The job of the social media manager is more vital than ever and, as Facebook changes how it prioritizes content in the News Feed, this likely means some changes to how you approach content distribution. There’s an established correlation between traffic, which drives most monetization strategies for the social platform, and reach. With the new changes, nurturing viral reach—comments and shares—should now be as important as a diversified social strategy.
Using social to drive reach
Facebook has always relied on its algorithms to determine what its users see. When we analyzed our data from our premium publisher clients over 90 days, we found that viral reach is playing a much larger role in achieving overall reach on Facebook. This tells you that the strategy of purely driving traffic is evolving to include reach and engagement to ensure you have the numbers to convert. All are now equally important.
The latest shift means that it’s time to revisit the idea of being a community manager who takes an active role in connecting with your audience. The role includes identifying the most engaging content for each social platform and framing it in the way that’s most likely to drive engagement on each platform. Here are three tips for driving reach through authentic interactions on social platforms:
1. Understand what your audience wants
You may want to focus on content that’s most likely to be engaging to your audience. And now, the most meaningful kinds of engagement are comments and shares. These signal to Facebook that people care about a post. Whenever possible, test multiple headlines, images and copy to identify the most effective for a particular post. This can be labor-intensive—and here’s where automation can help. For example, True Anthem’s artificial intelligence platform can automatically identify content most likely to perform well on Facebook.
2. Emphasize conversations
Now more than ever, you should work on sparking conversations. One tried-and-true technique is asking questions. You can also make assertions and invite people to agree or disagree. It’s important to note that the tactic of asking people to comment or click is no longer advisable. Direct asks, for example, by saying, “Comment if you agree,” will cause Facebook to de-prioritize the post.
3. Be a cheerleader for social participation
If the content creators in your organization don’t already participate in social media, encourage them to share posts and respond to comments. You can help them by flagging appropriate posts or by tagging them from within the post. The social media manager’s role has always been a creative one. Now you have the chance to create meaningful conversations that drive reach, engagement and traffic.
True Anthem’s data, derived from our relationships with numerous premium media companies, shows that reach and traffic across Facebook have actually improved in the last 90 days, across our client base. By engaging with your audience on Facebook you can drive viral reach that will positively impact your publications’ total reach in the News Feed. These tactics, combined with an overall diversified strategy, are what publishers need to be successful in 2018.