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06 October 2016, 11:18

Keeping up with the News Feed

In the ten years since its launch, Facebook’s News Feed has done some pretty spectacular things. It has gone from a platform for writing statuses and seeing who’s friends with whom (which users originally hated, by the way), to an invaluable marketing tool through which we can target users with full-screen interactive ads, post 360-degree photos and videos, and control the organic reach of our branded content. 

Now, we all know that the ways people consume ideas and information are constantly changing – and that keeping up is like trying to tame a whirlwind. Well, this is where the News Feed has been integral. Facebook has introduced update after update to help us marketers tell our stories and engage users within the platform. These updates are always in line with the newest technologies, trends and ideas that users are interested in.

Telling your brand story through the News Feed
Look at 360 Photos, for example: marketers can now post 360-degree photos and videos onto Facebook, which their users can explore using a virtual reality (VR) headset, or simply by tilting their phones to get a similar effect. How amazing is that? Rather than directly selling a product or service, marketers can use the tool as part of building up an intriguing brand narrative to captivate their users. The timing couldn’t be better – just three months after 360 Photos was released, the Oculus Rift was released for general sale in the UK.

Facebook also knows that its users love interactive content. We can’t help ourselves: if we see a snapshot of a storyline that interests us, we want to see the rest of it – whether it’s a video, an ad or an article. That’s why updates like Facebook Canvas have come about. Instead of targeting users with static banner ads, marketers can create exciting, interactive, full-screen ads for users on mobile devices. The ad is posted as part of a status (with a strong image) and, if the user decides to view it, they can swipe through it to learn more.

Becoming a champion of the News Feed
Achieving a good organic reach on Facebook is tricky, but it can be done. Here are a few tips to help you reach your target audience:

1. Use a variety of content types
Everybody engages with different types of content. Facebook tailors users’ News Feeds by the format of content they typically engage with, so it’s best to create a variety of content types.

2. Get creative with how you post content
We marketers are told to produce great content, and lots of it. If you want to get all this content seen, then you should use a variety of sources to post it (such as external sites, LinkedIn Publisher or your employees’ accounts). Facebook likes to offer its users content from a variety of publishers, so it’s no good posting 10 pieces a day from the same account.

3. Produce the content that your users want 
With tools like Instant Articles, Facebook looks at how long users spend on particular posts, and boosts their organic reach based on that. So, as well as making your article or video look intriguing and relevant in the News Feed, you need to deliver great content for when users click through. If they stick around to read or watch the whole thing, then your reach will fly!

4. Give successful content a boost
Facebook cares more about engagement levels than how recent a piece of content is. If you notice that one of your posts is generating great engagement, then give it a boost (by clicking ‘Boost Post’). You never know, that extra visibility could just clinch the deal.

The News Feed is constantly changing, but it is doing so in line with users’ demands. By making the most of Facebook’s tools, and understanding the algorithms, marketers can create innovative campaigns with great results. At pslondon, we’re experts in keeping up with the latest updates in social media. See how we’ve helped our clients expand their organic reach and grow their business.

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