In mid-January 2018, Facebook announced yet another change to their algorithm. So what?
Facebook changes their algorithms all the time. What’s special about this one?
Well this change is a big one. Facebook has changed the news feed aspect to give preference to posts shared between friends and family.
It’s been well understood that over the past couple of years, the number of people that see your organic posts had been reduced to around 30% of your reach.
This latest change will reduce it to around 1% - 2% of your organic reach.
Advertising on Facebook will not be affected however.
What this means to you as a business, is that you will now have to work harder if you want your posts to be seen ‘organically’ i.e. not paying to reach people on Facebook.
With over 2 billion active users, Facebook is not a social media platform that can be ignored so how can you respond to this shift?
There are some that believe this latest change from Facebook is a direct result of the over-supply of low quality, meaningless content that fills up people’s inboxes designed simply to drive engagement for brands.
Facebook has often stated that it is a social media platform and not a media organisation.
Reading between the lines, what this means in reality is that as long as you are creating content that provides value to people, is original and encourages meaningful conversation, then your posts will continue to be shown.
It also means that managing organic posting campaigns on Facebook will require greater research, planning and execution to have the same impact as before.
Your posts announcing your latest treatment or the opening of a new clinic will now get lower priority and be pushed to the back of the queue to make way for family members sharing moments online.
This change will frighten some whereas others will see it as an opportunity to change their approach.
Your alternative is to start paying for advertising on Facebook.
And for those that are advertising on Facebook or thinking about advertising, there is no better time to sharpen up your skills and start creating ad copy that is designed to engage and motivate your audience into taking action and becoming a customer.
The most successful method is ‘Direct Response’ marketing.
Direct response marketing elicits a specific, measured response resulting from a consumer's direct response to a marketer. It facilitates the delivery of a call to action and outcome via direct online interaction for immediate feedback and response.
It’s in total contrast to most adverts that we see on television that are often highly creative but are designed to stick in the mind to raise brand awareness. Television adverts for Guinness and Coca-Cola are good examples where it’s often just the imagery or a catchy song. You’re not told the price, the ingredients, who it’s for, what it can do for you or even that you should buy it.
Often the more left field and creative the idea; the more brand awareness campaigns are deemed as successful.
Direct response advertising on the other hand, requires less in the way of abstract creativity and more about following a process.
This process is actually very simple and is based along the lines of:
The creativity direct response advertising requires comes in how you format the advert. Story-telling and information-giving are two of the most popular and successful methods.
Story telling works because it creates interest and seeks to connect with and ultimately engage the reader. Information giving works because it provides value straight away.
Now although following a process may seem easier than developing a ‘mind-hook’ brand awareness campaign it is not easy.
The following tips should however prove helpful when you are constructing your direct response copy.
Equally don’t get too sloppy, over familiar, use too much slang or attempt to be too clever.
If you really want to go into detail about direct response marketing, then David Ogilvy’s (of Ogilvy & Mather) 1983 book ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ will give you the perspective from one of the most recognised world experts as well as some great examples.
In addition to our own industry guidelines on what we can and can’t say when promoting our businesses, Facebook has some very comprehensive rules about what is and is not permitted.
I’d need several more pages than the word limit of this article will allow to put them all in here so I’ve picked out some of the most important ones:
When online advertising first started, you could put up any headline that would get people to click on it and it could take you to an entirely unconnected product or service. Today, Facebook will test your advert for relevance, accuracy and related landing pages before it gets published. The following standards are taken directly from Facebook.
All advert components, including any text, images or other media, must be relevant and appropriate to the product or service being offered and the audience viewing the advert.
Adverts must clearly represent the company, product, service or brand that is being advertised.
The products and services promoted in an advert's text must match those promoted on the landing page, and the destination site must not offer or link to any prohibited product or service
No one will know your business like you do so although there are many reasons to outsource ad creation to a copywriter or someone like myself, your knowledge of your own business is one big reason to write your own adverts. I hope this guide will help.