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Decoding Facebook’s Changes: 5 Ways PR Professionals Can Generate Reach and Impact in 2018

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

In early 2018, Facebook announced a news feed update that dramatically changes how brands can engage with their communities and audiences within the Facebook platform.

 

“We’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands, and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post.

 

These changes, designed to enhance the platform’s user experience, remove almost all brand content from the Facebook News feed unless the user selects the “Most Recent” news feed viewing option. This means consumers will see less of an organization's content, and brands will have fewer opportunities to build deeper relationships with their customers.

 

However, there are still ways brands can get their content into the Facebook newsfeed. Status updates by organizations that drive engagement and discussion between brand fans within the comments will continue to receive high visibility. 

 

Here are five ways to gain visibility within Facebook in 2018:

 

     1.Build a Community that Engages

While Facebook’s change may affect brand content, it will not affect community content from communities with high engagement. 

 

Look at the Instant Pot Community. This is an advice community. People join to both learn AND share – their members are vested in each other’s success. Members ask questions and the community rallies together to provide answers, support and tips. 

Recreating this kind of community to support your business goals is not easy. You must identify why people use your product, what problem does it solve and how your community members can help each other succeed using your tools.

 

Implementation Tip!

Consider revamping your Facebook goals to be less about broadcasting content and more about asking questions and providing room for your community to share their experiences and success tips.

 

One note of caution about building a community on Facebook: This process takes lot of time and ultimately you are giving Facebook control of your community. Many brand managers are now building communities tied to their websites, leveraging social share prompts to allow members to take these smart discussions out to social channels.

 

     2.Leverage the Surprise and Delight of Live Video

Live video drives community engagement. A LOT of community engagement. Up to six times as many interactions as regular video. Facebook Live was designed to generate engagement while showing your audience your attention, in real time!

 

Facebook Live’s format allows a person or brand to broadcast to their audience, and for their audience to reply in real time. For PR pros, Facebook Live is a terrific way to supplement a product launch, to bring viewers to a hosted event, provide tips on how to maximize the use of your product, interview industry experts, provide market updates and more.

 

Implementation Tip!

One way to increase the impact of Facebook Live is to look at what products and services your brand is focusing on for 2018. Then identify those internal and external experts who can speak to the value of your organization. The next time you launch a new product feature, add FB Live to your list of tactics. Once your news release has crossed the wire, launch your FB Live and invite page members, internal employees, external partners, reporters, customers and prospects to tune in as you discuss the value of your update with product owners and customers implementing the tool.

 

     3.Host a Watch Party

Another way to get eyeballs to your Facebook group and content is to host a watch party! This new feature allows group owners (initial testers of this feature) to host an online viewing party of either a live video or an existing one. This way you can engage a larger audience with a singular piece of content, encouraging feedback and reactions in real time.

 

Implementation Tip!

For PR pros, consider utilizing this service when you are launching a new event, hosting an external event or panel, walking a trade show floor and more. A video-viewing party allows you to create a situation that permits viewers to watch and respond; generating that “community engagement” that Facebook is striving for, and ultimately gives your page the option to appear in the news feed.

 

     4.Increase your budgets with FB Advertising

It is no secret that Facebook is a giant advertising network and that this move was designed to not only make users happier, but to increase Facebook’s overall revenues where brands must pay to garner eyeballs on their content. The reality is, if you want to guarantee people see your information in Facebook, and you have not yet built up your community or news-sharing army, the fastest way to do this is through paid advertising options.

 

Implementation Tip!

Utilize Facebook pixels to track website visitors as they move across the Facebook platform. Rather than showcase a traditional ad or brand content, showcase editorial coverage related to the product or service they’ve shown interest in. Editorial coverage has shown to be a major part of moving people in and through the marketing and sales funnel. This content is terrific to use when building ads to reach people who entered and exited your website purchase pages without buying.

 

     5.Get Your Audiences to Share Your Press Releases and Editorial Coverage

The easiest way to get your organization’s content into Facebook? Via news and news shares.

 

Shortly after Mark Zuckerberg announced the news feed changes, a second update went out to address news and editorial content. In this update, Facebook specifically noted that editorial news content from highly trusted sources that users felt were informative, would continue to be surfaced within Facebook.

 

 

 

This is a huge boon for PR pros! Securing highly trusted editorial coverage is a big part of our jobs! And it is the one kind of content Facebook is not actively demoting.

 

Implementation Tip!

Create a visibility program for your news releases and editorial coverage. It is time for brands to realize that people rely on news, and this will move them through the sales and editorial funnels.

 

Employee Amplification: Every time you send out a news release or secure editorial coverage, take the time to promote this information heavily to internal and external audiences. Write social messaging and share it with your internal teams. While not every coworker will share the message out, those who do will help increase the visibility of this content across all channels, including Facebook, because their individual shares are not restricted like brand shares are. Human shares beat social algorithms!

 

Search Amplification: To get news releases directly in front of decisions makers, you need to use a TRUSTED commercial newswire like Business Wire. Both Google and today’s social channels recognize that Business Wire is a highly used, highly trusted news source and, as such, they give visibility to content from these sources.

 

Social Amplification:  PR professionals must create amplification programs for every news article and press release they generate. Not sure how to start this? Download our free social sharing white paper to learn how to leverage social channels for business news amplification.

 

Mobile Amplification: Today’s readers are actively utilizing news apps to find news. The great thing about these apps is that they all include sharing tools, allowing any reader to take your news out of the platform and across their social channels. Business Wire content is not only available in the Business Wire news app, it is easily accessible in AP’s mobile app, Apple News, News360, Google Newsstand and more.  These placements ensure your news is easily found, and sharable, no matter where your audience is.

 

In Summary…..

Facebook is the world’s largest social network. These recent changes were designed to re-engage Facebook’s user base, increase interactions within the platform and ultimately lead to an increase in advertising revenues.  To leverage this social behemoth in 2018, smart PR and marketing professionals must be prepared to spend less time promoting corporate marketing, and more time promoting highly trusted news and editorial coverage, real time events and of course, advertising.

 

Have questions on how to increase the visibility of your news releases and editorial coverage to move customers through your sales and marketing funnel? Let’s set up a time to talk about leveraging Business Wire to meet your visibility and engagement goals.