Another year, another change to Facebook feeds. This time, the change is to newsfeeds with a focus of friends and family taking preference. What does this mean for media companies, many of which have spent years developing and building their audiences to help reach the readers where the readers are at?
We asked social media guru Shannon Kinney, the founder and client success officer of Dream Local Digital. Kinney has more than 20 years of experience in the development of successful Internet products, online sales and marketing strategies. Kinney is slated to speak at the Colorado Press Association’s Annual convention, April 13-14 at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs.
Facebook recently announced that user feeds will be more focused on friends and family. What does this mean for newspaper media and online publications?
The short answer is – they will need to work harder to reach their audience. Traffic has been decreasing for some time and will continue to do so — rapidly for some. It will be important to curate your content on Facebook in a way that encourages conversation in the comments and build a two-way relationship with your audience on the channel.
What can news providers do to ensure they maintain a strong presence on the Facebook platform?
I recommend six things.
One, focus on sharable content, content that inspires “MEANINGFUL” engagement and conversations — particularly shares and comments, which will be valued more than likes and reactions.
Two, remind your readers that they can select your brand show up first in their feed in newsfeed preferences. I would begin campaigns to show them all how to do this in print, email and on your Facebook pages
Three, your lists are more important than EVER. Build your email lists and reinvigorate your newsletter strategy, use the lists also to create target audiences on Facebook
Four, leverage paid options on Facebook and Instagram, leveraging your email lists by building custom audiences and boosting your posts to your target audience
Five, consider: Are Facebook groups right for you?
And six, video content drives high engagement. I would also experiment with Facebook Live, their new Watch platform.
For news organizations that have made social media a part of their revenue plan, does this impact their plans? If there is an impact, what should they do?
When generating revenue from your own Facebook page, you will need to make sure you keep this audience active and engaged to continue to monetize it. If you are considering (or are actively) selling Facebook ads or social media management to your clients as part of your revenue strategy, the algorithm change pushes us further into the time where it is becoming increasingly difficult for a business to do it themselves. They need an experienced partner that understands the platforms and how to maximize exposure on them. For media companies that are fulfilling internally, it may signal the time they need to seek outside help as well.
Any other recommendations you would have for newspaper media? Are there any other social media platforms they should be looking to?
In our event at your conference we'll be covering the latest updates on how the change is affecting media companies, and strategies for them to engage with their audiences and generate revenue from the platform. In the meantime, I would suggest that media companies:
- Discuss with their editorial teams opportunities to create conversations on the platform with their content
- Begin a marketing campaign to show their audience how to select them in their newsfeed
- Leverage video content wherever possible, uploaded directly to Facebook. Also see Facebook Live and Facebook Watch
- Reinvigorate your newsletter strategy. Are you maximizing the value of email?