This is a brand's world (or is it?)
In the changing Facebook climate, what's the future for the brands that have invested huge budgets into building their presence and community on the platform over the years, only to be shunned? Ted Nash explores
In mid-January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced yet more adjustments to the ever-changing Facebook algorithm, confirming that user timelines would start prioritising content from friends and family rather than brands. As Zuckerberg put it: “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.”
While these changes may be welcomed by consumers who have an appetite for a more meaningful and relevant Facebook experience, what about the B2B brands that have invested huge budgets into building their presence and community on the platform over the years, only to be shunned?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, around 76% of B2B brands use Facebook for content distribution, highlighting the huge number of companies that will be directly impacted by these changes. Therefore, it's essential B2B marketers take action now to continue to maintain and grow their levels of engagement on Facebook – but how?
Video is the way to go
Videos are still favoured under the new algorithm, really highlighting the opportunity to use this kind of content to maintain and grow engagement with other businesses. Live videos will be favoured even more, with Zuckerberg saying “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” Clearly, there are opportunities here for marketers to dial up the volume of videos they produce to showcase their offering, as well as broadcasting live content such as product walkthroughs, customer Q&As or even an unboxing, should there be physical/interesting items to do that with.
Take heed from other B2B brands
Several B2B brands, such as Salesforce and Hubspot, have really perfected their video content. Salesforce creates content which focuses on the goals and achievements of its clients, but very much puts human challenges first, and software second. This is an effective way of stimulating conversation amongst the target audience on their own challenges, leading into how Salesforce could help overcome these. Hubspot manages to hit the sweet spot of audience engagement through effective storytelling that focuses on challenges that marketers face, played out with a combination of both real-life footage and animation to create content that is both relatable and informative.
Authentic engagement over ‘engagement bait’
In light of these new changes to the Facebook algorithm, it has never been more important to post engaging content that prompts people to comment and share. It’s essential that content is *authentically engaging* though, and that B2B brands avoid ‘engagement bait’, for example, encouraging people to ‘Share if you hate Mondays’, which is destined to fall flat. Instead, B2B brands should focus on the changing needs of their audience and show they understand the relevant challenges they face and, therefore, appeal to their buying triggers.
Appeal to human beings, not ‘buyers’
Of course, B2B buyers are human too, so it’s essential to tap into their emotions to create a meaningful connection that engages them with your brand and proposition. This could mean creating video content that focuses on different personas and situations within an organisation which connects with your audience on a human level, with workplace-related content they can relate to. This approach opens up a wealth of opportunities to inject familiar situations bursting with personality and humour, which we know will be far more engaging and shareable.
Facebook’s algorithm will continue to evolve and change, so it’s down to B2B marketers to roll with the punches to ensure they adapt their approach to keep audiences engaged and growing