3 Pillars to Build Stronger Social Strategies Amidst Declined Facebook Reach

By pro­mot­ing the most rel­e­vant and engag­ing con­tent with more refined tar­get­ing tech­niques and opti­miz­ing using insights about your audi­ence, you can help ensure you’re reach­ing your tar­get con­sumers at the moments they’re look­ing for you on Face­book. If search...

Kelly Wrather By Kelly Wrather from Kenshoo. Join the discussion » 0 comments

By pro­mot­ing the most rel­e­vant and engag­ing con­tent with more refined tar­get­ing tech­niques and opti­miz­ing using insights about your audi­ence, you can help ensure you’re reach­ing your tar­get con­sumers at the moments they’re look­ing for you on Face­book.

If search is the king of intent, social rules the realm of inter­ac­tion. In the ini­tial onset, social adver­tis­ing through chan­nels such as Face­book helped fill in the top of the pur­chase fun­nel, dri­ving aware­ness and con­sid­er­a­tion in a social­ly engag­ing envi­ron­ment. As Face­book has evolved, the adver­tis­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty has grown to cap­ture more down­stream activ­i­ty too.

As of the end of June 2014, Face­book boast­ed an impres­sive 1.32 bil­lion active users world­wide. For brands look­ing to con­nect with con­sumers through the fun­nel, the oppor­tu­ni­ty is prime on Face­book.

The con­cern of many brands has been, though, the decline of organ­ic reach on Face­book over the past year – a fact that Face­book acknowl­edged back in Decem­ber. The trend has con­tin­ued, too.

In Feb­ru­ary, Social@Ogilvy ana­lyzed more than 100 brand Face­book pages and found that organ­ic reach clocked in at an aver­age of 6 per­cent, a drop of 49 per­cent from lev­els mea­sured in Octo­ber 2013.

More recent­ly, Face­book wrote on its blog that “on aver­age, there are 1,500 sto­ries that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Face­book” and of those, approx­i­mate­ly 300 are dis­played.

The shelf life of social con­tent is short. With a shrink­ing num­ber of slots, there’s grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion to get in front of con­sumers.

Mar­keters look­ing to ensure they reach con­sumers at key aper­tures on the path to pur­chase via Face­book should hone in on three key pil­lars: con­tent, audi­ences, and insights

Pillar 1: Content

Engag­ing and rel­e­vant con­tent is the foun­da­tion for a brand’s strong social pres­ence.

For its part, Face­book has been mak­ing changes to the news­feed and posts in an effort to cre­ate the best expe­ri­ence for its users. Ear­li­er this year, the social net­work announced plans to weed out the spam prac­tice of “like-bait­ing” and just a few weeks ago, took steps to reduce click-bait­ing as well. These mea­sures boil down to Face­book putting the onus on brands to devel­op high­er qual­i­ty con­tent.

As a best prac­tice, test a vari­ety of types of con­tent to see what mes­sages and for­mats res­onate with con­sumers and ensure you are using the appro­pri­ate “sto­ry type” on Face­book when post­ing. This means that links should appear in the link for­mat or else risk being penal­ized, for exam­ple. To elic­it high­er response rates, keep mes­sages and calls-to-action clear and con­cise.

If an audi­ence finds your con­tent relat­able and mem­o­rable, and it’s deliv­ered in an opti­mal fash­ion, then it gets peo­ple lik­ing, shar­ing, and com­ment­ing. This momen­tum has the abil­i­ty to turn your con­tent into con­ver­sa­tion, poten­tial cus­tomers into buy­ers, and fans into loy­al­ists.

Moose­jaw Moun­taineer­ing is one brand that‘s real­ly engaged cus­tomers in the social media expe­ri­ence. One way it has done this is by solic­it­ing the com­mu­ni­ty to send in pho­tos (“Custy Pics”), which they then source for the page’s cov­er pho­tos.

Moosejaw Mountaineering Facebook Custy Pic

Moose­jaw’s con­tent can be a lit­tle off-the-wall at times (curi­ous about the 10 pit­falls of Glamp­ing, any­one?), but it works with the per­sona they have estab­lished and the fans con­tin­ue to respond pos­i­tive­ly.

