Wrangling Facebook content marketing

Facebook has incredibly high penetration across most parts of Asia, so wrestling with this beast is a fact of life for digital marketers. But their dominant market position also means they don’t always have to listen to you, as any marketer who has opened a customer service ticket with them will know.

Here are some common questions about working with Facebook, and how you can make them work for you.

Understand how Facebook works. This is a massive platform that is tweaked daily, with reams of data in their Insights module that tells you everything you need to know about how your fans interact with your page. Engagement is measured not just by social actions (Likes, Comments, Shares) but by how long they view your post, how long it takes them away from Facebook, and so on.  Video engagement is measured arbitrarily, learn how Facebook defines it. Learn how to interpret the data, and you will have answers to all the common questions you as a marketer need to ask, such as Who is my audience? When is the best time to reach them? What kind of content do they like/dislike? Where are they located?

Accept that you have to pay for exposure. Marketers often forget that Facebook doesn’t work for you. They are not here to help you sell, they are here to benefit from the eyeballs that the Facebook experience delivers, so they can sell ads. For brands, Facebook offers a variety of advertising tools that increase your reach, but at the end of the day, if your content is uninspiring or overly self-serving, no amount of post boosting is going to help you. Therefore…

There’s only one best way to increase Reach. Make better content. It’s that simple. Sometimes I tell people our agency is not really a social agency, we are a content publisher. Want better SEO? Create better content. Want more eyeballs on Facebook? Create compelling content. Want more engagement? Create content that consumers want to share. Hire people that understand how to deliver clickworthy (not clickbait) content. Hire ex-journalists that know how to tell a story. Forget about gaming Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm, instead focus on making content that your audience wants to share, like and comment on. Reach and engagement will take care of themselves. (Mostly, but you still got to pay for advertising, unfortunately, because they have to keep NASDAQ:FB up there!)


Photo credit: Brian Taylor for AdWeek

Five Ways to Make WeChat Work for YOU

WeChat is big. With over 400 million monthly active users, it’s a juggernaut that’s crushing all other social apps in China (at least until the next big shiny thing comes along).

Marketers are already devising creative ways to build on what started out as a messaging app, but is now a platform that encompassing gaming, e-commerce, post-sales service, brand communication, universal ID, and who knows what next.

How do you make the most of it?

Let’s start with the basics: five tips to remember.

Be compelling. WeChat is not Weibo, it’s even more of an interactive, two-way conversation and that’s what your friends expect, or they will drop you very quickly. To attract and keep them, you have to sustain their interest with compelling, relevant content. You must make it their loss if they unfollow you. Your friends cannot tell how popular you are, unlike Weibo, so their only reason to follow you is your content stream, past and future. Earn their trust and don’t lose it. Compelling content means useful, multi-channel, and personal. Don’t be afraid to go long if you have to, in fact it’s appreciated when done right.

Be informed. WeChat changes all the time. New services are constantly being added, new rules installed. For example, recently Tencent announced that personal accounts now have a limit of 5000 friends. If you have already have more, your Moments will only be seen by a random subset of your friends. Rules change all the time. Service accounts used to be allowed to post once a month, now it’s once a week. Make sure you are always up to speed.

Be creative. Tencent wants you to succeed. Why? Because the more ways marketers can find to use WeChat, the longer they’ll stay with the platform. So with every new feature, such as WeChat Login or additions to the API, don’t be afraid to push the envelope. I’m firmly convinced that the ultimate WeChat marketing case study is yet to appear.

Be careful. China is no slacker when it comes to enforcing against what it considers unsavory content on the Internet. This means you can push the envelope, but stay away from content that even remotely touches politics, or any other topic that the government considers sensitive. I know, it’s a moving target, but nobody said it would be easy.

Be trustworthy. Tencent wants WeChat to avoid the fate of Weibo and similar platforms that have lost their momentum, so they work hard to clamp down on over-aggressive marketing tactics, unscrupulous actions, and misleading claims. They also routinely sweep their user base for fake accounts, which can account for those sudden drops in friend numbers within a day. Help WeChat help you.