This post first appeared on Buffer.
If you feel challenged by Facebook marketing these days, you should know you’re not alone.
In an increasingly crowded news feed, Facebook’s algorithm updates can make it tough for brands to get much notice.
In fact, brands are now responding to plunging organic reach on Facebook by posting more content to Instagram than they are to Facebook, according to a report by research firm L2.
But don’t despair; there’s plenty of life left in Facebook yet. We’ve been scouring the web to find out what’s working on Facebook right now—all the tactics, new additions and post types you need to know today.
Here are 12 top tactics to take a look at adding to your Facebook marketing toolbox.
1. Post native videos
Our Number One strategy for your Facebook marketing right now? Video.
We got this tip straight from Facebook queen Mari Smith back in February, when she said:
“Let’s talk about video: Facebook is absolutely taking traffic from Youtube right now with video.
What happens with autoplay, it’s all psychology. They come in through your newsfeed, start to see a tiny bit of movement, boom, it draws them in. They’ll stop and play your video. Make it short, quick and easy, with a call to action.”
Since then, even more evidence of video’s prowess has emerged.
Social media analytics company Socialbakers looked at more than 670,000 posts by 4,445 brand pages to find that video posts had organic reach of 8.71 percent, far higher than text-only statuses’ 5.77 percent, link posts’ 5.29 percent and photo posts’ 3.73 percent.
Here at Buffer, we’ve seen the video effect firsthand. Notice anything about the two posts from our Facebook Insights with the highest reach and interactions? Both videos!
3 ways to use video on Facebook:
Post it natively: Posting directly to Facebook seems to provide better results than linking to video from sites like YouTube or Vimeo
Choose a featured video: Facebook allows you to pick one featured video that gets a prominent place on your Page.
Create video playlists: Group related pieces of content together in a Facebook video playlist (Note: This one may not be available to everyone just yet)
2. Share quote photos
A tactic that is still going strong is creating and sharing quote photos. Mike Gingerich, writing at Social Media Examiner, does a great job of explaining the perennial popularity of these pics:
“People love inspirational quotes that motivate them or elicit a particular emotion, which in turn can lead to post interaction, especially shares.
A Facebook share plays a huge part in social proof and can result in many new friends of fans finding (and liking) your page. These new eyes are an opportunity for you to start the relationship-building process.”
I really love the awesome job Kim Garst of Boom Social is doing with shareable quotes. Check out the engagement she gets with images like these:
At Buffer, we believe so strongly in the future of social media images like these that we created a new tool to help you make them quickly and easily.
Note that there’s some evidence that posting photos to Facebook might not be the best strategy right now, so your mileage with this tactic could vary.
3. Target your organic posts
If Facebook is limiting your posts to a smaller audience, why not make sure it’s exactly the audience you have in mind?
Targeting was once more of an ads feature, but since Facebook has rolled out new tools for publishers, more brands seem to be experimenting with targeting audiences for even organic posts.
Social Media Examiner did some experimenting with mixed results: They discovered that some targeted posts “definitely had higher engagement than posts that didn’t use targeting.”
The authors at SME concluded that this tactic seems to have potential particularly for smaller pages.
If you might fall into that category, here’s a great guide to getting started targeting from Social Media Week:
Jon Loomer has quite an in-depth guide if you’re interested in diving into this topic at length.
4. Engage your CTA button
Late in 2014, Facebook introduced a call-to-action button designed to bring a business’s most important objective to the forefront of its Facebook presence.
For visitors landing on your page for the first time, make sure you make the most of this addition and add the most appropriate CTA available.
At present, page admins can select from seven calls to action:
- Book Now
- Contact Us
- Use App
- Play Game
- Shop Now
- Sign Up
- Watch Video
5. Try dark posts
Dark posting on Facebook is publishing a post that does not appear on your page’s timeline. Instead, these posts are targeted to a select audience of your choosing.
Why might this be helpful? Split testing is one great use of dark posts. You can create three or four different variations of the same post, then send them out to see which type performs best (without flooding your timeline with each and every variation).