But what good is “engag­ing” con­tent when it suf­fers from low vis­i­bil­i­ty?

Pillar 2: Audiences

Good con­tent is table stakes, but you will like­ly find that this alone might not get your brand the reach they’re seek­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly when try­ing to engage prospec­tive cus­tomers. Brands and orga­ni­za­tions have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­mote organ­ic con­tent to high­ly tar­get­ed audi­ences through paid adver­tis­ing, essen­tial­ly ampli­fy­ing high-per­form­ing posts.

While organ­ic reach has been wan­ing, Face­book has been busy intro­duc­ing more advanced tar­get­ing options to help boost paid efforts. By lever­ag­ing Cus­tom Audi­ences in con­junc­tion with Looka­likes, you can eas­i­ly iden­ti­fy offline audi­ences from among Face­book users then extend reach to find new con­sumers who share com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tics with your exist­ing cus­tomers.

This is what eco-friend­ly jew­el­ry retail­er Alex and Ani did to help extend reach and boost sales last hol­i­day sea­son. By con­nect­ing offline lists like CRM data­bas­es, brands can find exist­ing cus­tomers on Face­book and dri­ve exclu­sive incen­tives to these indi­vid­u­als. Then, looka­likes allow for added expan­sion into sim­i­lar audi­ences – such as those who have vis­it­ed your web­site or down­loaded your app.

Cus­tom Audi­ences can be fur­ther refined by con­nect­ing the intent sig­nals from paid search clicks to cor­re­spond­ing con­sumers on Face­book. This inno­va­tion opens up new path­ways to tar­get audi­ences across chan­nels and helps improve ad rel­e­van­cy, which would like­ly lead to a lift in per­for­mance.

Also con­sid­er unpub­lished page post ads as a way to cre­ate more tai­lored mes­sag­ing with­out over­sat­u­rat­ing audi­ences. Through Unpub­lished Page Post ads, you can take vari­a­tions on your best per­form­ing owned media posts and then send those out to spe­cif­ic, gran­u­lar tar­gets, includ­ing the Cus­tom and Looka­like Audi­ences, as men­tioned above. This ad type allows for more dis­creet test­ing of images and copy to find the best-fit com­bi­na­tions for spe­cif­ic audi­ence types.

Pillar 3: Insights

With sol­id con­tent and sophis­ti­cat­ed audi­ence tar­get­ing in place, you can now opti­mize your pro­grams and see how Face­book ampli­fi­ca­tion con­tributes to dri­ving bot­tom-line goals of sales and rev­enue. How­ev­er, in today’s data-dri­ven world, met­rics are only as good as the insights obtained and the actions tak­en as a result of analy­sis.

A cus­tomer-cen­tric approach should car­ry over when lever­ag­ing social data to opti­mize cam­paigns; in this way, you can remain focused on deliv­er­ing high­ly rel­e­vant mes­sages and ads with which audi­ence will more like­ly inter­act and respond.

Ask your­self:

  • Have you viewed demo­graph­ic data to improve mes­sag­ing across ages, gen­ders, and geo­gra­phies?
  • Is your audi­ence most active dur­ing par­tic­u­lar times of day or days of the week and if so, are you tak­ing advan­tage?
  • Are you pro­vid­ing a dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed mobile ad expe­ri­ences to dri­ve cus­tomers to your app, if applic­a­ble?
  • Are you exam­in­ing owned and paid strate­gies under the same lens to iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties for pro­gram syn­er­gy?
  • Are you view­ing social in a silo or are you tak­ing a holis­tic approach to attri­bu­tion and mea­sure­ment across chan­nels?
  • Can you learn some­thing about con­ver­sion habits based on where Face­book falls in the path?

How is your brand pro­mot­ing its most rel­e­vant and engag­ing con­tent on Face­book to cre­ate aware­ness and increase your num­bers of loy­al fol­low­ers and brand advo­cates?

Kelly Wrather

Written by Kelly Wrather

Sr. Manager, Content Marketing, Kenshoo

Kelly Wrather is the Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Kenshoo, the global leader in predictive marketing software. Prior to joining Kenshoo, she helped launch the Accuen brand, the trading desk of Omnicom Media Group. A graduate of Boston University's College of Communication, Wrather's previous experience also spans social media and online community management.

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