Facebook news feed changes – how will you cope?

By: Richard Michie

What can you do now Facebook has changed its direction on showing posts from business pages?

Let’s be honest, organic Facebook reach for business pages has been on the decline for a long time now. Typically, an organic post on your page will only reach a small percentage of your audience.

The reason for this?

Facebook makes 90% of its revenue from advertising, so guess what, as a business they expect you to pay to be seen. Not much of a surprise really, you don’t expect any other media outlet to share your advertising for free, so why should Facebook Try that with ITV, SKY, The Guardian, Gizmodo and UniLad and see how far you get.

As businesses, we’ve had it good for a very long time. In the not too distant past Facebook showed all your posts to all your followers, and everyone waded in. Unsurprisingly, Facebook wanted a piece of that and it all stopped.

At the end of 2017 Facebook announced that they would move lots of business and media content to their “Explore” section. Most people didn’t get the message so have no idea, and don’t care that it exists. As an aside my personal Explore feed is full of very unrelated content which is way off target, so much for clever algorithms!

How can you get Facebook’s news feed to work for your business?

There’s no way around it, to get a good return from your Facebook business page you’re are going to need to invest some advertising budget. There are lots of benefits to doing that.

  • You get to select your audience. No longer are you at the mercy of the gods of Facebook. The customer targeting tools are very good on Facebook, after all with billions of users worldwide they have some amazing profiling data.
  • You can craft your messaging. The tools at your disposal are pretty hot. From carousel ads, offers, native data collection forms, the options are great. So get creative.
  • You can get people off Facebook. One thing they hate in business page posts is links leaving Facebook to come to your website landing pages, posts with outbound links are penalised by Facebook, affecting your exposure. With an add they are more than happy for you to link to your website.

Engage more with your Facebook community

This may need a change of outlook for your business. If you see Facebook as a way to constantly push your messages to your followers, then your followers will likely dwindle anyway. No one likes being shouted at.

Take the time to engage. Ask them questions, share their thoughts, solve their problems, get involved. In effect, make your business page more human, less business.

It’s still early days for these changes, but so far there’s no mention of a drop off in Facebook Group pages. Can you run a group page on your industry, service or product range? It’s a mindset change because it’s an open forum where you have to relinquish some control, but it a great way to engage and build rapport.

Use more native Facebook tools

If you run an ecommerce business, are your products in a store on your Facebook page? If you do that you can then tag your products in posts natively, reducing the links out to your site.

Upload great video direct to your pages, Facebook did a big push on this last year and engagements are really good, at the moment.

In your posts, ensure you include the message me option so that you can begin a dialogue in messenger and from there move them to your website, email or have a good old phone call!

Use other social media marketing sites

Are your customers Millennials? I hate that term but it’s handy short hand. Newsflash, they don’t use Facebook much. My 16 year old won’t go near Facebook. Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube are where she spends her digital time.

16 years olds may not be your customers today, but they will be in a few years.

What else is out there?

There’s a whole host of other social media sites you can look into, some of which you may never have heard of, but they are very popular indeed. Take a look at the numbers

  • YouTube – 5,500,000,000 active users
  • Instagram – 700,000,000 active users
  • Twitter – 328,000,000 active users
  • Reddit – 250,000,000 active users
  • Pinterest – 175,000,000 active users
  • Tumbler – 115,000,000 active users
  • Flicker – 112,000,000 active users
  • LinkedIn – 106,000,000 active users

There figures are accurate as of September 2017 from DreamGrow and there’s already been movement. LinkedIn has increased following its purchase by Microsoft, Twitter appears to be in decline and Instagram is skyrocketing.

That gives us a staggering cumulative volume of people on social media. Clearly there’s a lot of overlap but crucially lots of gaps too.

Don’t rely too much on Facebook

Sure, Facebook is massive, but it’s not the only game in town. Most businesses still get most of their digital interaction and leads from Google.

Unlike Facebook, customers who come from Google searches are looking for your service or product to fix their problem. Investing time in great content on your website which is search engine optimised, of course, is still one of the most effective ways to get your phone ringing.

I’ve been doing this long enough to remember a time before Google Ads, where the search results were all organic. Sound like a familiar story? There was a massive outrage then that we’d all have to pay to be found, except that didn’t happen. Properly search engine optimised rankings still do well and some would say are better respected by searchers.

SEO isn’t a quick result from a standing start though, if you want to accelerate your results on Google invest in Adwords, it’s that simple.

Build your email marketing list

It’s becoming more than apparent that businesses cannot rely on other websites, particularly social media sites to give them consistent or free marketing. The one thing you can rely on however is email.

Email is the one thing everyone has in their pocket and for it to be delivered your business isn’t beholden to a distant organisation to delivery your message.

Building your email marketing list means that you have control and that gives you a good degree of certainty. Just don’t abuse the permission you’ve been given and take note of the ever looming GDPR regulations which are soon to come in.

What should you do with your Facebook business page?

  • Review your current strategy on Facebook and see where you can make improvements to increase your natural reach.
  • If it’s crucial to your marketing, look at your budgets and see where you can best spend on Facebook to get the best return, constantly measuring and testing.
  • Take a look to see if Facebook is even the right place for your business, should you be spending more energy on other efforts?

We can help you optimise all your marketing efforts, using Facebook or not. Call us on 07834 197785 or fill in the form below.

Interested in speaking to The Optimists?

Right from the beginning of our time working with The Marketing Optimist, they’ve taken the time and effort to get to understand Sharp Consultancy as a business and not just a client. We’ve seen a huge increase in the effectiveness of our social media strategy, particularly on Linkedin and we’re delighted with the impact it’s had on the business.

Jamie Caulfield

Regional Director, Sharp Consultancy

It was a pleasure to work with The Marketing Optimist on this project. It felt like a true collaborative effort on the day and they made the interviewee's feel at ease whilst talking about their journey on our RISE programme. The final video was professional and engaging, we have received great feedback around the quality and creativity of the case study. Including the video in our presentation made it come to life, with real humans sharing their stories, so thank you to the Marketing Optimist!

Hannah Prole

Impact Manager, Better Connect Limited

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Sharp Consultancy

B2B Social Media for recruitment

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