On Thursday (January 11, 2018), Facebook told everyone that it’s prioritizing content from friends and family over content that comes from Pages. Shortly thereafter, the price of Facebook took a dive of 4.5%. This resulted in Zuckerberg losing $3.3 billion, which really isn’t chump change. Discover how the latest 2018 Facebook algorithm change affects your dispensary’s Facebook marketing strategy, and learn what you can do about it.
That algorithm change, like all the others, caused quite a bit of a stir. This one is a bit more serious for businesses, however.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
The 2018 Facebook algorithm change hasn’t fully happened just yet. However, now is the time to amend your brand’s social plan so it can include a successful 2018 Facebook strategy that will not be too adversely affected by any algorithm changes.
Here’s your guide to the nine ways to ensure a successful Facebook strategy after the recent 2018 Facebook algorithm change:
1. Encourage audience engagement
Facebook made it explicitly clear engagement will be a deciding factor in determining whether or not your Page’s content gets to show up in front of your target audience.
.”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.”
So, if you have already focused all of your Facebook marketing efforts on creating engaging content that sells, then you’re golden.
However, if you’ve been focused more on getting that brand awareness and went the general route with your content publishing, then you’re going to need to change up your strategy.
When it comes to your content marketing, you’re going to want to brainstorm new ways to deliver the most important stories happening in the cannabis industry. But, you want to do in a way that gets people excited to join in on the discussion.
It’s also important to keep in mind Facebook already said they’re not going to be favoring “engagement bait.” So, those posts that encourage people to like, share, and comment won’t get increased organic reach.
However, you can still go ahead and create engaging posts that people feel the need to comment on all on their own. You know, without any of those “Like if____” or “Share if____” guilt-based CTAs.
It’s got to be true engagement, rather than just arbitrary likes and shares that mean nothing other than a two-second thought of “Oh, hey! I like that thing.”
You need to create content that effortlessly generates its own engagement.
2. Test different content types
The task of creating content that is effortlessly engaging can be a daunting one, especially with all the added time pressure of running a business. This is why most brands hire an experienced business writer for their content.
The business writer you hire will test out different types of content, keeping track of which posts receive the most engagement. And also which engagement is positive versus negative.
For the past few years, Facebook has already been pushing video content and emphasizing its value. Considering video content is one of the primary social media trends of 2018, this favoritism isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
A status update that is just text will have far fewer chances of showing up in the News Feeds of people in your audience, compared to video or image content. That being said, engagement is still at the top of the list of critical factors.
Brainstorm how each type of content can be improved. Think of how you can make them more engaging. If you follow the 2018 social media trends, it will help stay ahead of your competition.
For example, any live video you do should have a content format that will grow along with your audience. The experienced Tacoma business writer you hire should be able to adapt the content for this purpose as your audience grows and evolves.
By the same token, Facebook has already said video tends to work better than other types of content. In fact, Facebook recently stated that live video content gets an average of six times the interactions than standard video content does.
That’s a pretty noteworthy amount.
Celebrity content also does really well, according to Facebook’s latest update. However, that’s hardly surprising. If it’s relevant to the cannabis industry and your audience, this could potentially be a way to get engagement and start a discussion on your page.
Your updates can’t be just text, though. Dispensaries that publish videos that encourage conversation among their followers will perform significantly better than dispensaries that don’t.
The very nature of live videos lends itself well to engagement and conversation. Start encouraging your viewers to ask you things, leave comments, and otherwise engage with your live stream.
Ask them things, give shout-outs to specific viewers, hold little contests, and do other things that would prompt people saying hello to specific viewers, holding little contests, and other things that prompt people to start talking to you and / or one another.
Basically, give your audience something to talk about.
3. Only create shareable content
In addition to being engaging, your content should be shareable. Now, don’t go start adding clickbait posts to your Facebook strategy. It won’t work.
Instead, focus on sharing quality content that positions your brand as a helpful resource, not just another dispensary. Use your Facebook Page to show you have relevant, value-driven content - - not just promotional stuff.
Do some testing and figure out which of your current platforms yield the most engagement. Then, figure out what the optimal times to post are and experiment with a few different posting frequencies.
If Facebook isn’t a major source of traffic for you, testing posting frequency could prove to be beneficial. Even if you only post one or two times per week, your content can still be seen if your Facebook strategy involves content your target audience wants to see.
Don’t do what all the other Tacoma dispensaries are doing. At the worst, following what others are doing can actually hurt your brand and your reputation. At best, it just means you blend right in and don’t stand apart from the competition.
