Are you ready for Facebook 3.0?
On January 11th, Facebook announced it would prioritize posts that “spark conversations and meaningful interactions.”
Before we jump in and look at some examples of what in the world a post that “sparks conversations and meaningful interactions” would look like, let’s dissect what in the world these algorithm changes are so that you can create conversation starters and other content that fit your brand.
How the Facebook algorithm is changing:
Facebook has declared that with the new changes people will “have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.” And “we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed.”
In other words, Facebook wants to be a place where you can create deeper connections with your friends.
Facebook’s recent blog post also says that its new objective is “connecting people to meaningful posts from their friends and family in News Feed.”
In other words, posts by business pages will be seen less. Now, what businesses have to say is going to be less important than the connections they facilitate.
Big news, right? Immediately after all of this was announced, people started freaking out. They were afraid the new algorithm changes means nobody would will see their business page posts ever again. ever. (If you’re still freaking out, watch my Facebook Live.)
But consider Facebook’s official description in a Google search – “Connect with friends, family, and other people you know.”
Although the publicity about this all is making the changes feel big to us introverted entrepreneurs, as a user of the platform, Facebook has always been about connecting. And what’s making all this doom and gloom hype even more annoying to me is that some of those same panicking marketing gurus have been calling Facebook a “Pay to Play” platform (meaning they think you need to pay for ads to be seen at all) for a year now. That’s because they’ve been taking the easy route when it came to Facebook.
But Facebook has said “Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” So if you’re currently creating posts that people actually want to share and comment on, you might not see a huge drop in reach!
In other words, spamming people or using your page to just posting your sales or your blog post links is going to be even less effective than it was before. But if you already understood that Facebook was a connecting platform, I think you’ll be ok.
Your role now, as a marketer on Facebook, is to spark conversations. Not just any conversation, but “meaningful interactions with people you care about.”
So how do we spark these conversations on Facebook?
Well, I think it starts with being empathetic, knowing your target market, and striving to be authentic.
For those of you who don’t like adding to the online noise, you were probably already doing this, or at least you wanted to do this. But now you can’t afford to just add to the noise if you want to be seen on Facebook.
We’re going to start seeing conversation starters everywhere. And people are going to get sick of them, so it’s going to be very important to make the conversations you’re starting relevant to your audience, and relevant to the way they think and act and interact with their friends and family.
In the early days of Facebook marketing posting something like “What’s your favorite ice cream?” would get you tons of comments. I doubt those kinds of posts (unless of course you’re Ben & Jerry’s) are going to be enough anymore.
Fortunately, Facebook has given us a few hints on what might work instead. For instance, it’s suggesting we do Live videos that prompt discussions. So if you haven’t jumped on the Live bandwagon, I suggest you start. (Want some help on this? Book a free chat so we can talk about how I can help you).
Facebook’s other suggestions on what will work in the new algorithm are posts by local businesses that can “connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”
In other words, there is hope for us businesses, but we have to play by Facebook’s rules.
Conversation starters for an imaginary brand:
Off the top of my head, here’s some examples of what may work for someone who runs a hair salon for millennials:
“Hair cruuuuush. Whose hair are you super jealous of? I have a hair crush on Rihanna” (pic of Rihanna)
“What’s your earliest memory of getting your hair cut?” (They may tag a family member in the post, sparking a conversation)
A Facebook Live where people vote on a hairstyle, and then you show how to do that style, and answer questions.
“Women with half-shaved heads… rad AF or gross?”
A video of how to deal with a common hair problem, like flyaway hairs.
“It’s National Compliment Day! Tag a friend whose hair you love, and give them a compliment.”
Sooo, hopefully the person running the salon’s social media would know more about hair, trends, and millennial lingo more than me…
But notice how all of the posts above were on topic? And most of them felt informal?
For a real life example, check out this update by someone who has a popular hair page:
I want you to notice how in the post above Guy refers to his followers as “Hairbesties” – he’s automatically creating the feeling of community. And people want to interact with communities.
And notice how he ended with the question “Do you love Pastel Colors?”
This stylist will probably see a much smaller drop in reach than stylists who are just posting links to their booking form. Who knows, he may even see a rise in engagement if other stylists aren’t creating conversations and there’s a gap in the community. (Also, if anyone knows Guy Tang, please tell him to cool it with the hashtags – they aren’t effective and are a little annoying on Facebook).
What kind of conversations topics are going to work well on Facebook?
That’s totally up to your target audience and the specifics of Facebook’s algorithm (and they never release the exact code, so going forward you will need to test and look at your analytics to see which posts are the most popular).
But here is my guess on what should do well for 2018’s Facebook algorithm…
Something I call a RSQs – Really Simple Question.
A Really Simple Question is a question that the reader doesn’t have to read twice in order to understand. It’s a question that they don’t have to think about for an hour before they know what to say. For instance, a question that tends to do well on my introvert-themed Facebook pages (1, 2) is “What Myers Briggs Type are you?”
