Have you ever sucked on a lemon and felt your face pucker up? That’s how we felt when we heard Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook say “We’re making a major change to how we build Facebook..” The news feed is changing again, in a big way. For the casual consumer of FB, this is great news, for the business owner, it’s really bad news.

This move came as a result of recent research that showed people aren’t actually feeling happy and joyful on social media these days.  Not so great news for FB.  So Zuckerberg has decided to take action and deliver more meaningful interactions into the news feed.

What does this mean? Pages and videos will see their reach decline.  It also means the cost of entry into a news feed (ads) will sky rocket.

But, hey, this isn’t news. We’ve been seeing this happen over the course of the last 18 months!  We’ve attributed this to the fact that FB is just becoming saturated with ads and public content.  Our gut was  right. Zuckerberg confirmed the saturation of paid content but he also confirmed Facebook will intentionally deliver less of it now.

After the pucker wore off, we are adapting to Facebook’s change and revisiting content strategy.

There’s upside to everything! These changes will force folks to think through their messages and content. It will also facilitate deeper relationships on Facebook with your audience.  You’ll have to understand and communicate that you understand in a way that moves people to interact.  This is especially true in order to catch the eye of a potential new customer, a prospect. Just as you would get to know your prospect in person, you need to get to know them with similar intimacy on social media.  After all, social media is like cold calling, it’s where your prospects get to know you, look at your product, and decide if they want to take the next step. Online and offline interactions are very similar in this way.

Really all Zuckerberg is saying is, stop the billboard type posts and start connecting with people again in a way that builds better relationships, more meaningful interactions,  and as a result a better platform. Yes, we’re optimistic, because we have to be and because frustration won’t help our clients adapt. When Facebook makes a change, we have to navigate it with great velocity so the impact is minimized.

Consequently, if you’re a plumber or a manufacturer managing your own social accounts, and may struggle with writing, this can be catastrophic.

If writing isn’t your thing, you can always skip the keyboard and go for the camera to tell the story.  Video reigns king of social media right now. 76% of users will opt to watch a video than read words.  So if you get creative with your message through a video, your chances to show up in a feed improve significantly.  The caveat is that Video has only shown to increase engagement, but packing it with  value and a highly relevant message for a specific audience can help you win the conversion. Workbea has partnered with Nickel City Graphics, expert video marketers to offer packages to our clients.  Together we’re hosting some local workshops on how to be successful with video and social media.

Most business owners and marketing coordinators lack the technical skill to produce quality video. This isn’t an insult, it’s just fact. These folks are amazing at what they do, but they aren’t savvy in editing software, frame rates, or story boards.  We highly recommend you outsource this, otherwise, you’ll spend hours putting a 30 second video together that may miss the mark in “meaningful.”

What’s the meaning of meaningful. I guess it depends on who you ask.  You have to know your audience before you can make assumptions on what’s meaningful to them. Audiences vary across social media platforms. People use them for different reasons.

They key to success is understanding the platform’s audience. These Facebook changes are geared to a more pleasant experience for the audience they serve. Let’s take a look at the FB user base.  Most FB users want to see family and friend updates, they want to be entertained, and some even use it as a news source. Many aren’t in business mode or purchasing mode when they are reading the news feed. They will shift into those modes if what they see compels them to, but in general,  people are on FB when they are on a break, off work, or killing time.  That type of understanding of all your social platforms will help you deliver resonating content.

With any audience, you’ll need to build trust and rapport. Building rapport and trust takes thought and consistency.  Thought and consistency takes effort, time, and planning.  (I’m hearing the small business owner laughing right now)  Small businesses are especially challenged here because they just don’t have the budget to dedicate man hours to social media.

So for those of you facing the change with limited resources, here’s some tips to help you hold your own for as long as you can.

  1.  If you’re a service professional working inside people’s homes, ask the homeowner to share their story. Everyone has a story. The post might read something like…”Linda moved here last year so she could take care of her aging parents. For her, there wasn’t another option. She wanted to come and do this. She sacrificed a lot to be here and she has a lot on her plate. Although, we came to fix the hot water tank, we left inspired by her strength and love for her parents. It was an honor to be of service to her today.”
  2. If you’re manufacturing product, you have to understand how that product impacts the lives of the end user and be able to demonstrate it in words, pictures, and video.
  3. The ever debatable hashtag. They do serve a purpose, yet they should be purposeful.
  4. Not the mushy type? Go the comedic route.   Everyone loves a good laugh. Find humor in your day that is relevant to your audience and reflect on it. You might make light of your spouse’s well intended, botched dinner. Or show someone in the office with that sauce stain from lunch. As long as you can reflect without embarrassing, this is a great way to connect with people. Make light of not so great situations.
  5. Share your story.  Unicorns are rare.  People buy from people. Your customers can chose your competition over you and that’s why it’s important to tell YOUR story. For example, we have a client who uses us because she loves the fact we all left the corporate world to be more present with our families. She did the same thing 10 years ago. When we spoke to her, we told her our WHY and it resonated.
  6. For God’s sake be authentic.  This advice just isn’t for social media, it’s for everything.  No one is perfect, no business is perfect, and people love seeing other people’s imperfections. We all want to know we’re not alone in imperfection. That resonates with everyone.   If you appear too put together, too amazing, you’ll build skepticism and trust goes right out the window.
  7. This one’s old, but new again….ask questions, but the right ones.  Challenge paradigms and assumptions on topics related to your work.  Press buttons, but be careful not to close doors. It’s a fine balancing act with this one. You can play it safe by asking people “What’s the strangest thing your Elf On The Shelf did this year?”
  8. Inspire people to live and interact in responsible ways.  Lots of great motivational quotes out there, but go deeper than those.  Share something relatable  to the quote and relevant to your work.  Inspire your audience to serve their communities by volunteering, donating,  or just taking a meal to a lonely neighbor.
  9. Take advantage of those “National “whatever” Days.  Be creative with the “Wednesday Wisdom” or “Man Crush Monday.”  These days are perfect for connecting the dots to what you do in a meaningful or comedic way.
  10. Test things out with post boosts and target people who already like your page. If they like your page, chances are Facebook will oblige. More importantly if they like your page, they are more likely to share your post and interact with it. If and when they do, their friends might see that and interact as well.

There’s a lot of noise out there, so choose to whisper intelligent bytes rather than yell louder or pay more.  We’d be happy to manage your accounts, help you with content strategy, or just give some guidance.  Contact us at info@workbea.com