Marketers are starting to realize that optimizing brand content for engagement is the root of success in the social space, not increasing the number of ‘Likes,’ subscribers or followers.
Facebook came to this realization long ago and has pushed marketers to focus on engagement. Under criticism from marketers, Facebook tweaked its EdgeRank algorithm to reduce spam and bring the most engaging content to the top. Marketers took issue when they saw the organic reach of their posts decline.
Instead of putting the blame on Facebook, marketers should first look in the mirror and evaluate their own content and determine the reason why if their content isn’t making the cut.
Organic reach is the direct result of content effectiveness. EdgeRank evaluates whether or not someone or their friends have previously interacted with a piece of brand content. It evaluates how much a piece of brand content has been interacted with, if it’s received complaints (e.g., marked as spam) and the type of content (photos, videos, text, etc.). In short, it determines the value a piece of content will have at the individual level.
A Like is an Opportunity
Facebook uses EdgeRank to deliver the stickiest experience possible for its users. Marketers should view their content the same way—something that compels users to keep on coming back, interacting and sharing. That’s true for Facebook and really any other social platform.
This shifts the conversation around social media success from being less about how many ‘likes’ a brand page has and more about the level of engagement. A ‘like’ is meaningless unless you’re reaching the individual that ‘like’ represents. Someone taking the action of ‘liking’ a brand page does not represent an opt-in. It represents the opportunity for a brand to deliver on engagement. In turn, the brand will unlock the opportunity to reach more individuals. It’s up to marketers to turn the opportunity into an action.
A ‘like’ is a means, not an end.
Engagement is Earned
Social networks were built on person-to-person communication with conversations at the root. They are not another channel to spam customers, which means brands need to determine the value they’re delivering to that conversation. In a space in which a brand isn’t only competing for attention with other businesses but also friends, families, media and groups, that’s a tall order.
Live in your content analytics. Evaluate what is working and what isn’t then adjust as necessary. Also, give your content more of a chance to stand out by encouraging engagement via calls to action to ‘like’, share, etc., balance types of content (photos, videos, polls, etc.) and use paid opportunities like Promoted Posts to bring your best content to the top to reengage people who you may have lost.
‘Likes’ are not the end. They represent a brand’s opportunity for engagement. If you have the ‘likes,’ you’re only half way there.