You’ll have heard the news over the past couple of weeks that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is changing…
“You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
This means that “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
Basically, Facebook are now determining how they show content based largely around the comments and interactions which the post generates.
Note, do NOT fall into the engagement-bait trap. You’ll be penalised for doing so as this type of activity doesn’t encourage meaningful conversations!
It’s not that surprising given the fight for space in the News Feed anyway, with engagement already playing an important part in determining how content fits into the hierarchy.
With Zuckerberg acknowledging Facebook’s “responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being”, many have claimed that this is bad news for businesses.
Those claims suggest that it’ll be even harder still for businesses to organically (without spending advertising money) get in front of their audiences.
So, on the face of it, this is disastrous for those trying to utilise Facebook for their small business, right?
Well, in my view, not so much.
It all comes back to ensuring you’re putting out quality content.
Quality content varies from industry-to-industry and business-to-business, but what’s clear is that Mr Zuckerberg wants to ensure that Facebook is helping people.
One thing we promote at Lodestar Digital Marketing is to ensure whatever you’re putting out adds masses of value to your audience.
It’s not about you. It’s about them!
If you can put out great quality content that helps your audience, that gets them talking and engaging with you and one another, then you shouldn’t have too much to be worried about.
Yes, it’ll probably be a bit tougher, but if it makes people focus even more on quality rather than quantity, I think that can only be a good think.
You can always ask your audience to mark your posts in their “See First” preferences. Those that do will be really avid fans and a great starting point for getting engagement on your posts.
For smaller businesses, it also places the importance on being more human.
Personal profiles are arguably more important again, so connecting and interacting with your audience is now of real importance.
It’s taking social networking back to what it should be about; being social.
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It also enables those more forward-thinking businesses that are taking advantage of Facebook’s wider functionality to thrive.
By that, I mean those who are running adverts on the Ad Manager platform, utilising Groups to build communities, and adopting aspects such as Live video.
Let’s look at each of those in a bit more detail:
Facebook Ads let you reach highly targeted audiences
If you’ve been solely reliant on the News Feed for engaging with potential new customers until now, the chances are that you’ve not been maximising what Facebook can do for your business.
I’ve written previously on how advertising on social media can be a cost-effective way of reaching audiences, and now with another hit on the News Feed, getting to grips with advertising on social media has become more important than ever.
The measurability, flexibility and ability to quickly and easily test adverts are huge benefits to smaller businesses. If you put £1 in and get £2 out, I’d say that’s a good investment.
With organic reach becoming harder for businesses again thanks to the recent changes, it’s seriously time to consider advertising.
And with huge sums of money being spent on the platform, I won’t hear “advertising on Facebook doesn’t work!”.
Of course it does. You’re just doing it wrong.
Groups can help build a community around your brand
Groups are all about creating conversations between users, so the updates only strengthen the types of activity you should be utilising here.
They’re a great way for users to help one another, and offer you the chance to show your expertise along the way.
Think of someone like a Personal Trainer. They’ll have lots of clients with broadly similar goals. Creating a group and community not only enables them to get the PT’s expertise, but it also allows clients to support each other and hold each other accountable for results.
Ultimately, that builds a strong community and, in all likelihood, means a better retention rate for the business owner.
Live video enables
Video content has been high on Facebook’s agenda for some time, with preference given to these types of posts.
Live video goes one step further, and given Zuckerberg’s opinion that “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”, I’d say it’s fair to assume that this type of content is going to feature well.
But, whatever you do, make sure you’re putting out quality content.
If you do, then the changes shouldn’t matter too much.