, invest in a tripod.
Sound: Make sure people can hear you or hear what you want them to hear. People will comment if they can’t hear and if you don’t fix it within 15 seconds, they will tune out. So get close to the action, or speak loudly.