This post is an excerpt from our newest free guide, How the New Facebook News Feed Changes Your Content Strategy. If you aren't up to date on what the new Facebook changes are, download the free guide to get caught up!
Yesterday, Facebook announced the biggest change to News Feed in its seven-year history. During the opening of this announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared how almost 50% of News Feed content today is photos and visual content.
Naturally, Facebook took this information and translated it into a new, visually-focused News Feed design. These News Feed improvements, which can be read about in detail here, have serious implications on how fans engage with brands on Facebook, and what content these brands need to be posting for Facebook marketing success.
Below you'll find eight marketing takeaways that were immediately clear after the announcement. Use them to plan your content strategy as we patiently anticipate the arrival of the new Facebook News Feed.
8 Marketing Takeaways to Align Your Content Strategy With the New Facebook News Feed
1. Publish more visual content.
Facebook’s new look is flooded with enhanced images of every variety -- an entire feed can be viewed solely comprised of these vivid images! Just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content -- photos and videos -- saw a 65% increase in engagement. This metric is bound to increase even further with the upcoming Rich Photos emphasis.
Prepare for the rollout of these updates by creating visually compelling content. If you’ve been previously posting text-based statuses and links, think about how you can convert those ideas into visuals. For instance, here's an example of how we took simple text and converted the words into an appealing Facebook visual.
This photo could appear in both a photos-only News Feed, or a “following” brands News Feed, giving it the opportunity to gain greater reach.
2. Create image-focused ads.
While Facebook did not speak to how these News Feed changes impact ads. However, according to an interview published by the MIT Technology Review, when asked how the new design will affect ads, a Facebook representative said, “The idea of making things richer, more immersive, includes ads.”
Furthermore, the article states, “Speculation about the changes include the possibility that Facebook will add additional mini-feeds segmented by content (such as one just for photos), as well as bigger, more targeted ads.” Only time will tell, but it’s important to start thinking about your ads from a visual perspective.
While previously posts with links primarily showed meta titles and descriptions, the new News Feed magnifies images, makes the title clearer, and provides a better summary of the content. Facebook’s response to the question about ads leads us to believe that ads will begin appearing in a similar fashion.
The main takeaway here is to start thinking about the visuals you can pair with your advertisements -- strong and persuasive ad copy won’t be enough in this new age of Facebook.
3. Keep your copy short.
With the spotlight on photos, Facebook has also changed the way captions will display. While previously captions were scripted underneath the uploaded photo, captions will now overlay images in the News Feed.
This means that photos will be the primary way by which people engage with your visual posts, so any copy you craft should be brief and succinct. It has to provide all the key information the user needs to understand the image and its value, and take action.
4. Focus more on your evangelists.
With the new Facebook News Feed, users will be able to look at content posted only from their friends. That means that even if someone likes and follows your business page, they may never see your posts because they filtered them out by looking at the content posted only from their friends.
Your solution to this is to focus more on your evangelists and customers. Your evangelists are the lovers of your brand -- the people who find you remarkable, and share your updates with their own Facebook friends. Whether they're customers, or just pure fans of what you do, these people will be instrumental in your success on Facebook.
Find out what these evangelists are most passionate about, and share content that directly targets them. Do they love hearing the new donut flavors you’re rolling out? Do they enjoy reading the marketing pick-up lines you come up with? Do they care about the newest features in your product? Whatever it may be, that is the content that your evangelists will share, too. And that action of sharing will put the content in the friends-only feed of all the evangelists’ friends, increasing the reach of your content.
5. Create more compelling content.
The way Facebook is now surfacing top-shared articles reminds us of a LinkedIn Today-like method for featuring top content. This means it’s in your best interest to use Facebook as a way to promote your more public-facing content -- such as blog content, for instance -- to try to get your best content more viral reach.
But here’s the secret when it comes to creating viral reach: It’s all about sharing compelling content. Facebook is exploding with content daily, and unless your content stands out from the crowd in terms of value and interest, it won’t gain the visibility it needs. As shown below, Facebook will, in a news-like fashion, aggregate the most frequently shared content from a publisher, and include the company logo alongside that. As a content creator, you’ll need to work hard to create remarkable content that is shared so widely.
