Don’t Base Outreach Strategy on Algorithms

A few minutes ago, I just received a phone call that began with “Hi, this is an important phone call” – CLICK. That’s all I needed to hear. If something was truly important, they should have used a real person instead of an automated system. And they should not have used a generic greeting that just sounded like spam. Just because they said it was important didn’t mean it meant anything at all to me.

For the past two weeks, speculation about Facebook’s new algorithm has been concerning folks who work in marketing. The new rollout will supposedly decrease visibility from brand pages (who only get 4-8% of their content seen now) and prioritize engaging content from family and friends instead. It makes sense: engagement on Facebook has been on the decline and this forces brands to pay up, to hit that boost button and sponsor their content.

Old tricks are also going to be punished. Telling people to “SHARE” and “LIKE” something (aka “engagement baiting”) will hurt visibility in the feed. Good. Marketers ruin everything anyway (at least bad marketers do). Some people are going to emphasize groups or video instead (since video was hot at the end of 2017) but that isn’t going to work either.

So what will? Engagement and value. Same as it always has been. It’s never been about the channel (look what happened to Myspace) or delivery tactics (such as trying to optimize the time). It’s been about producing content that your target audience cares enough about it engage with. That’s it – otherwise, you end up being the social media equivalent of a spam call on a Friday night.

The boost button is an easy way to help Facebook’s bottom line. It’s for lazy marketers who don’t want to create sophisticated, targeted ad campaigns based on psychographics in their platform or who don’t take time to deliver content that their audience wants in the way that they want it.

Case in point: one of the channels I manage has about half a million Facebook followers on it. I have never boosted a post or begged for people to share content. There are caption contests or voting to be had. Yet I get 18,000 engagements per week.

How? By respecting followers enough to give them what they want without any tricks. That’s real community, that’s social media.

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