Why should they go to you? Why should they give YOU their money, and not the dispensary down the street?
There are a lot of brands - and solo video marketers / streamers - who have figured out a little “loophole” to the Facebook algorithm. Rather than typing out the call-to-action, these brands verbally encourage members of their audience to share their content. It’s already included in the script and is stated by the viewer - - and it works!
You can do this, too.
Let’s say you’re sharing a video of when your team toured the facility of a major cannabis producer. It is probably going to be more effective to ask for engagement through the video, rather than in the caption. “If you liked this video, don’t forget to Like and Share!”
As inconvenient as the latest Facebook algorithm change appears at first, it’s actually a good thing. It’s forcing brands to become more creative and create a targeted, branded array of content that your audience will find relevant and interesting enough to start a conversation.
4. Maintain quality over quantity
Although you may be eager to churn out a variety of targeted content, that’s not the way to go about it.
Quality is always better than quantity, especially because not every post you have in mind will actually perform well on Facebook. In fact, it’s a consistent challenge for many social media managers to publish only quality content on Facebook each week.
Also, managing social media is way more complicated than just posting a link and calling it a day. There’s the creation process, the copywriting, and scheduling posts in an editorial calendar. Then, there’s the monitoring of traffic and engagements, and the social aspect of drumming up engagement within the brand community. It doesn’t stop there, either.
However, logic tells us that posting more will bring in more engagement and drive more reach. Right?
If you’re just queueing up content just to post something, then your content tends to become lackluster. And, then it gets lost in the News Feed and very likely won’t drive any engagement whatsoever.
But, most people don’t understand that the “less is more” rule can apply to social media marketing.
Except it definitely does.
You may have some great content coming out of your website, but not all of those posts are going to be the right fit for your Facebook audience.
5. Produce Edutainment content
The most popular posts on the Facebook platform are what is sometimes known as Edutainment. They’re either entertaining or educational.
For instance, funny GIFs are entertaining, while helpful content like how-tos, list posts, or infographics are educational.
The best content on Facebook is going to have a balanced mix of both categories. Curating, publishing, and sharing this “Edutainment” type of content works best as an overarching strategy. This makes it clear what should be posted on Facebook following these different types of posting strategies:
- Limit your posting to 1 - 2 times per day max as this will force your marketing team to only share your absolute BEST content, because there is a limited number of content slots. It also makes it easier for the new 2018 Facebook algorithm to deliver one piece of content at a time to your audience.
- Increase the amount of curated content you share on your Facebook page. Most cannabis brands try to avoid sharing third-party content, mostly because it doesn’t affect their bottom-line. Well, not directly. It does play a huge role in the reach, engagement, and growth of your Facebook page. In time, that allows your brand to deliver content that does directly affect your bottom line. However, this time it will be to a much larger and more engaged audience.
- Focus more on brand awareness and engagement, as opposed to generating website traffic. (But, don’t stop doing that!) If you post content that is specifically created to drive engagement only will help you build up an active Facebook following and audience. The more they get to know your dispensary and your brand, those people will look to you to be a trusted source of Edutainment. At that point, you can deliver a piece of brand content that will help move your bottom line.
With the 2018 Facebook algorithm change, Facebook has started forcing brands to generate only quality content that people care about, find relevant, or find to be a solution to a problem.
By creating content that starts a discussion, your audience will start to come together more. That’s when your dispensary truly has a Facebook fanbase and community.
And community is everything.
6. Establish a brand community
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to create a sense of community among your audience. Once your followers begin to feel as though they are more involved with your brand’s social persona, you will see that engagement will be on a rapid rise.
The more people feel they’re involved with your brand in some way, the more trust they will have in it. This consumer-brand trust is what generates more website visitors, social media followers, and more people coming into your dispensary.
The main thing is to find a happy balance between sharing the best types of content for your audience (what they find most engaging) and promoting user-generated content.
For instance, let’s say your dispensary is on the verge of launching your latest digital marketing campaign. To keep this balance, incorporate authentic storytelling and humanistic content that highlights prominent followers, loyal customers, or members of your local cannabis industry community.
One thing that has proven to work for all sorts of brands is to have your followers take selfies wearing or using your branded merch or products, with your Page tagged. If they can bring in a screenshot, they get a discount in your store.
Have them take pictures of a specific product and, again, tag your page. Pick a random viewer and give them a small gift, such as a joint or a grinder.
