Overview
When Facebook made its latest algorithm changes in early 2018, Kendal at Oberlin needed to shift quickly to keep their organic reach in positive numbers. See how Marketing Essentials put a strategy in place that not only kept the Kendal at Oberlin brand top of mind for their current audience, but also captured a new following.
202%
increase in article reach
75
Clicks on 1 post
1,000+
Average reach per week
Background
Kendal at Oberlin is a vibrant and active continuing care retirement community located in Oberlin, Ohio. A non-profit organization and founded on Quaker values, Kendal on Oberlin offers older people a diverse and caring community. The community encourages individual lifestyles by promoting independence, continued learning, civic involvement with the broader community, social relationships and excellence in healthcare.
The Challenge
On Jan. 11, 2018, Facebook announced news feed changes that would drastically impact organic reach. Posts with high engagement (comments and shares) would show first on the audience’s newsfeed with low engagement posts pushed to the bottom. Posts that share external links, such as those to a blog article or company website, would also drop to the bottom of their newsfeed. As a thought leader, a large part of Kendal at Oberlin's social media strategy consisted of sharing links to their very popular blog and other valuable resources for seniors. The algorithm change meant the strategy had to adjust quickly or Kendal at Oberlin could face losing the audience and brand it had built on social media.
Our Strategy
  • Microblogs
  • H2H Social Posting

Having heard chatter of an upcoming Facebook algorithm change through industry forums and online publications, our team at Marketing Essentials already had been researching to fully understand what the change would mean, how it would affect our client’s Facebook channels and strategies we could put in place. It was even the hot topic for our digital channel specialists who attended Social Media Marketing World in California.

Our solution for Kendal at Oberlin involved a new concept in blogging and social posting that would maintain their status as a thought leader, while still engaging their current audience.

  • Microblogs. We recommended Kendal at Oberlin begin posting microblogs, or mini blogs, on Facebook instead of using Facebook to promote the blog article on the Kendal website (essentially, not adding an external link that drives people to your website as Facebook wants to keep its audience on its channel). Tactically, this meant their author simply needed to condense the blog article into a microblog to be posted in full on Facebook. These microblogs could have an image or video or just the content itself. We recommended they begin doing this on LinkedIn as well. While this would lower traffic from social to their website, it would maintain their presence as a thought leader and even grow reach and engagement on their social channels.

 

  • H2H or ‘Human-to-Human’ Posts. To maintain current audience engagement and capture more meaningful conversations, we recommended Kendal at Oberlin ‘start the conversation’ with more engaging pictures and videos. They have a vibrant and active community where residents are always engaging in events and social activities. These kinds of images and videos naturally create likes, loves and comments on Facebook.

 

Going into these new posts, it took some trial and error. We tried the microblogs with and without images/videos to see which would perform better, and we added a few external links here and there to drive traffic back to their website. We watched the metrics and adjusted the strategy as needed.

 

Our Results

From the moment Facebook announced it would implement new algorithm changes, we saw dips in post engagement numbers. Kendal on Oberlin’s average reach for posts promoting a blog article on its website was around 190 with some likes and a few comments or shares.

The first set of microblogs posted more than doubled those numbers. One posted about an event held at Kendal at Oberlin tied together the human-to-human element with the brand’s reputation for being a leader.

The results:

People Reached: 575
16 likes | 1 Love | 4 shares
43 post clicks

Martin Luther King Facebook post performance for Kendal at Oberlin

Another microblog on the importance of intergenerational programming for seniors also did exceptionally well. It was educational and included a photo of two of the organization’s summer interns.

The results:

People Reached: 426
16 likes | 3 Love | 2 shares
75 post clicks

intergenerational micro blog example

Big Picture Results

2017 Average people reached per week was 550. In 2018, average people reached per week (first 6 months) was 1,000+

On average in the first half of 2018, Facebook engagements for the week are 1,000 or more. Whereas in 2017, the average engagement was 550 per week. Also, comparing to last year’s posts, there are more comments and shares on microblog posts compared to posts with an external link. In turn, with the higher post engagement, high number of people reached and more page likes, there is a higher chance — and proof — that Kendal at Oberlin is showing up in news feeds as it conformed to the Facebook algorithm change.