6. Integrate your Facebook and Pinterest strategies.
Content shared through third-party apps will begin to see greater visibility in your News Feed. This includes Pinterest, as showcased below. In fact, 98% of people surveyed with a Pinterest account said they also have a Facebook and/or Twitter account. Even more important, Pinterest drives sales directly from its website -- of people with Pinterest accounts, 21% have purchased an item after seeing it on Pinterest.
By using Pinterest in tandem with the Facebook Pinterest app, you can use the enhanced appearance of Pinterest images in News Feeds to direct more people to your Pinterest page. This can help drive people to purchase, as Pinterest creates an easy environment for driving sales. Use this information to integrate your Facebook and Pinterest posting schedules for greater returns.
7. Influence users to check-in.
Location-based activity has been gaining more importance on social media. On Google+, we saw the integration of Google Places. And when Facebook launched Graph Search, it came equipped with the ability to search for content based on location. In addition, results in Graph Search are often local. For example, if you search for the word “coffee,” Facebook’s Graph Search will likely return results on coffee shops near you.
As you can see, Facebook’s changes make check-ins more visible and clear in News Feed. By finding ways to influence more people to check-in to your business, you’re creating more ways for people to see your business in the friends-only feeds. You could accomplish this by adopting a FourSquare approach and offering deals to the most frequent visitor -- via check-ins -- to your business. Or perhaps you simply make an announcement at a meeting or event reminding people that they can share their location. Point is, these check-ins will help your visibility on Facebook -- especially if you’re a small business!
8. Continue increasing likes of your page.
While the number of Likes your Facebook page has accumulated has always been important, the new News Feed makes these Likes even more meaningful.
When a user previously Liked your page, the excitement on the businesses end was around the increase in reach they could provide through their new fan’s friends of fans. There was no immediate benefit. The new Facebook makeover provides an immediate benefit.
When someone Likes your page, a new story is created in News Feed that shows the page's default and cover photo. This once again shows how impactful your Facebook cover photo is, because every time someone Likes your page, that cover photo will have the opportunity to influence the friends of your new Facebook fan.
How to Measure Your Facebook Content Strategy Success
Once these News Feed changes roll out and you implement the takeaways shared above, it's important to measure the impact of these efforts. Here are two valuable ways to look at this to measure the impact of your content strategy adjustments.
1. Post Clickthrough Rate
In order to understand how your content is performing on Facebook, analyze the clickthrough rate. Rather than focusing on the raw number of clicks, compare the clickthrough rate among different posts. Depending on your business, the average number of clicks your posts receive will vary. However, by comparing the clicks of each post to one another, you can see if there's a major outlier in the bunch -- a particular post that generated 50% more clicks, for example, than any other post. That can provide clearer insight into the kind of content that works best for you on Facebook.
2. Reach Growth
You want to use Facebook to amplify the reach of your business. How is the content you're posting ultimately increasing your Likes, and the overall reach of your Facebook presence?
Facebook Insights can help you see exactly that. In a nut shell, Facebook Insights shares information on both your total page Likes and the total friends of your fans -- and by taking the sum of these two metrics, you get the total number of people your Facebook page is reaching. You can monitor how this number increases based off specific posts, which can bring to light which content posts are benefiting your Facebook strategy most.
For a deeper explanation of how to measure this, check out our post, "How to Analyze Facebook Insights to Improve Your Content Strategy."
Additional Marketing Resources for Understanding the New Facebook News Feed
While these takeaways were our immediate findings after hearing the Facebook announcement, there's still more to discuss, research, and learn. For example, what implications will this have on your EdgeRank -- Facebook's News Feed algorithm for deciding what content appears to which people via their News Feed? We tackled this and more in our brand new free guide, How the New Facebook News Feed Changes Your Content Strategy. Download it today to learn more about how the new Facebook News Feed impacts marketers. As more information surfaces, we'll be here to share it with you.
How do you see the new Facebook News Feed impacting marketers? Do you plan on changing your content strategy to better align with these updates?