Continue to Drive Engagement on Facebook with Live Video

Mar 09, 2018

Article ImageAs Bill Gates wrote in his 1996 essay, content is king. Since then, 22 years have passed and not much has changed--high-quality content continues to rule the media landscape, even more so since the dawn of social media. What has changed, however, is the type of content users consume online, and how people engage with it, because content might be the king, but engagement is definitely his queen. 

The world’s biggest social media platform, Facebook, currently has 2.2 billion monthly active users worldwide. It is undeniable that this has a real impact on businesses online and offline, and every big or minor change can directly affect a company’s marketing strategy.

Earlier this year, Adam Mosseri, head of News Feed at Facebook, shared an announcement on the platform’s official newsroom, which explained some key algorithm changes. To sum it up, the social media giant refocused its approach on which posts get higher importance in the News Feed. Facebook is prioritizing interactions made between peers over business-to-consumer, which means posts by business pages are reaching fewer people.

This major change means that businesses really need to take a step back and refocus their Facebook strategy to make sure they minimize the impact of the algorithm affecting the organic reach of their posts. The key term to keep in mind when reshaping your Facebook approach is “meaningful interaction”, which means that your audience needs to interact with your content, whether it be in the form of comments, likes and other reactions, or shares.

As Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, wrote himself: “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

Reflecting on these recent updates, let’s cover the red flags first, starting with the “engagement-bait” trap. Knowing that fan interaction can result in better organic reach, some businesses might be tempted to ask their audience to Like, Comment, and Tag on a post, or ask viewers to use different reactions to showcase their view on a discussion topic or choice of perspective. Not only might that be viewed as spammy by the people that follow your page, but it’s also something that Facebook is working hard to combat, and could possibly result in demotion: “Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”

This doesn’t mean that you can’t use questions in your posts or write about things that fans might have an opinion on, just keep in mind not to directly ask for reactions. 

Facebook Live Can Boost Engagement

When it comes to good practice, live video is something you should definitely include as a regular part of your content calendar. The News Feed has always favored live videos and the new algorithm doesn’t change that; more than ever, business pages are encouraged to think of utilizing live video, on average it gets six times as many interactions as regular videos.

Live video content is exciting, however, it does need a little bit more thought than just sitting in front of a camera, if you want to take full advantage of this method of communication. Generating a genuine, two-way dialogue in real-time with your audience can result in so much more than just increased engagement on Facebook with your organic reach.

Before you press the “Go Live” button, start by thinking about the structure of your video, and most importantly what will make those watching share their questions, comments, and observations. As you probably already know, people can join your live stream at any time, so regular calls to action and shout outs go a long way. Also, include shout-outs to fans who are commenting and asking questions--focus on making the audience members feel as if they are part of your broadcast.

You can even go one step further and use a third party live streaming solution, such as Live Studio, to incorporate real-time engagement features to create a true two-way conversation with your audience–something we view as a USP for the FB Live platform. You can also schedule your stream in advance to build awareness and give your viewers the chance to start engaging, commenting, and sharing. They will also get a Call-To-Action notification just before you go live. The benefit of this is that by having an audience already aware and participating, it will help grow the reach of your stream before you go live. 

The other advantage of using third party software is that it allows you be much more creative with your live stream. You can use graphics to build play along mechanics and interactivity, making Facebook Live a dynamic real-time experience for viewers. For example, to drive on-going conversation you can create live polls, solicit comments or incorporate natural social mechanics like sweepstakes.

Pay to Play on Facebook

If your marketing budget allows it, you could also consider boosting your posts. Make sure to boost your content organically first to deliver better placement via the algorithm. You can also use this as an opportunity to further promote your upcoming live video, collect questions for Q&As, or let your fans give suggestions. If you’re boosting once you are live, then be sure that the stream has sufficient time remaining; otherwise it may not be worth the investment and better to boost the video after the event.

Post live stream, you have a number of options to take advantage of the social data and can use these opportunities to find new viewers and continue the conversation with fans. Use Custom Audience features such as Look-A-Like along with Ad Manager to build lists and target potential fans back into their news feed with a paid media buy.

Another area to focus your strategy is Facebook Groups. This aspect of Facebook’s platform has already been proven as a way to develop high levels of audience engagement. Currently, it’s still treated differently to pages, following the new algorithm update.  You can use this as an opportunity to grow your customer/fan base by delivering custom content to niche segments and build those communities.

Finally, don’t forget the basics! An often overlooked tip is to simply ask your fans to click on the follow button on your Facebook Page. Users have the ability to select which posts and which pages they want to see in their News Feed by selecting the “See First’’ button in the preference feed.

Use Facebook’s algorithm changes as an opportunity to refocus your content strategy. If you produce high-quality content, focus on the interests of your audience and incorporate some of these tips to maximize the value of your efforts. Your reach and levels of engagement with your target customers will keep growing. Good luck!

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