Now, Facebook said they will want you to spark meaningful conversations, so you’ll also want to test out how your target audience reacts to a RPQ – Really Passionate Question. What topics are your target audience really passionate about? What gets them riled up or angry or ecstatic or eager to share their knowledge and insights? Post about those topics.
For instance, something lots of people in the entrepreneur space get rilled up about are webinars with 5 minutes of helpful information and 30 minutes of pitching. If I post about that my fellow introvert entrepreneurs will probably have lots to say about the topic.
Sample conversation starters about food:
Anyone else think cilantro tastes like soap?
Which do you think is healthier – peanut butter or guacamole?
Which is better – guacamole or salsa? Convince me.
Who’s the best chef in your family? (Hopefully they will tag a family member.)
Who taught you how to cook? (Hopefully they will tag a family member.)
Sample conversation starters about business:
Describe your business only using emojis.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about starting a business?
Let’s talk about work/life balance. (personal story). How do you balance it all? Do you even try to balance it?
Hop on a Facebook Live for an AMA (ask me anything).
What’s a brand that you’re obsessed with right now?
Sample conversation starters about beauty:
What’s your go-to foundation?
I’m thinking about going poo-free? Should I try it?
Who taught you how to put on makeup? (They will probably tag that person)
Try this for your own brand:
Picture you met someone with similar interests and they seem like an interesting person that you’d like to get to know better, what would you ask them about your mutual topic of interest?
What is your target marketing constantly asking you about? What are their day-to-day problems?
Because all of this conversation stuff is about being human. This is all about talking to your followers as if they are human with interests and problems and are there to be social on “social media.”
If you’re really stuck for ideas, here’s some generic questions that might get you started:
Fill in the blank: My favorite movie is ____.
Have any of you tried ____?
Where in the world are you living?
What’s a book that changed your life?
Using only gifs, tell me how your day is going in the comments.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Mac or PC?
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would say to your younger self?
Coke or Pepsi?
What do you think about ___?
Do you feel younger or older than your age?
Help please! What’s your best tip for ___.
You just found out you won $10,000, drop a GIF of what you would do next.
Also, I’d like to note that your post doesn’t necessarily have to pose a question to be a conversation starter.
Check out how many shares this recent post of mine got. The majority of the comments had nothing to do with my question, and I’m pretty sure it would have been just as popular without the question, because the idea that there’s a World Introvert Day is already a conversation starter.
Why was it popular? Because introverts often feel like a minority, and misunderstood. Here’s a chance for them to celebrate a community that they belong to and resonate with, and that they think is overlooked and misunderstood. They want to be proud to be an introvert, and want their friends and family to see introversion as something to be proud of too.
In other words, the best question you could ask yourself when you’re creating content for your Facebook page is… What’s important to my target audience?
Take out a notebook, because here are your action steps, my action taking introverts!:
1. Think about your target market. Why are they on Facebook?
2. What kind of posts do your target market Comment on?
3. What kind of posts do your target market Share with their friends and family?
4. What kind of emotion does your target market react to the most? (Do they love inspirational things, angry things, controversial things, funny things?)
5. What do they talk about with people who “get” them?
6. Who are the people who “get” them.
7. How will they know that you get them?
8. What does your target market want their friends and family to know about them?
9. What is your target market passionate about?
10. Take a look at your analytics (go to your page, then click the link Insights). Which posts got the most comments and shares this past month? Why?
11. How can you make more of those types of popular posts?
12. How can you use your page to create the feeling of a community?
13. Include CTAs in your Facebook Lives. Ask people to share with their friends. Ask them for feedback, like “click Like if this is helpful.” Ask them if they have questions.
14. Implement the lessons you learned from your analytics, starting today!
15. Implement the lessons you learned from this blog post, starting today!
16. Think about how Facebook interacts with your other marketing efforts, including your funnel. What role does it play currently? Does it need to play a different role?
17. Ask your fans to mark your page as “See first.”
18. Test and test and learn and implement! Keep checking those analytics and learning what works best for your audience!
A word about consistency:
One more thing, you guys, because I know this is a long blog post and I want to wrap this up, but if you struggled with posting daily on Facebook before, this algorithm change is awesome for you.
Quality is better than quantity. If you post 2 quality posts a week you are going to be doing so much better than a page that posts 10 uninteresting updates.
… Ok, I lied, this is the last thing I wanted to say:
Now would be a good time to expand your marketing techniques. Start using Facebook groups and your personal profile a little more (posts on profiles and groups will probably be seeing a boost). Get your Facebook followers onto your mailing list. And add another social media platform to your marketing plan. Adapt.
So, my introvert friends, go out there, create a Ruckus, change the world, and show your target audience that you understand them. You can do this!