Facebook has announced a trio of changes to their platform in recent months that will finish rolling out this coming January. As they did earlier this year, the social network is working to enhance the user experience and increase revenue, feed their growth in mobile usage and at the same time accelerate the maturation of their video offering. What this means for marketing on the platform is essentially putting more thought into posts, with a tighter focus on mobile, and deploying video as a way of doing both to increase the reach and engagement of your messaging. In my estimation, it also means putting more effort into other platforms, such as Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest to reach the right fans at the right time while driving those users back to your hub.
One of the changes Facebook is making in January is de-emphasizing the marketing post. “Make sure you buy our record at iTunes” accompanied by a link to the retailer just won’t show up much for fans of your page anymore. If you’re not already having a natural conversation with your fans, this will pose problems for how you engage with your audience.
Another change announced at the same time is an increase in the importance of link posts. Facebook’s research shows that users prefer these types of rich link posts to a status that includes a bare link in it or a photo with a link in the caption. Essentially if you paste the link into the status box, Facebook will generate everything you need, including a title, image and summary. You can simply delete the link itself from the status update box once at that point and hit post — as long as the site whose link you are sharing has done everything correctly, of course (more on that later). Facebook will reward this newsworthy content, the entire area becomes clickable for mobile users, and Facebook’s internal research says they are clicked on at twice the rate of captions and plain links.
The last change worth mentioning here is the greater importance of video. Compared to 2013, video on Facebook this year has become an integral part of the experience, with preferential treatment and auto-play capability being given to native video on the platform. This has pushed a massive growth in video views since May. Part of this change has seen native Facebook videos receive 70% more engagement on Facebook than embeds of videos from YouTube on Facebook. Our own campaigns at The Orchard have been in line with this and we’ve seen more engagement overall on Facebook video than YouTube itself. At last report, there were 1 billion views of video on Facebook per day. Couple that with an emphasis to brands on their pages being repositories for photo and video content and you can see the field being prepared for Facebook becoming a major video content platform in 2015. And we’re not even touching on the positive effects this all has for video advertising on the platform.
Taken together I feel it’s important to tackle these changes through these strategies:
- being more thoughtful in how posts are made on Facebook
- ensuring the creation of shareable content on platforms outside of your hub
- driving traffic from those platforms back to your hub, particularly Facebook
- redoubling or starting efforts at Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest (or whichever platforms make the most sense for your artist or business)