By: Elizabeth Coffey, Marketing G2 Digital Marketing Specialist
Last year, Facebook ran an experiment that had a lot of publishers shaking in their boots. “Explore,” the name of a secondary Facebook feed that removed publisher posts from the main newsfeed in several countries (Slovakia, Serbia, and Sri Lanka), caused publishers in those countries to see their engagement drop significantly and sharply.
Now, Facebook has decided to deprioritize publisher posts and videos in favor of posts from friends and family in the newsfeed as a reaction to all the scrutiny its been under from the government and media alike for the propagation of “fake news” and propaganda from foreign powers.
So what can you do now that Facebook seems to have broken up with news and the publishing industry as a whole? Use the tactics and strategies below to protect your publication from the Facebook fallout.
- Diversify your communication channels – It’s good advice to not invest everything you have into one communication strategy. Push notifications, e-mail, and messaging services are a great way to circumvent platforms and get in touch with your audience directly. In the newsfeed you’re just another publisher shouting into the void (if you show up at all with the new algorithm changes). By getting your community to opt into messages with you, you’ll stand out from the crowd, but it’s important that these communications add value to your reader’s lives and serve your overall community. Your audience won’t give you their e-mail addresses and phone numbers without something of value in return.
- Encourage social sharing – Use engaging photos and catchy headlines while avoiding clickbait language. Get your journalists onboard with sharing your publication’s articles on their feed whether the story is written by them or not. Tell your audience to share and comment on your posts but do so sparingly to avoid nagging your readers and being flagged by Facebook.
- Make use of Facebook Groups – Facebook Groups are a great way to cultivate a community of highly engaged users around your brand. Rolled out in June of 2017, Facebook has been promoting “Groups for Pages” ever since. You may even want to start different groups for different segments of your audience.
- Come together to collaborate and innovate – Don’t wait for the next big thing to come along and disrupt your business. Join forces with other publishers to make use of your collective audience before someone else builds a distribution platform that doesn’t have publishers' best interests in mind.
- Diversify your revenue streams – The algorithmic changes that Facebook is in the process of making to its newsfeed are likely to have a direct impact on those publishers who have smaller audiences and rely on CPC or CPM ads for their revenue. To combat this, it’s important that publishers look beyond advertising for more revenue. The membership and subscription-based business models have provided sustainable revenue streams to many publishers and have insulated them against seismic changes and forces within the market.
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