While organic Facebook reach is declining, as a marketer, you still need to be actively engaged on the platform.
The best way is to understand what kind of Facebook content ranks best for shares and engagement. Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo has crunched the numbers to get you this information.
Due to its global reach and mobile penetration, Facebook continues to be a key marketing platform for both B2C and B2B marketers.
2017 Facebook Content: BuzzSumo Viral Posts
Examine this for clues to what went viral on Facebook in 2017. While this is useful for a media entity, it doesn’t translate into quality results for many B2C and B2B marketers.
Wharton Professor Jonah Berger detailed the elements of what makes something go viral in his book Contagious finding that it doesn’t always yield quality results for marketers.
Top Shared 2017 Facebook Content
To understand the type of content and communications that resonate best let’s examine BuzzSumo’s Top Shared 2017 Facebook Content categories:
- Music videos remain a significant part of teen and twenty-something life. Facebook provides musicians with a global audience and their fans with new ways to discover new sounds that cross languages and borders.
- Breaking news is delivered via social media for 2/3s of Americans according to Pew Internet.
- Quizzes continue to attract attention but they receive less engagement and no links. Translation: Quizzes are viable short-term content but don’t gain traction over time.
- Travel and adventure offer options to dream about and plan.
- Heartwarming stories pull at users’ emotions. They’re the way we learn.
- Studies and research reveal verified information for an audience that’s trust-depleted.
- Cute animals remain entertaining regardless of whether you own pets or not. Larry Kay who runs Positively Woof, a Facebook group with over 2 million followers, understands the emotional power of dogs.
- Tribal politics needs no explanation.
- Stunning images attract attention.
- Supportive content lifts us up when we’re feeling down. While we post our best selves on social media, we turn to our family and friends to know we’re not alone.
- Practical advice and health content make life easier. Especially in a world where we can be miles from our families, we need support to know how to do basic stuff. (My husband still is puzzled by my lack of house cleaning skills!)
- Opinion posts enable everyone to use their megaphone to make a point.
- Secrets of love and life remain content we secretly crave.
Actionable Facebook Marketing Tips:
Here are 5 Facebook Marketing tips based on BuzzSumo’s categories:
- Tap into the personal stories of your customers, employees and audience. They make your company relatable.
- Always use an image that gets people to stop and look.
- Figure out a human side of your latest research to attract attention on this social media platform.
- Condense your content into practical hacks and tips. The more useable the better a broad audience likes them.
- Think like the editor of a supermarket tabloid to tap into our guilty cravings for information on love and life.
Bonus: If you’re at a total loss for ideas, go with cute animals and pets!
What Top 2017 Facebook Content Means For Your Marketing
Based on BuzzSumo’s 2017 Facebook Content research, here are my 5 tips to help you improve your marketing for next year.
1. Know your audience
More than just creating a marketing persona, really get to know who your target audience is and why they visit Facebook. Take the time to ask them and talk to your sales and customer service team. Find out what’s on their mind.
Interact with the people who visit your Facebook pages or other Facebook groups you belong to.
Don’t forget to look at your competitors’ Facebook pages to see what’s resonating with their visitors.
2. Be present on Facebook (and other social media platforms)
Social media isn’t another entity to just promote your latest content or sale.
At its core, social media is about being human. It’s not a race to collect followers or to show off how wonderful you are.
Rather it’s about interacting with people who, like you, have their busy lives but want a break to check up on family and friends or to escape from their current situation.
Before you wish for a viral post, check what happened to my friend Mark Schaefer when his post about how many people use LinkedIn requests as a form of spam cold calling went viral.
In addition to consuming hours of his time, it brought out the ugly underbelly of social media. It’s not something you want to happen to you. I’ve experienced this and it hurts even when you know that you didn’t do anything to these people.
For many businesses this means allowing your employees to engage on your page or their personal pages to promote your brand. If this is the case make sure you have a set of social media guidelines in place.
BTW—You can meet Schaefer at Social Media Marketing World!
3. Create content that resonates with Facebook audiences
Use this list of top 2017 Facebook Content to guide your Facebook content and communications going forward.
This doesn’t mean creating off-brand content but rather finding those stories and how-to information that resonate with Facebook’s users. Stone Temple’s Mark Traphagen calls this “social media intent”. Your communications must be aligned with your audience’s reasons to be on Facebook.
For example, in 2017, the New York Times made the 2017 Facebook Content list for a human interest article about a couple with the names of two of the biggest hurricanes, not for their high quality journalism.
4. Use video, video, video on Facebook
Video isn’t a flash-in-the-pan trend. It’s real.
Leading Facebook expert Mari Smith advice is to create “thumb-stopping” video content:
“Facebook is absolutely giving video content—including Facebook Live—high priority visibility in the News Feed. Facebook is on a mission to establish itself as a leading digital streaming television-style platform, essentially competing with YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more.”
To succeed you need a mix of video content. It’s not just Smith who’s keen on video.
- Social Media Examiner’s Mike Stelzner is producing videos to give his audience a view into the behind-the-scenes of his business.
- Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn announced that he’s renewing his YouTube focus to extend his reach.
While many marketers view video as expensive, start taking your first steps or be left behind. If you’re a video newbie, check out Amy Schmittauer’s Vlog Like A Boss. (I’m re-reading it to get my video going in 2018!)
At a minimum, transform your content into video format for the topics that are clear winners on Facebook.
BTW—You can meet Smith, Stelzner, Flynn and Schmittauer at Social Media Marketing World! Even better, there’s a creator track.
5. Keep testing to see what resonates with your audience
As with any marketing approach, the key to success is continually testing new approaches and adapting those that work.
For example, quizzes (and other forms of interactive content) have been hot among content marketers. As shown in the Top 2017 Facebook Content, they drive activity but don’t necessarily translate to long-term results.
Ideally, you want to build a community that continues to thrive and takes its Facebook engagement to other platforms including email or other owned options.
Top 2017 Facebook Content Conclusion
Start by understanding what works best on Facebook and why your specific audience turns to Facebook.
Bear in mind that what users seek from Facebook isn’t always the same as what they share on Facebook. Often we’re careful to curate our social media selves to be be that idealized self we hope to be.
Remember that there are real people at the other end of your social media content and communications.
Your audience turns to Facebook to be entertained and feel connected—Not to be sold to!
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