State of Facebook (Updated for 2015)

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We need to change the way we think about Facebook. It's not a great communications tool any longer, as Facebook has moved to a pay-to-play environment. For many of us, the whole reason we got on Facebook in the first place was to share information with the public. Big changes to Facebook's algorithm have made this increasingly difficult, and it's only getting more difficult.

Published in: Social Media

State of Facebook (Updated for 2015)

  1. 1. State of Facebook 2015 Sowhatdowedonow? UPDATED Derek Belt Social Media Specialist, King County (Wash.) derek.belt@kingcounty.gov @derekbelt
  2. 2. In this presentation • How Facebook works • BIG CHANGES • So what do we do now? • Understanding the algorithm • Getting through to your fans • Optimizing your content • Tips for posting • Facebook ads • Resources and links to learn more
  3. 3. How Facebook works I join Facebook I make friends I make LOTS of friends!
  4. 4. Not so friendly, after all 200 friends 20 friends 10% But I don’t see posts from all of my friends. WHY NOT?!! Facebook decides for you what you get to see. Roughly 10% of your friends see the content you share.
  5. 5. The hard truth (read all of this) • Two years ago, no one really got their news from Facebook. Now, they do. Every publisher from CNN to Buzzfeed is producing content they hope readers will find and share through Facebook. • At any given moment, there are approximately 1,500 stories that Facebook could show in the average user’s News Feed. The struggle is figuring out how to get the right stories to the right people. • Facebook has changed its mind about brands. It has decided that users do not really want to see a News Feed full of updates from brands—this includes our King County pages. • Facebook is aware there is a cottage industry built around helping brands reach fans for free through the News Feed. Facebook’s view is that these updates were plugging up the system, and it’s not going to allow that to happen anymore. Source: Slate
  6. 6. Reach is decreasing big-time Reach is now less than 5% for most Facebook pages. And those numbers have been dropping steadily for several years.
  7. 7. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. Reimagine your Facebook page as a customer service portal, not a communications tool. In many cases, residents see Facebook as a direct line of contact. Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Start asking your fans real questions you want real answers to. If Facebook is one of your main communications and outreach channels and you don’t want to abandon it, then you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. Prioritize an email list or newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups.
  8. 8. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. Reimagine your Facebook page as a customer service portal, not a communications tool. In many cases, residents see Facebook as a direct line of contact. Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Start asking your fans real questions you want real answers to. If Facebook is one of your main communications and outreach channels and you don’t want to abandon it, then you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. Prioritize an email list or newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups. 170 likes 15 shares Reached 4,000 people. King County Metro buses are ready for the Seahawks game!
  9. 9. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. Reimagine your Facebook page as a customer service portal, not a communications tool. In many cases, residents see Facebook as a direct line of contact. Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Start asking your fans real questions you want real answers to. If Facebook is one of your main communications and outreach channels and you don’t want to abandon it, then you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. Prioritize an email list or newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups. Our posts rarely reach into the thousands, which used to happen quite often. Now, the average is a few hundred, which is 5-10% of our total fans.
  10. 10. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. • Reimagine your page as a customer service portal. In many cases, people see Facebook as a direct line of contact. Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Start asking your fans real questions you want real answers to. If Facebook is one of your main communications and outreach channels and you don’t want to abandon it, then you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. Prioritize an email list or newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups.
  11. 11. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. • Reimagine your page as a customer service portal. In many cases, people see Facebook as a direct line of contact. Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Start asking your fans real questions you want real answers to. If Facebook is one of your main communications and outreach channels and you don’t want to abandon it, then you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. Prioritize an email list or newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups.