Here’s how to find this Facebook tool:
Click Power Editor in the left column of your Facebook ads manager. (Note: Power editor is only available for Chrome browsers.)
From here, you’ll want to click Download to Power Editor at the top of the page to download the accounts you want to manage.
Strata Blue has put together a list of very detailed instructions on where to go from here in order to build your dark posts. You can follow their instructions to try this out.
6. Zero in on your key topics
One I’d like to highlight here is Rand’s tips to learn what works for you on Facebook by using Buzzsumo:
“Learn what does work in your topics in Facebook. There’s a great tool for this. It’s called BuzzSumo. You can plug in keywords and see the pieces of content that over the past six months or a year have performed the best across social networks, and you can actually filter directly by Facebook to see what’s done best on Facebook in my niche, with my topics, around my subjects. That’s a great way to get at what might work in the future, what doesn’t work, what will resonate, and what won’t.”
You can search for specific keywords on BuzzSumo, or filter by your own domain to see what you’ve created that did well that you could drive inspiration from:
7. Up your posting frequency
Another no-nonsense tactic to counter lowered Facebook reach is to simply up your posting frequency.
Writing on Social Fresh, Dennis Yu observed that overall, total interactions per day on Facebook increase linearly with posts per day.
At the same time, negative feedback doesn’t seem correlated to posting more frequently:
Dennis notes that some pages post 30-40 times per day and get less negative feedback as a proportion of total engagement.
If you’re able to keep a close eye on your Facebook Insights, why not try upping your Facebook frequency?
8. Get creative with Trending Topics
As Facebook moves ever closer into real-time when it comes to Trending Topics, I find myself clicking on these newsy topics more and more often.
And when I do, I notice that right below the details of whatever news item I’m checking out are more posts from others I’m connected to or even a few degrees away from. For example, checking out the latest news on “The Walking Dead” brought me this post from marketer (and future Buffer Social guest post author!) Jeff Goins.
Jeff’s post is a great example of taking advantage of Trending Topics in a way that feels personal and organic, not spammy and forced. Could you something similar?
9. Study your negative feedback
Sometimes discovering what your audience didn’t like is one of your best strategies for making them happier with your content in the future.
Facebook Insights offers up four types of negative feedback (find it under the “Posts” section):
- hide post
- hide all posts
- report page as spam
- unlike page
Facebook offers you these stats as a raw number; however it might be handy to think on this number as a ratio relative to your overall interactions as well.
Studying negative feedback can help you better identify which types of posts your audience perceived as spam or chose to hide at a higher rate. Over time, you might discover patterns to help guide your post types, themes and language use.
10. Keep testing
No doubt Facebook is a different place for brands than it has been in the past, but success is still possible. Facebook offers this as a guiding strategy:
Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed. However, anticipating organic reach can be unpredictable, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads.
With that in mind, I enjoyed this case study from Search Engine Journal of a set of experiments that grew organic reach 219 percent in a month. The article offers plenty of inside peeks to help you recreate a similar testing strategy:
Two more tactics to keep an eye on for the future
I thought I’d leave you with a few really creative examples.
These two up-and-coming tactics may not be available to all of us right now, but they’re a good sign of where Facebook could be headed soon.
11. 3-D ads
For Saint Patrick’s Day, Jameson promoted its whiskey with the first 3-D video Facebook ad—an attention-grabbing video of a shot glass skating across a bar.
I happened to be targeted by this ad, and the autoplay of video plus the breaking of Facebook’s visual frame definitely caught my attention!
Cinemagraphs — still photographs that incorporate subtle, looping video elements — could be another future eye-catcher on Facebook, taking utmost advantage of Facebook’s video autoplay.
AdWeek reports that Facebook is banking big on the stylized GIFs as it introduces them to advertisers, and the Wall Street Journal notes that Heineken has been used cinemagraphs on Facebook for the past few months.
HubSpot has collected a bunch of neat cinemagraphs on their blog. Here’s one:
Can you imagine using images like this in your marketing one day soon?
Image credit: Shutterstock
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