New contributor! DmytrÃ¸ Bilash is a long-time Epolitics.com reader based in Kyiv whom I got to meet in person on a trip to Ukraine last fall. He’s an entrepreneur focused on marketing technologies and the co-founder of Captain Growth, which applies AI to marketing analytics. His team’s most recent project is Product Hunt, an AI-driven recommendation engine (Beth Becker will love the logo…).
In this piece, be sure to note DmytrÃ¸’s emphasis on the personal over the page on Facebook, an approach Facebook marketers need to consider. For more on adapting to Facebook’s changes, see Facebook Changed the Algorithm Again. What Do We Do Now? and Making Sense of Social Media Advocacy in 2018.
The Power of the Personal: How Politics Should Work On Facebook in 2018
When you start thinking about innovations in politics, Facebook is likely first to appear in your mind. The social network has changed the way people spread ideas and the tools specialists can use to shape public opinion. As a participant of Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity in 2014, I saw Facebook’s impact during the revolution and war afterward. Hence, I have first-hand evidence on the crucial role of this social network.
The first appeal to Ukrainians to go to streets, which ignited the spark of revolution, was not made by famous politicians on TV. It was just a Facebook post from a Ukrainian journalist. Moreover, Facebook was the most important communication channel where people coordinated their plans and actions. In the U.S., people are familiar with Facebookâ€™s impact because of Obamaâ€™s and Trumpâ€™s campaigns.
Unfortunately, all lessons learned in the past are useless now. Facebook has changed its strategy, and as media specialists, we have to adjust our approaches or lose.
Letâ€™s figure out what has changed and how to conduct politics on Facebook in the new reality.
People use Facebook but hate it. Mark Zuckerberg is struggling to change it.
Let’s be honest. Public opinion becomes more critical about Facebook. The miracle built by a charming student to connect the whole world became the monstrous machine that could manipulate humansâ€™ minds.
More than 2 billion customers spend much time on Facebook today, but using is more and more often recognized as a bad habit, an abuse such as cigarettes or drugs. Facebookâ€™s bosses understand that such perception of their product will drive the company to the grave in a long-term perspective. That is why they are changing Facebook drastically now. You can read Markâ€™s post to realize a big picture.
Letâ€™s highlight the most important points.
The Facebook team understands that the social network is used as a weapon by terrorists and aggressive states like Russia to make world unsustainable and divided.
The biggest social network in the world is fighting a deadly battle with fake news and bots. In order to decrease such destructive impact, Facebook made several steps:
- They deprioritized public pages and increased the value of your close circle of people. As a result, customers see less posts from media and brands but more from their friends and family.
- More than 14,000 operators and powerful AI algorithm are working on preventing the sharing of fake news and hate speech.
- Facebook changed the news feed algorithm to get rid of suspicious news sources. In result, unreliable websites are going to lose social media reach almost completely. Instead, the algorithm favors trustworthy media as Wall Street Journal or New York Times.
The primary goal for Facebook is to reshape user experience. Now, people use the social network mostly passively â€” by scrolling the news feed, they consume funny videos, meaningless posts and fake news. Facebook wants people to interact: talk to each other, be closer with family, discuss true news and build strong communities. All changes focus on these objectives and try to increase user engagement.
How should you change your Facebook marketing strategy to be effective now?
1. Donâ€™t focus on the public page. Develop your personal Facebook.
If you are one of a public page’s owners, probably you have seen a nosediving of organic reach. Several years earlier, communication specialists considered Facebook page as an “owned” media. They invested in it and got sustainable free reach for every post, depending on amount of page likes.
It doesn’t make sense to invest time and money in collecting followers on a public page. Instead, develop the personal pages of managers and owners, since Facebook favors human-to-human interactions. Click To Tweet
This strategy doesnâ€™t work anymore. Now, fewer than 2-3% of your followers will see a post unless you pay to promote it. It doesn’t make sense to invest time and money in collecting followers on a public page. Instead, develop the personal pages of managers and owners, since Facebook favors human-to-human interactions. So if you publish high quality content on your personal profile page and keep in touch with followers, you will get much wider reach.
2. Want to get huge reach, and fast? Pay…but analyze.
The time when Facebook was a cheap and effective communications channel has passed. Now it is not so affordable, though still effective. In the current environment, if you want to share your message fast among a lot of people, you should advertise. Since advertisers on Facebook compete for customersâ€™ attention, you have to analyze ad campaigns and improve them.
Considering the tremendous amount of data Facebook marketing can generate, high quality analysis is a complicated task even for professional Facebook analysts. However, you can use some tools that are able to automate analytics. For instance, our company is developing Captain Growth, an AI solution that finds bottlenecks and growth opportunities in your Facebook marketing data automatically. Itâ€™s affordable, easy to use for everyone and able to save more than 50% of ad budget. [Ed. note: see also the large-scale automation of Facebook best practices pioneered in the political sphere by Brad Parscale and the Trump campaign]
3. Develop Facebook groups.
Facebook stated an aim to focus on building strong communities, and Facebook groups are the key form of such communities inside the social network. Obviously, you will see more posts from such groups than before. Now it is probably the best communication channel to develop. If you donâ€™t have such a group, do and found it right now! Let your supporters talk to each other and become a really strong community. Itâ€™s also important for politics, not only for Facebook marketing.
Considering all issues, Facebook is still the most effective communication channel for politicians. According to official reports, the social network has more than 2.2 billion active users monthly and all these people can take a part in the political process. The only thing you should do is to find the right tactics for pushing your ideas in accordance with existing rules of Facebookâ€™s game.