  12. 12. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. • Reimagine your page as a customer service portal. In many cases, people see Facebook as a direct line of contact. • Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Ask your fans real questions you want real answers to. If Facebook is one of your main communications and outreach channels and you don’t want to abandon it, then you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. Prioritize an email list or newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups.
  13. 13. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. • Reimagine your page as a customer service portal. In many cases, people see Facebook as a direct line of contact. • Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Ask your fans real questions you want real answers to. If Facebook is one of your main communications and outreach channels and you don’t want to abandon it, then you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. Prioritize an email list or newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups.
  14. 14. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. • Reimagine your page as a customer service portal. In many cases, people see Facebook as a direct line of contact. • Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Ask your fans real questions you want real answers to. • If Facebook is one of your top communications tools and you don’t want to abandon it, you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads.
  15. 15. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. • Reimagine your page as a customer service portal. In many cases, people see Facebook as a direct line of contact. • Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Ask your fans real questions you want real answers to. • If Facebook is one of your top communications tools and you don’t want to abandon it, you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads.
  16. 16. So what do we do now? • Share great content that people really want—if you’re saying something worth listening to, people will find you. • Reimagine your Facebook page as a customer service portal. In many cases, people see Facebook as a direct line of contact. • Facebook is one of the world’s great market research tools. Ask your fans real questions you want real answers to. • If Facebook is one of your top communications tools and you don’t want to abandon it, you need to buy guaranteed reach: ads. • Prioritize an email list or e-newsletter—use your Facebook page to raise awareness of this and encourage sign-ups.
  17. 17. Facebook vs. email reach Sending a Facebook post: Sending a targeted email: Reach 10% Reach 100%
  18. 18. Where are all my fans? • Facebook’s reach is pre-determined by a fancy computer algorithm. • Affinity—the relationship between a fan page and a regular person—is strengthened over time with every click we make on Facebook. • Affinity is personalized to each user, so different posts reach different people. For example, Joe Public might see a video you share but not a photo album about the same thing. • Because Facebook knows Joe is a video guy, not a photo guy. Stronger “affinity” means a person is more likely to see your Facebook content.
  19. 19. Understanding the algorithm • Facebook’s algorithm, formerly known as “EdgeRank,” determines what content people see in their News Feed. • We spend 40% of our time in the News Feed, so this is a very big deal. News Feed is how people find information on Facebook.
  20. 20. How does Facebook determine who sees what in the News Feed? There are four categories:
  21. 21. Graphics by PostRocket
  22. 22. Graphics by PostRocket
  23. 23. Graphics by PostRocket
  24. 24. Graphics by PostRocket
  25. 25. Graphics by PostRocket
  26. 26. Getting through to your fans The goal with every post is to get here. Sweet spot! But that’s hard to do because Facebook blocks most people from seeing your content.
  27. 27. Tips for posting • Shorter posts between 100-250 characters get 60% more likes. • Photos and videos get more engagement than links and text-only posts, according to numbers released by Facebook. • Ask your fans a question. Hey, we’re thinking of opening a new farmers market in your neighborhood. Where’s the best place? Facebook is an excellent market research tool for stuff like this. • Tell fans what to expect if they have to click on something to get it. If you’re sharing a video, tell them what’s in it. • Provide inside access. Give fans information they can’t get elsewhere. • Fill-in-the-blanks generate 90% more engagement because ______ .
  28. 28. Facebook’s weighted posts Videos/ Photos Links Text-Only Posts by you have weight: Actions by others have weight: Shares Comments Likes/ Clicks MORE WEIGHT LESS WEIGHT AFFINITY
  29. 29. Optimizing your content • Example 1: Standard cut and paste with just the link. This is not the ideal way to share content on Facebook.
