Social Media in Zimbabwe: Of Facebook Algorithms and Zimbabwean brands on Facebook

Social Media in Zimbabwe: Of Facebook Algorithms and Zimbabwean brands on Facebook

By Benjamin Juru

An expose on Social media marketing in Zimbabwe on how the recent changes in Facebook algorithms affects Zimbabwean brands adopting social and digital marketing. 

 

I have of late witnessed a lot of Zimbabwean brands jump onto the Facebook bandwagon and those who are a step ahead are seemingly promoting their pages via Facebook PPC and some fan engagement there in. This is good news, in fact great news to see local brands adopt social media and use it to reach out to their fans. Okay now that you’ve a Facebook page and are beginning to acquire fans, I want to share a few developments that you need to consider in managing your page as an admin.

 Content is King! 

I presented at the #GetSocial event where I shared on the subject content marketing. During my presentation I shared that content is still king and it’s undoubtedly the most important element within your social media strategy. As a basic rule, don’t go social unless you’ve a content strategy which articulates your content plan, where and what time you publish your content. I will in the next steps share why that content strategy is not only critical but mandatory as far as Facebook marketing going forward is concerned.

 The Facebook Algorithms

Facebook has over that past months being tweaking and tweaking it’s algorithms, which to the untrained eye, an algorithm is basically a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations by a computer. The first tweak announced in March was to drastically reduce organic reach, where basically content, which users would have previously engaged in would continue showing in their news feed e.g. if a Facebook user spends days or so without engaging i.e. comment, like or share your post then any new post you make will not show in their news feed. In the recent tweak Facebook remodeled it’s news feed on the premise “ to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important and relevant to them”.  What this basically means is that Facebook is of the opinion that it’s users only want to see and engage with content that adds value to them which most of the time is not necessarily brand related content. Further to that, Facebook wants to punish “like baiting” directly asking your fans to LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE your posts and also sharing frequently circulated content. You can read all about it here. Picture of news feed.

Benjamin Juru Facebook News Feed

The recent Facebook changes unfortunately spell doom for our local brands on Facebook as most of them are guilty of trying to get more followers by running cheap promotions, LIKE and WIN, a car, seriously! OMG! The first algorithm change means if fans are not engaging with your brand frequently chances are they will never see your posts in their news feed. If your content is not engaging enough, if its not likeable, shareable then Facebook will prioritize content from friends or other brands which they would’ve recently engaged in. The days of selling on Facebook are over, the days of sharing what others have already shared are over, the days of LIKE, LIKE, LIKE are over, the gloves are off, we can’t do that anymore. Facebook marketing now calls for content marketers, admins who have a unique understanding of their brands, their target audiences and use that information to creatively create content that is shareable, likable and “commentable” without necessarily being “salesy”. We need to create content that promotes our brands indirectly and almost selling unsuspectingly to our fans. Imagine a picture or video or text post that compels your fans to buy without directly asking someone to buy, that’s what I’m talking about! A good example is found here. In this it is important to note that all content must be tied to specific strategic outcomes, what exactly do you want to achieve through social media, what gets done gets measured! Going back, the potential ramifications of Facebook changes and tweaks are huge to marketers and we cannot afford to have our fans not engaging with us, we need to maintain a high organic reach. To achieve all this, it comes back your content strategy, Content is King ;-)

Content rules, you can run but you can’t hide, that’s the reality we are faced with. We should be glad as marketers because Facebook is pushing us towards Relationship Marketing, creating and enhancing relationships with your audience. If you’re Zimbabwean brand on Facebook the reality is that we need to change our mindsets, we need to develop content strategies for our brands, we can’t afford to have novices run our Facebook pages, we need individuals, agencies who have an intrinsic understanding of social media and content marketing and how these fit into the overall digital marketing strategy for your business. If you can get an internal resource get them trained and equipped to do the job and if you can’t hire a competent agency to do that for you.

Well it’s not all doom but as Team Zuckerberg put it in, you can still promote your posts get better reach but at a price. If your budget permits, Facebook is simply asking you to pay them more so you can reach more people and punishing those who are not spending.  To check the quality of your content on Facebook they are tools such as komfo that you can use to determine the nature of your existing content on Facebook.

 A few take outs from the above:

  • Facebook organic reach has declined and it will continue declining for your brand. However you can pay for better reach
  • Don’t ever ever type in LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE in your Facebook posts
  • Don’t you dare share “viral” content others have already shared
  • Don’t you dare share spammy links
  • You can’t afford to have anyone manage your page 

In conclusion I’m terribly passionate about Digital marketing and I’m convinced more than ever that now is the time if you’re marketer to equip yourself. If you’re business exec consider equipping your entire marketing team. The future of marketing is here and here to stay, shape up or ship out, you can run but you can’t hide.

 

I would be glad to get your comments and have a discussion.

 

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