Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 27 2015

Facebook Is Changing, And It Will Impact Your Meeting Marketing Plan

By David McMillin

Get ready: the traffic on your meeting’s official Facebook page is likely to slow down.

Max Eulenstein, Product Manager at Facebook, and Lauren Scissors, User Experience Researcher at Facebook, offered a glimpse into how the Silicon Valley social media giant is reshaping the way fans and friends see and interact with material while logged into their accounts. If your meeting marketing budget currently counts on Facebook to build online momentum and spread the message about registration, education and attendance, you may not be thrilled with the changes.

SEE ALSO: 4 Reasons Why Meetings Fail At Social Media

Understanding The Changes

First, Facebook plans to adjust its algorithm to make a user’s friends posts rank higher in the news feed than posts from brands and business pages.

“The second update tries to ensure that content posted directly by the friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links, will be higher up in news feed so you are less likely to miss it,” Eulenstein and Scissors wrote.

Translation: if a fan of your meeting has 2,000 friends who are posting about having babies, getting new jobs, going out to dinner and every other piece of their lives, many of those posts will take priority over your image of the host hotel with a reminder about an early bird registration deadline.

Another new piece of Facebook’s news feed will make users see fewer secondhand posts about what their friends have liked. For example, if an IT engineer who is a fan of an organization that unites tech experts each year likes an image of the keynote speaker, his IT engineer colleagues used to see this activity. This helped expand the reach of any organization. Now, that activity will be moved to the bottom of the news feed or hidden altogether.

SEE ALSO: Why Your Attendees Aren’t Connecting With You On Social Media

Understanding Their Impact On Your Meeting

So why does all this matter? More than likely, it’s going to be more difficult to connect with your community.

“In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline,” Eulenstein and Scissors wrote.

That potential seems to be very high. While your meeting marketing team may already be frustrated by low open rates on emails to prospective attendees, they may start to see some serious declines in the engagement and reach of the posts on your meeting’s Facebook page.

If they do, though, the news in the news feed isn’t all bad. By making adjustments to content that will make it more authentic and user-friendly, your meeting marketing team can continue to connect with your existing community.

“We have been teaching our clients not to be overly promotional on Facebook, or any other social platform for years,” Zach Welch, VP of Client Services at social media agency BrandGlue,  told MarketingLand in November. “This really is just a good reminder to focus on content. Be useful, knowledgeable and trustworthy with your content and you will on social — regardless of how algorithms are shifted.”

Looking for some advice on how to connect with your meeting’s audience in the social sphere? Check out “4 Tips For Talking To Your Attendees On Facebook And Twitter.”

I’m curious how many organizations are counting on Facebook for their marketing plans. Are you investing in advertising? What’s your social editorial calendar look like? Go to Catalyst to share your thoughts or email me directly at dmcmillin@pcma.org

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