  30. 30. Optimizing your content • Example 1: Standard cut and paste with just the link. This is not the ideal way to share content on Facebook.t on Facebook. • Example 2: Write a clear message and customize the copy to make the post more relevant and meaningful.
  31. 31. Optimizing your content • Example 1: Standard cut and paste with just the link. This is not the ideal way to share content on Facebook. effective way to share content on Facebook. Headline (make it count) Sub-head (use the first sentence) Copy (100-250 characters preferred)
  32. 32. Sharing links… the right way • Pages that post links get preferential treatment if they use Facebook’s “link-share” system. • See the next slide for an example of “link-share.” • Tip #1  Don’t delete the embedded link box that automatically pops up when you paste a link into Facebook. • Tip #2  If you’re sharing a photo, add the image first and then write your caption. But understand that a photo w/o a link included in the caption will outperform any photo with a link.
  33. 33. Facebook says text-only posts from regular people (not fan pages) increases engagement from other people. However, text-only posts from fan pages don’t have the same effect. Pages that post links get preferential treatment only if they use Facebook’s “link-share” system. • Tip #1  Don’t delete the embedded link box that automatically pops up when you paste a link into Facebook. Deleting this box will hurt your reach, meaning fewer fans will see it.
  34. 34. Photos are still a smart play • Text-only posts aren’t very compelling.
  35. 35. Photos are still a smart play • Photos get 120% more interactions, says Facebook. • Because they’re flat-out easier to see in people’s News Feeds.
  36. 36. Photos with text are catchy • Use these tools to place text on top of photos: • PicFont.com • PicMonkey.com • PicResize.com is handy!
  37. 37. Pay to play: Facebook ads • Outstanding targeting system, gets right to the audiences you need to reach. • News Feed ads that look like regular posts and mobile-only ads work the best. • Boost your posts to maximize reach for cheap. • Never pay more than your allotted budget. Facebook won’t charge you more than $100 if that is your limit. • Instead of paying $100 on one ad, spend $50 on two ads, then use the top-performing ad for the next campaign. • Facebook ads are cheap, and they work!
  38. 38. Target the right people From all of Facebook To people in your geographic area. To fans in your target market based on age, gender, education, etc. To people who like specific topics and pages.
  39. 39. Case Study: 2014 year in review • Kicking off 2015, we purchased $100 of Facebook ads to promote our year in review slideshow. • We also posted to our regular pages. • It was a great example of how Facebook has changed. • Facebook ad: • 1 post  15,709 people reached • 313 clicks to our slideshow • $100 spent ($0.32 per click) • Regular posts: • 16 posts  just 3,791 people reached • 53 clicks
  40. 40. Case Study: Strategic Plan update • King County’s Strategic Plan update in 2014 asked residents to tell us their priorities. • MindMixer was chosen for gathering online public feedback. • Advertising strategy: • Ethnic media • Traditional media (online) • Facebook • 3-month outreach campaign gave us an apples-to-apples comparison between traditional media websites and Facebook ads. The numbers are striking!
  41. 41. Case Study: Strategic Plan • SeattleTimes.com Ads • Impressions: 1.8 million • Clicks to website: 2,232 • Total spent: $12,000 • KIROTV.com Ads • Impressions: 5.3 million • Clicks to website: 2,740 • Total spent: $12,000 • Facebook Ads • Impressions: 1.9 million • Clicks to website: 2,658 • Total spent: $1,500 Same number of clicks to our survey page for a 10th of the cost.
  42. 42. Case Study: Strategic Plan • SeattleTimes.com Ads • Impressions: 1.8 million • Clicks to website: 2,232 • Total spent: $12,000 • KIROTV.com Ads • Impressions: 5.3 million • Clicks to website: 2,740 • Total spent: $12,000 • Facebook Ads • Impressions: 1.9 million • Clicks to website: 2,658 • Total spent: $1,500 $5.38 per click $6.50 per 1,000 impressions $4.37 per click $2.25 per 1,000 impressions $0.56 per click $1.19 per 1,000 impressions
  43. 43. Resources • Slate – The hard truth about how the Facebook News Feed works now • Advertising Age – Facebook cuts brands’ reach once again • Forbes – Facebook puts everyone on notice about the death of organic reach • Moz – Make Facebook’s algorithm change work for you, not against you • Buffer – 9 ways to work with Facebook’s big algorithm change
  44. 44. Thank you! Derek Belt Social Media Specialist, King County (Wash.) Contact me: derek.belt@kingcounty.gov @derekbelt Key takeaways: • Facebook has changed, and not in our favor. • What has long been viewed as a strong tool for “push” communications is no longer so. • Time to rethink what we’re doing on Facebook: 1. Customer service 2. Market research (ask questions!) 3. One of the best advertising options we have, and the cheapest. 4. Move to an email list or e-newsletter  Would you rather reach 10% of your audience on Facebook, or 100% via email?

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