Facebook changes – don’t panic

Last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement that they’re changing the way the feed works and it threw the business world into a spin. Priority in the feed will be given to meaningful social interactions between people, rather than content from businesses, brands and publishers.

Firstly, this isn’t anything new. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the organic reach of posts from our Business Pages get lower and lower. As a result, we can’t rely on people seeing our content for free, and we’ve started spending on boosting our content to get it back into the feed.

However, we’ve also seen the rise of Fake News, and suddenly a lot of meaningless posts such as funny memes and cat videos taking over the feed too. Basically, the way the algorithm was working is that content from pages can go viral, if its shocking or get’s lots of reactions. It doesn’t necessarily have to be true or meaningful.

The move is mostly directed at publishers, not small business. Publishers are in the business of charging advertisers, not paying Facebook for placement. So, in an effort to be seen, they’ve started churning out content purely designed to get clicks and elicit reactions, therefore pushing them up the feed. Fake News, your days are numbered.

For small businesses, or rather anyone with a business objective on Facebook, my advice is simply: Don’t panic. Change is inevitable, and if we want Facebook to remain at the top of it’s game for attracting the most amount of users of any social network, we need to roll with the changes and look at it as an opportunity.

Facebook will always take your money. They have shareholders, and therefore an obligation to make money from advertisers, like small business. So I think it’s highly unlikely that business content will disappear from the feed entirely, although it may cost you more to get there, if the feed is full of happy and engaged people, it will be worth the cost.

Facebook has always been the most cost effective advertising platform. After running hundreds of advertising campaigns it is still quite easy to reach 1000 people for $5 and to generate clicks through to my clients websites for around $1 each.

For the last few years, we’ve been focused on content, content, content. Businesses are now producing so much content, it’s impossible to consume it all. We need to take a breath, and have a think about how we can create content for Facebook that generates meaningful social interactions between people.

I’ve got clients who are still posting four times a day on their Facebook page, in an effort to generate as much organic (unpaid) views as possible. The question I ask them is always, “how much is your time worth?” You’d be better off spending your time coming up with one meaningful post per week, and putting some money behind it so it’s actually seen.

Last year, Facebook rolled out the Explore Feed… a whole newsfeed dedicated to content from Business Pages, and Pages that may interest you that you are not already following. So already, there is a new home for your posts to go. I also believe Facebook will never eliminant page posts from the main feed altogether.

We’re also seeing more Facebook Groups run by businesses appearing. These groups are much more community focused and a great way to engage customers to become advocates for your brand. Organic reach on Group content is still really high and I don’t think we’re going to see changes to that anytime soon.

In response to the big announcement, I’m recommending two strategies for my clients in 2018:

Firstly, think about HOW you are going to drive customers to your actual Facebook Page to consume your content. It might be to find photos taken at your business or event. Or perhaps to find your location and opening hours. It may be to get more information on your product or services. Or to read testimonials and reviews from other customers, before they buy. Just remember that now more than ever (just like Google) people will type your business name into Facebook Search to find you.

Secondly, something we should always keep in mind: DIVERSIFY. Nothing is guaranteed in the fast moving digital world, so don’t put all your eggs into the one basket. Build your email list and keep it healthy through regular communication. Spend more time with your Instagram and Twitter accounts and work out how you can better leverage them for your business. Don’t be afraid to change your strategy at a moments notice, when it comes to Facebook, you might be better spending less time writing a whole heap of content and just throw a few more dollars at paid advertising. And keep an eye out for new opportunities, like Snapchat, the black sheep of social media, who just announced a whole new feature aimed primarily at, you guessed it, publishers!

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