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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Trust in Facebook is at an all-time low: Here’s how media companies can use that to their advantage

August 5, 2019 | By Jesse Moeinifar, Founder & CEO—Viafoura @JesseMoeinifar

Facebook is addictive — for both consumers and advertisers. With over 1.5 billion users accessing Facebook on a daily basis, the social media giant has become a major source of advertising for brands worldwide. However, little by little, the community standards of Facebook have been dropping — and people are noticing. 

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook leaked data from millions of people to a company that used it to promote political ads, was only the beginning of the platform’s trust fall. Netflix’s documentary, The Great Hack, offers an in-depth view into the scandal.

The social media giant’s sudden and strict algorithm changes have also affected businesses in a negative way. These changes drastically reduced the reach of Facebook posts from publishers, which dropped to as little as two percent of followers.

Even as Facebook races to protect its users, their moderation solution still leaves a lot to be desired. And let’s not forget that one of Facebook’s co-founders penned an article about everything wrong with the company

Tips to capitalize on Facebook’s trust deficit

To help your brand use this mistrust between Facebook and its users as an opportunity to gain loyal community members, we put together a few of our top tips.

Invest in your own platform

With trust in Facebook at such a marked low, there’s never been a better time to start building your brand’s reputation as a trusted media source… on your own domains.

Sure, Facebook can be used to promote content and events —  but only to an extent. You don’t want to be stuck relying entirely on a platform that decides how to promote your content without your input. Thankfully, you have other options. Better options.

Instead of struggling to build your brand on Facebook, invest in tools and strategies that bring engagement back to your domains. You don’t need to stop using Facebook completely. But you also don’t need to give a portion of your revenue away to a platform that doesn’t give you enough exposure for your content. After all, Facebook prioritizes posts from family and friends over posts from advertisers.

If you can invest in building a safe and engaging environment on your own domains, individuals will no longer associate your content or brand with the abundance of misinformation on Facebook.

Infographic: Americans Do Not Trust Facebook with Personal Info | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista
Give the people what they want

Have you ever wondered what it is about Facebook that seems so attractive to users? 

People are social creatures. Consumers continue to use Facebook despite our trust issues with the platform simply because we crave socialization and engagement. In fact, an analysis of the media industry shows that engagement is key to building loyal brand followers

A Salesforce report also found that “84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.”

Facebook, along with other social media platforms, offers many opportunities for users to engage with one another as well as with publishers and their content. However, attaching this immersive social experience to a brand is no longer exclusive to social media platforms. 

Consider integrating tools directly on your platform that allow your users to discuss your content, chat with one another, follow their favorite authors and receive content-related notifications based on their preferences. 

By generating engagement on your domains, your visitors will want to stick around and subscribe. 

Nurture safe conversations, not toxic comments

Many media professionals find commenting counterproductive to a brand’s development — especially with the rise of trolls, harassment, bullying, misinformation and spam in the digital world. At the end of the day, it’s probably more effective to avoid commenting altogether, right? 

Wrong. 

To foster a good relationship with your digital community away from social media, you need to craft a solid set of community guidelines and enforce them. According to a new study by the Center for Media Engagement, individuals are more likely to have a negative impression of a domain when 75% of its comments are uncivil.

While it is important to engage your visitors in a social experience, they will only enjoy the experience in a non-toxic environment. This means that on top of providing a social layer for your community, it is essential to thoroughly moderate comments and keep user data secure. 

Enforcing a safe environment will help your community members feel comfortable engaging in, and returning to, your domains. 

Produce targeted, reliable content

In the digital age, knowledge is always power. Capturing data on your own domain is, therefore, crucial to your success. More specifically, you can leverage data insights from your community to inform your content strategy. By understanding your community members’ interests as you learn about and track their behavior, you can predict what types of content will perform best.

If you create valuable content that maintains a consistent tone and is highly relevant to your readers, they will view your brand as a reputable source for trusted media. 

While Facebook can target content based on people’s interests on its platform, your posts are hidden behind the noise of fake news and algorithms in a potentially unpleasant environment. 

Publishers are also beginning to realize that success in the media is no longer just about directing visitors to your domains — it’s also about keeping them. For too long, publishers and consumers have flocked to Facebook in search of content and community. Unfortunately, both have become problematic on the platform. So, the time is right to create a protected social space around quality content and reclaim your community.

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