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How to Navigate the New Facebook Algorithm

On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, on behalf of Facebook made a statement. “One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent,” he announced.

 In an effort to stop public content – post from businesses, brands, and media – from crowding out “personal moments,” Zuckerberg tasked his product development team with helping users find more meaningful social interactions.  Shifting the algorithm from helping users to find relevant content to the primary goal of helping users feel connected to their community, Facebook has made it more difficult than ever for business content to be organically seen in the newsfeeds of users.

So now what?  

As a business, you’ve invested time and money into growing your following on Facebook. You’ve created compelling content to share with your community of followers. You’ve developed your Facebook Business Page into a platform for communicating with your customers, receiving feedback from them, and creating incentives for them to visit your restaurant again.  It was already difficult to garner engagement from a too busy, overstimulated, time-starved audience of followers… and Facebook just made it more difficult.

Don’t worry. There are steps that can be taken to help prevent you from becoming unseen!

Advertise

Facebook has one of the most effective and robust advertising platforms available to businesses.  And with 1.32 billion active daily users, it’s safe to say your target demographic is hanging out on Facebook.  Depending on your objective, there are several advertising options to choose from including lead generation, web traffic, simple promoted posts, offers, and for the more advanced advertiser, remarketing and messenger bots.

Targeting your intended audience is easy.  Create custom audiences from Facebook or Instagram engagement, choose specific demographics you’d like to target, display your ad to users who have already visited your website, upload your email list to build your audience… the possibilities are almost endless.

Advertising on Facebook is also relatively inexpensive.  While cost per click has gone up as the market gets more and more saturated, Facebook is still one of the few places you can advertise will a small budget and see definite results. Cost per click varies widely by market and increases as your audience gets more specific, but simple campaigns displayed to an audience likely to interact with your brand can be accomplished for as little as a few cents per click in many cases.

Video. Video. More Video.

It’s no secret, one of Facebook’s initiatives is to be the video platform of choice in the coming year.  If you use video at all in your marketing, you’ll notice that native video uploaded to your Facebook business page already gets exponentially greater reach, and by extension engagement, than any other type of content you’re posting.  Facebook wants businesses to use their platform to upload and share video (as opposed to sharing links from YouTube or other video platforms) and they’re rewarding businesses who do so.

No where is this more evident than with use of Facebook Live.  If you want your brand to stand out on Facebook, go live. And go live regularly.  Facebook rewards you with increased reach and engagement and will start rewarding “repeat viewing” – users who watch more than one of your live videos – with even more reach for your brand.  Do live segments with your chef preparing this week’s special. Create a weekly culinary school segment teaching users knife skills or other kitchen techniques. Come up with a “Go Live” schedule based on knowledge your brand has that your followers will be interested in.  Making sure your segments are at least 20 minutes long is also beneficial, that way Facebook has time to build an audience for you and encourage questions from said audience. Interacting with viewers is the #1 way to reach MORE viewers!

Conversational Content

Mark Zuckerberg himself said that these recent changes are all in an effort to make Facebook a more social atmosphere again.  What this means for businesses is that we must find a way for brands to interact with individuals on a social level; to connect with users personally.  How do we accomplish this? Conversational content. Create content that compels users to interact with your brand and with each other. Pose questions. Ask opinions. Share “behind this scenes” looks into your restaurant and your people. Create content that elicits an emotional response from users and creates a want for them to comment or weigh in. Avoid polarizing topics like religion and politics, but don’t be afraid to be transparent.

As has always been true, likes, shares, and comments = greater reach. Get your team involved in the process. Comments from them will often get the ball rolling. Not so different from an empty dance floor at a wedding reception, an empty comments sections can be a deterrent for users. Nobody wants to be the first to comment. A few well thought out comments from key team members can start a great conversation between your brand and your followers.

Perhaps most importantly, keep it simple and stick to what you’re good at. You’re in the unique position of knowing more about your business and the restaurant industry than most of your followers. You’ve earned the right to share this knowledge. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you do better than the rest!

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