The Facebook Divide: How to Bridge a Widening Gap

When it comes to Facebook, for many of us, engagement rates are down. Post virality is down. Organic growth is painfully slow. If you’re going to save your brand from the throes of Facebook purgatory, you’re going to have to level up your current game.

People don’t like to be sold, yet quite a few brands have a social media approach that, if personified, would look a lot like a door-to-door salesman. These days, we’re dealing with a society that tunes out as quickly and readily as they tune in.

Our audiences – just like us – crave information at their fingertips when they want it, how they want it.  They get a sense of validation from remaining perpetually connected. They’ve taken comfort in the ease with which they can broadcast thoughts and feelings from behind a screen. And, after spending the better part of a decade on Facebook, they’re sick of reading content that sounds like an advertisement.

I know what you might be thinking. “The latest industry study says only 6% of our audience cares about engagement! EdgeRank’s recent adjustment is what drove my posts’ reach into the ground!” While some of the behavior you see on your page may be partially attributed to those things, you should be doing other things to counteract any undesirable outcome.

  • Think outside the book. Red Bull created more social buzz in one day than most brands do in a month by pulling off a stunt that had nothing to do with social media at all (save for a hashtag and a livestream). Don’t rely on your content alone to get your fans to talk about your brand. While most of us don’t have it in the budget to send a daredevil to space, we can still get creative with the ways we’re engaging our social communities. Ask yourself what you can do on behalf of your brand to get people talking.
  • Be insightful with Insights. There’s no excuse for social media managers not to understand who’s in their community when Facebook Insights are readily available for export and analysis. You can instantly improve the relevancy of your content when you understand the demographics of your audience, and Facebook Insights breaks down community growth by geography, gender, and age. From there, it’s back to basics: build demographic profiles and make relevant plays with them.
  • Put your community ahead of the industry. It makes no difference that only 6% of fans engage with Facebook content if only 2% of your fans actively engage with your content. The game we’re playing isn’t about optimizing content for Facebook; its about optimizing yourcontent for your Facebook community. Yes, you should pay attention to industry findings, and yes, EdgeRank influences your posts, but use these things to guide your research and social experimentation, not dictate it.

We work in a dangerous industry in that there’s no set time period for how long a social network maintain’s a user’s interest, yet it’s up to us to keep the sparks alive every day, no matter what. What have you noticed happening in your social communities? How have you been adjusting your approach?