People love free things, and the chance to win them is going to boost your engagement rate significantly.
There are numerous options, but you have to get creative with it.
This type of content will also make your audience members feel more like they’re part of your brand. Because consumers tend to mostly buy from brands they trust and feel they know, this will make them want to share your campaign with their friends.
Communities don’t just exist on Facebook, but it can definitely benefit your brand to schedule a live Facebook video and promote it.
Also, you could bring attention to exclusive content that is only available on your Facebook Page. Make it clear they won’t get this content anywhere else. This creates a sense of exclusive belong, something that generally leads to conversions and helps create a community around your brand.
7. Create a Facebook Group
The sense of community you have been building within your target audience will become even more essential when it comes to creating a Facebook group.
Following the latest algorithm change, brands with successful Facebook strategies are going to be focused on establishing a sense of community within their target audience, as bringing together like-minded people (ideally within your target demographic) makes the Facebook Groups more engaging.
There are plenty of reasons to start a Facebook Group for your business. Providing the groups are focused on meeting their key objectives, of course.
For example, if your dispensary brand is trying to increase engagement and forge a strong relationship with your current audience, then there is likely a solid opportunity to create a Facebook Group for your dispensary customers and digital audience.
You see, the thing that makes Facebook Groups so enticing is that your customers get to feel like they’re involved in something. The exclusivity factor is big in several types of social media, such as Snapchat, and in Facebook Groups.
If your dispensary can act as the moderator or facilitator for conversation among your audience, then your brand positions itself as a valuable resource. This positive association can also benefit the Facebook Page that is linked to your Facebook Group.
When you’re ready to add paid advertising to your Facebook strategy, this association will further your brand awareness and conversions.
8. Invest in Facebook Ads
One of the most direct ways of going around the recent 2018 Facebook algorithm change is to spend some money and create Facebook Ads.
These types of ads have been around for years, but they’ve gained added value following the recent change. If your dispensary brand is publishing interesting, engaging content without reaching people from your target audience, you’re going to want some Facebook Ads.
This will help you boost your posts, as well as when it comes to meeting your objectives. If you’ve lost organic traffic, Facebook Ads can also help your brand meet regain that lost reach.
The creation of effective Facebook Ads involves strategy and planning. The wrong objective can just turn out to be a waste of your social media marketing budget. An effective Ad campaign, however, can bring results that are a million times better than you initially expected to receive.
Try out different types of content and create Facebook Ads that align with your marketing objectives. This will go a long way toward bringing you closer to your target audience. Improving engagement and strategy when it comes to your promoted content will improve your Page views and conversions.
9. Don’t neglect other platforms
Though Facebook is the most popular social network, it’s not the only part of having a successful social media strategy.
If your audience has stopped responding to your Facebook posts - - or at least has slowed down in engagement - - it’s time to change platforms. Find out where your target audience is, and experiment with different content ideas for each until you find the right combination for your audience.
Remember to only go where your audience is. If the majority of your audience is on Twitter or Instagram, for example, then that’s where you want to go. That’s the audience that will see the content you want them to see. If you stick around on a platform that doesn’t have an engaged target audience, you’re only wasting your time and resources.
Given that, include email marketing in your social strategy to build an audience that looks forward to your updates and is eager to follow you across multiple platforms. You can give your audience links and summaries in your emails, so they will already be informed when you post exclusive content to your Facebook page.
Ultimately, you want to plan out a complete digital multi-channel marketing strategy for your dispensary. However, you want it to be flexible enough that it can be amended or changed when something is not effective or just plain isn’t working.
The Facebook marketing strategy for your dispensary should take the recent 2018 Facebook algorithm change into account, but it shouldn’t rely on it as a measure of success.
Let’s go back over the best ways to create a successful Facebook strategy:
Find the best types of content for your audience
Be authentic and relatable, so your content is shareable
Focus on quality more than quantity
Create Edutainment content
Add live Facebook videos to your Facebook strategy
Start a Facebook Group that is linked to your Facebook Page and other digital platforms
Use Facebook ads to increase reach and, ultimately, conversions
Don’t ignore your other social media platforms
If you only take away one thing from this blog post, just remember Facebook is about people and not search engines. You’re creating content for humans, so humanize your branding and create content that is directly relevant, helpful, or interesting to your target audience.
The more of a relationship you develop with your target audience as a whole, the less your dispensary be adversely affected (or at least threatened) by this 2018 Facebook algorithm change or any upcoming changes.