With 1.4 billion daily users, there is a staggering amount of content published on Facebook every day. To help us sort through all of that information and ensure that our news feeds show us the posts we’re most likely to engage with, Facebook constantly makes adjustments to the algorithm that ranks content. In the past, the algorithm has been updated to prioritize posts from friends and demote posts that are overly promotional.
The algorithm is tweaked frequently and in ways that many people likely aren’t aware of. But a recent update could affect the way that brands market themselves. In response to 2017’s “fake news” controversy, Facebook’s algorithm will now favor content that sparks “conversations and meaningful interactions between people” and “posts from friends and family over public content.” While the move was made to ensure users are presented with trustworthy content, experts warn that this change could potentially devalue posts shared by businesses. It’s too early to tell what impact this will ultimately have.
And with the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook user information was misused to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, there’s another level of uncertainty about where the company is headed.
But all of the changes that are currently happening at Facebook highlight how important it is to stay in touch with your customers using methods that you can control — in addition to still connecting with them on social media.
Email marketing allows you to communicate directly with your audience. It provides direct access to your audience, indefinitely. So instead of waiting to see what impact this latest Facebook update or the Cambridge Analytica developments will have, be proactive. Shore up your marketing strategy by getting your email marketing program ready. To do so, follow these three steps:
1. Get your audience to join your email list
Is Facebook your primary marketing channel? If so, you will need to persuade your Facebook audience to sign up for your email list. As of now, it doesn’t appear that any changes have been made to the Facebook Ad algorithm, so run an ad campaign, encouraging subscribers to join your list. Make sure to briefly explain the benefits of signing up. You should also have sign-up forms or links anywhere that your audience interacts with your business, such as your website and your physical location. (VerticalResponse also lets you easily build and publish landing pages where you can quickly collect contact information.) You don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect.
2. Build relationships
Spend more time cultivating relationships with your audience through email. You want your subscribers to be invested in and emotionally connected to your business, so they’re compelled to engage with you on whichever marketing platforms you’re using. Rather than simply sending out information about upcoming sales or promotions, try incorporating user-generated content into your messages. Some companies add images of customers wearing or using their products at the bottom of every email message. Prove that you appreciate your audience. Other relationship-building strategies include sending out birthday messages, creating post-purchase follow-up emails and sending out newsletters.
3. Combine email and Facebook
Use email to support your Facebook efforts by including a link to your Facebook page in the footer or header of all of your emails. Go one step further by specifically asking subscribers to visit your page, letting them know that it’s the best place to receive up-to-the-minute updates on holiday hours or other news.
The recent Facebook algorithm change doesn’t mean that you have to abandon Facebook altogether or that it can’t still be a useful way to promote a business. Just remember, your marketing strategy will always be stronger when you take an omnichannel approach. Which is just another way of saying, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Integrating your existing Facebook strategy with your email marketing will increase the impact of both channels.
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© 2018, Amber Humphrey. All rights reserved.