Last week Facebook announced that it is dramatically changing what users see in their news feed. And if you’re like every other business that has a Facebook page, you might be freaking out about it.
The new reality on Facebook is that its algorithm is going to prioritize content that gets a lot of “meaningful interactions” amongst groups of friends or family. Their intent is to improve their users’ experience by showing them more of the things that spark conversation, and less of the things they just look at and move on from.
Getting seen by your followers hasn’t been easy for a while—organic reach, generally meaning how many people see your post, has been on the decline for several years. Now, this new algorithm means you may to have to work even harder to break through to your followers.
This has been one of the most talked-about changes to happen to Facebook in a very long time, and it has a lot of businesses worried and unsure about what happens next. But where most see a problem, I am starting to see an opportunity—especially for outdoor adventure companies like yours.
So, here are eight ways that you can turn Facebook’s news feed update to your advantage.
Facebook will now “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”
The world’s most popular social media site is cracking down on what it calls “engagement-bait”—posts that “goad people into commenting” but don’t create a genuine discussion. Now, when Facebook sees posts like that, they’re going to demote them—meaning, make them less likely to appear in your followers’ news feeds.
You used to be able to get away with encouraging your fans to react to a post with just a “like.” But Facebook now sees its famous “like” as too passive, and they’ve started looking for more quality interactions—those that inspire back-and-forth discussion between you and your followers, and, better, among your followers, and between them and their friends and family.
What this means is that you’ll have to be a little more proactive about creating discussions on the topics that interest your fans. This could be as simple as asking for an opinion, or asking where your fans wish they could travel to, and why. Ask open-ended questions that spark conversation, and stay away from the old trick of “like if you agree!” And when someone does make a comment, show up to answer, facilitate deeper discussion, and bring in more people to the thread.
It’s more important now than ever to create and share quality content. And to do that, you must understand what your present and future customers search for and consume when it comes to dreaming of and planning for their next amazing vacation.
The more specific you get, the more your content will resonate with the type of people you’d like to work with. It’s no longer going to cut it to post general, vague things like “Happy Friday!” To create the kind of discussions and engagement Facebook is looking for, you need to break through the barrier by really speaking to your own audience: for example, think of a great photo with the question: “We’re hiking Vancouver’s Baden-Powell this weekend. What’s your favourite stretch of this historic trail?”
If you haven’t dabbled in Facebook groups yet, now is the time. Facebook groups bring together like-minded people around a specific topic or interest. When someone joins a group, it’s a more active and engaged choice than following a brand. They want to be part of a community, not just have stuff shown to them.
When you create a group, whatever type of group it is, you’ll want to make sure that it attracts that ideal customer—the person who you want to be on your tours. So, instead of starting a group around “Travel,” get—yes, that word again—specific. If your tours are designed for Gap Year students who are looking to get away for a few months before diving into university, then make a group around that.
Now that you have created your group, use it to offer valuable tips and advice. Spark conversations between members. Make it a fun space for people to connect and share. Remember: this is not a place for promotions and sales.
Naturally, when you are creating so much value for your audience, they’re going to look to you when they are ready to book their next adventure.
The added bonus? Every time someone post in your group, that post shows up on every member’s news feed—encouraging more interactions and participation. And Facebook likes that.
A simple and straightforward way to make sure your fans are seeing your page posts is by asking them to select “see first” for your page in their news feed preferences.
This is Facebook’s way of giving their users the option to see all the posts from a specific page (ideally, yours!), so they won’t feel they’re being denied the content they really love just because others aren’t having conversations about it.
The bad news is, your followers have to actively select this. The good news is, once they have done so, they’re “locked in” to your page. They’ll see a lot more, if not all, of what you post.
Make sure your fans know they have this option by sending out a quick email showing them how to do it. You should also mention it in a couple of posts, and repeat the message every once in a while. Let them know that they don’t have to miss out on any value you provide.
Facebook’s new update is user-focused, and it means there will be less space in news feeds for ads. This means that your ad spend will likely have to increase—but it also means less noise and competition for your message once you do place that ad.
Set aside a budget specific to Facebook to make sure you allot enough resources to continually reach new fans and get your brand top of mind among your existing customers. This is a good time to practice the art of targeting specific audiences using “interests” and your email list—learn to master this, and you’ll keep your ad costs down.
Want to know more about Facebook ad targeting? Read this quick guide to getting started.
Facebook’s update is going to prioritize live video content. That means it’s time for you to step in front of the camera and start creating Facebook Live videos.
The main reason Facebook is giving better placement to live videos over regular videos and other kinds of posts is that live content is what sparks the most conversation among Facebook’s users—in fact, Facebook Live videos get six times more interactions than regular videos. People really love those flying hearts and thumbs-ups (I know I do).
So the next time you’re out in the wild, in the middle of an exciting moment on a tour, doing something fun with your team, checking out a new piece of gear—the options are endless—get your phone out, make a live video, and interact with the people who come to watch and comment! It’s fun for you, it’s fun for your fans, it gets those interactions and conversations going, and it makes the Facebook algorithm happy. And a happy algorithm puts you higher up in your audiences’ news feeds.
It’s more important than ever to review your analytics so that you understand what types of posts are getting the most engagement from your audience.
Take a look at what your fans are interacting with—and what they aren’t. What inspires meaningful discussions? What is generating questions and comments and tags?
And what just gets the proverbial “crickets”?
If you find certain posts never get any traction, stop posting that kind of content. Seriously. It used to be just forgivable filler, but the game has changed. Facebook is now going to penalize you for posting content that people do not find valuable. Keep doing it, and fewer and fewer of your fans will see any of your posts.
Learn what gets interactions from your specific audience, and create more of exactly that kind of thing.
As much as Facebook is a really big shark, it’s still not the only fish in the social media sea. Even before this news feed update came along, it was never a good idea to rely solely on Facebook when it comes to attracting new customers.
Spend some time researching where your audience is spending their time. For many, it’s likely Facebook, yes, but they might also be on Instagram, Twitter, even Snapchat—and whatever other new apps and platforms are coming down the pipe. I bet there are even a bunch of sites and platforms specific to the outdoor activity you offer. Seek them out, and find your audience there. It’s worth the time.
Want to learn more about the big social media platforms and how you should use them? Here’s a quick rundown.
Change can be frightening and confusing—and if you’ve put a lot of time and resources into developing your Facebook audience, this particular change might feel pretty frustrating.
But consider this: change is frightening and confusing not just for you, but for almost everyone, and that means almost everyone is going to be dragging their feet in adapting to it.
Facebook is just looking out for its users—by ensuring that they have a better experience, they’re ensuring that their users spend more time on the platform. And that’s good for them and for you. If you can shake off the frustration and take these eight simple steps, that’s going to put you well ahead of other adventure brands in the social media race.
A few tweaks to how you approach your marketing—in particular, how you deliver content—and your adventure brand will adjust flawlessly to this new Facebook environment. And your fans and followers will be happier for it.
In less than 20 minutes, you’ll learn how to turn your website traffic into high-quality leads and bookings for your business.
Click below to learn more about this free online mini-training.