The Facebook algorithm gods are at it again. Change is (and has been) on the rise, and it means you’ll have to work harder to stay connected with your audience. For music brands, concert promoters, musicians and venues, this is BIG news. If you want to grab your audience’s attention, then be prepared to do the hard yards first.
Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s News Feed will be changing. For those that deal with Google’s algorithm changes on a regular basis (I’m a Senior Content Manager at an online marketing and SEO company), this was no shock to the system. For the rest of us that use Facebook as a tool for building brands and getting art in front of the right people, the questions flooded in: What’s happening to the News Feed and what do those changes mean for the music industry?
You would’ve already started seeing the effects. Content from family, friends and groups are being prioritised in News Feeds. Whilst content from brands, businesses and media is getting pushed to the side. Facebook has always been about “meaningful social interactions”. Now, they want the time we spend on their platform to be more valuable. And apparently, these changes are the way to do just that.
If you’re struggling to keep up with the social media chaos and you want your voice to be heard, it’s time to transform too. Here’s what you need to know:
What’s Going to Change?
As public content gets decreased in the News Feed, you’ll notice the following effects in the immediate future:
- Organic Reach Drops: Sorry Facebook pages, but content from people is shaking things up. This means less public content from businesses, brands and media.
- Website Traffic Drops: If you share blog articles and website content to Facebook, site traffic will plummet. This isn’t so bad for musicians who don’t rely on a website to reach their fans. But for music promoters, media and businesses, it’ll certainly have an impact.
- Paid Spend Delivers Less: As organic reach drops, businesses will likely increase their paid (Facebook) advertising to reach their target market.
#1 Mitigate the Damage
Your followers will need some encouragement over the next few months to continue seeing content on your page. Ask fans to not just ‘follow’ your page, but to also prioritise your content first, by choosing ‘see first’ as shown below. This ramps up your posts to the top of Facebook’s News Feed, despite the algorithm changes. Don’t be afraid to ask your fans to follow you! If they love what you do – they’ll be more than happy to support.
#2 Prioritise Comments over Shares
The whole idea behind this change is to emphasise social interaction. According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s primary goal is to bring us closer to the people that matter to us. And with friends and family the core of this experience, social interaction through the platform should be at its peak.
As a result, sharing, commenting and reacting to content will hold more value on Facebook than “passive” interactions, such as clicking, viewing or hovering. To combat the damage, you’ll need to get creative to encourage people to share and comment over ‘liking’. Great content, however, will always get shared. Whether it’s an article, music video or image, ask yourself before posting whether it’s good enough, and relevant enough, to get the results. These actions will automatically push your content up in News Feeds and ultimately get noticed.
Remember; social media is a two-way conversation. If you’re not listening and responding to what your audience wants, you’re going to get left behind.
Comments = Communication
Communication = Connection
#3 Reassess Your Content
Content that connects like-minded people will always gain better traction and reach. Reassess your strategy to make sure you’re only posting content that encourages and supports meaningful interactions. Posting for the sake of posting is old and simply doesn’t work. Every post must have a purpose. And that purpose must be in line with your audience to engage the desired communication.
Aim to post better content less frequently. If you’re posting multiple times throughout the day and receiving minimal engagement – stop! And take the time to craft quality and engaging posts. Stimulate conversation by asking questions your fans will want to answer. Comments are king, so work hard to build that conversation between your brand and audience.
ALL content must be optimised for comments and conversation. Likes are far less valuable now.
#4 Utilise Facebook Groups
Facebook groups operate on the basis of user engagement, so it’s a strong marketing tactic to start taking advantage of. Take the time to invest in relevant groups to activate these niche communities. Building engagement with your audience needs to be more than posting on your page and increasing the advertising budget. These changes force musicians and brands to find unique ways to interact with fans. Facebook groups are a fantastic place to start because they foster conversations.
Tip: Don’t use Facebook groups as an advertising channel. They’re there to build and create a network – not spam everyone. Putting on gig or music festival? Start a group for event attendees to encourage discussion and build excitement in the leadup.
#5 Make the Most of Your Advertising Budget
Facebook’s algorithm means brands and promoters will increase their advertising budgets on the platform. Besides fantastic content that’s shareable, the best way to keep your page in front of fans is to pay for it. Sponsored content, Facebook ads and boosted posts are cost-effective and produce great results. Today, they are more necessary than ever to take advantage of.
Sharpen up on your Facebook advertising skills to learn how to target your audience and make the most out of your advertising dollars.
#6 Don’t Fall into the ‘Engagement-Bait’ Trap
Just because the rules have changed on Facebook, it doesn’t mean we should be tempted into engagement-bait traps. Asking your audience to comment on posts if they love free beer is a prime example. Don’t be that spammy brand! Users hate it and fans will start dropping off.
Facebook has clear rules on engagement-bait traps. They don’t support meaningful interactions and pages/posts that do this will be demoted in the News Feed. Don’t be that person!
For artists and brands that work tirelessly to cultivate a strong Facebook following, the platform’s algorithm is an outright pain. The social media network is still a valuable one though. And the current changes teach us to create better content and own our audiences. They also reward creativity and motivate stronger communities. The benefits are certainly there. How will YOU be embracing them?