A Pivot For 2019; Law Enforcement and Facebook Stories
Facebook Stories is an untapped resource for law enforcement social media managers wanting to gain more reach and engagement on their department's Facebook page.
Let's face it. Unless you have money to spend on advertising on Facebook, the organic reach has drastically declined since 2012. However, if you take advantage of the current state of Facebook, your department could crush it on the social media giant.
There are so many factors today which play a role in whether your post will be seen or not on Facebook. In recent years, we've learned that the more money marketing agencies and companies invest in Facebook ads, the greater their ability to beat your organic (free) post.
Every time you open and close the Facebook app, the algorithm recalculates what it wants to show you. A post which has been boosted or marketed with money behind it, that is being viewed by more and more users as the minutes go by, coupled with other factors, will cause that post to be shown in a user's news feed over your free post.
In addition to this, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerburg posted in January of 2018, that Facebook was going in a different direction, aimed at meeting its original purpose. Facebook's own research revealed people were tired of seeing advertisements after advertisements, and posts made by businesses was dominating the newsfeed. Facebook wanted people to use Facebook to keep connected with their friends and family, not so much to be bombarded with advertisements and posts from businesses.
Since law enforcement agencies create and use Facebook Pages just like businesses do, they're lumped into that category as well.
Facebook Stories Is The Key For Law Enforcement In 2019
With this being said, Facebook is witnessing explosive use by users of their Stories feature. In fact, the hard numbers don't lie; Over 300 MILLION people use the feature every day.
What's even more interesting is the business world and public safety content creators (that's you) are not using stories. We're still just pushing out the content as regular posts. Posts which are getting buried by posts from family and friends, and paid advertisers. Unless a user has selected to see your posts first in their newsfeed and turned on notifications, your posts are probably getting buried.
While writing this article, we noticed the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection had posted to their Facebook Stories, and their avatar (profile image or logo) remained at the top of our Facebook mobile feed for a few days. This grabbed our attention and also proved what Facebook was talking about, and what this article is all about.
How To Use Facebook Stories
*NOTE - We have found there can be differences in the features people have access to, based off of frequent changes made by Facebook, or the version of the app a person is using.
If you are wondering how to use Facebook stories, we'll make it simple for you.
To start, click on the blue + symbol on your own agency's avatar, and select "Create A Story."
Add your photo or video content, and click on next. You'll then have the options to add to your Page's Story, as well as add it to your news feed. It's a good idea to add it to both.
This is a little different, in that it lets you not only add video and photos, but you can create a text post as well. Once you're finished, you have the option of posting it to both stories and your news feed.
To start, click on the blue + icon over your logo, and compose a post. You'll have the option to place it in your Stories and your newsfeed. Again, we suggest you do both.
Have A Strategy Before You Begin.
What we don't want to see happen, and neither do your followers, is your agency over-doing it on Facebook Stories.
If you are pushing out a lot of content on your Facebook page, you might want to do highlight Story video in which you create a trailer video, telling your viewers to check this week's news feed for articles about, for example, the upcoming Coffee With A Cop, the outcome of a recent investigation, your recruitment efforts, and why there were so many police cars at the intersection of 123 Street and Main Avenue last week.
Believe it or not, the adage of less is more could definitely work to your advantage here. Not to get overly psychological here, but think about it; if your agency always is posting stories it believes is important, then when is something that is important, truly "important?"
So plan out your stories, start using them to pull traffic to your news feed, and watch your department's reach and engagement grow.