Recently, Facebook announced changes to its news feed algorithm to focus on “meaningful interactions” between your friends, family and groups. Facebook will try to predict which posts are sparking meaningful conversations, prioritizing those posts in your news feed so that, as Mark Zuckerberg put it, “the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.”
This change means Facebook users will see less public content from pages like yours (and yes, this includes video!).
There are plenty of articles about the specific ways you can tailor your content to better fit Facebook’s new algorithm—Hootsuite’s round up and Wired Magazine’s interview with Facebook’s Adam Mosseri are great places to start—but that’s not the focus of this post. While it’s important to know you should increase your ad spend and use more live video, I’m more interested in the subtext of this move: “meaningful interactions.”
Here’s the deal: you can’t force people to pay attention to you. No one is interested in being interrupted by your marketing messages, no matter how clever you are or how important your cause may be. One of my favorite quotes on this is from marketing genius Seth Godin:
“The goal of a marketing interaction isn't to close the sale, any more than the goal of a first date is to get married. No, the opportunity is to move forward, to earn attention and trust and curiosity and conversation.”Seth Godin
So, what does it mean for your organization to earn attention? How will you make sure your fans are excited to learn about your next fundraising event? Or happy to share the video of your student who, because of tuition assistance, will be the first of her family to go to college?
- Build a brand rooted in what you believe and make sure it’s well-articulated. This means strong positioning, messaging and a visual identity to back it up.
- Consider your mediums and diversify your channels. Tim Ferriss in a recent podcast talks with Gretchen Rubin, author and podcaster on happiness, about the pitfalls of letting Facebook be the gatekeeper to your audience. In the episode, Tim shares an anecdote from a successful entrepreneur friend of his, who said of building his business through Facebook, “It’s like building a company on top of an active volcano.” You must consider additional ways to reach your audience—create a podcast or a vlog, start writing on Medium, build that app, encourage your followers to sign-up for the executive director’s daily email journal, etc. Not every brand should be communicating on every platform so find the ones that work best for you but don’t put all of your eggs in Facebook’s, or anyone’s, basket.
- Invest in a digital marketing strategy with your website as the engine. As you’re telling your story and nurturing your audience across many channels, you’ll want to make sure it all flows back to your website. Your website is one channel you DO own, so use it. Here are some tips to get started.
- Be authentic. Take the long road. Be professional. Invest in quality content. Show respect for your audience and their time. Your marketing efforts should reflect the care and professionalism you bring to every other aspect of your work.
In short: build an organization that matters, give people a reason to care, and then consistently show up.
If you need help digging in, laying the foundation and building a long-term strategy to earn attention, I’d love to meet you. Shoot me an email and let’s set up a time to talk: firstname.lastname@example.org.