Posted: 15th January 2018
Today Facebook’s announcement on business pages made headline news. Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook was changing its newsfeed to make personal connections more prominent and reducing the amount of business posts shown.
Whilst there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about this, Social Media Examiner’s, Michael Stelzner has gone full “Corporal Fraser” and claims we are all doomed and there is even talk of an apocalypse. However, plagues of frogs aside, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Organic reach from Facebook pages has plummeted in recent years and for largely good reason.
I took a break from Facebook (well, mostly) over the Christmas period and when I returned I didn’t really feel like I’d missed much. There were too many dull posts, click bait articles and the odd amusing video about otters. In other news, I had a lovely chat with old friends about our mutual love of The Crown and I’m slightly mesmerised by those ads for the face mask that peels off blackheads. That is what Facebook is for.
Facebook is not the Yellow Pages, and its first and foremost role has always been to allow people to connect with each other. Whether families living far away, or old school friends, Facebook was supposed to be a place for people to share their experiences, opinions and the odd bit of banter – not to buy a pizza.
I sense this has less to do with Zuckerberg wanting to make the world a friendlier place and much more to do with Facebook’s survival. The explosion in uninspiring, promotional content on Facebook pages has resulted in a decline in user experience and seen many people switch to other channels. The controversy over political bias and misleading click bait news stories is probably another good reason to put a dampener on things for a while.
However, the fact remains that you have put time and resources into building your Facebook page and there’s no need to just up saddle up your horse and leave.
Here are a few things you are going to need to adapt.
According to Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri:
“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, 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. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”
So, the three things you must remember about the Facebook News Feed
I have several clients which, for a variety of sensitive reasons, are not the kinds of pages that people will like or engage with. However, we still consider a Facebook presence important. People regularly use Facebook to search for companies and look at their pages directly (not in the newsfeed). When they get there, they need to see content that reflects your company values, personality and services – you just don’t need to post 3 times a day.
Consider whether you truly belong there and what you are trying to achieve. I’ll be perfectly honest, if you want to talk about your business to another professional, LinkedIn is the place to be. My last blog explained why I think it’s the one to watch this year
It essentially works just like Facebook but is ‘shop talk’ only. If you are a B2B business, it’s really where you should be at. Likewise, you might want to invest more time in Twitter or Instagram, reducing your Facebook presence accordingly.
There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. Oscar Wilde
Facebook have announced that they are putting higher priority on people talking to people. Encourage people to talk about your business. If you have premises, put signs up asking people to check in on Facebook. Prompt people to leave Facebook reviews and testimonials, or think up creative ways to make people want to tag your page in their own personal posts. Rather than running the tired ‘like and share’ competitions (because Facebook is penalising those posts even more), ask people to generate their own content and tag you in it.
More than just selling old fridges, Facebook groups are a good way to engage with your community. They are chattier than a Facebook page and the emphasis is on conversation rather than announcements. Members can receive notifications of new posts and invite others to join. Traditionally only personal profiles were able to interact in groups but now a Business Page can administer its own, meaning you can keep your personal profile to yourself. Consider setting one up for your VIP clients, or dedicated fans. A word of caution though, don’t just let it become another way for people to advertise themselves without saying much else and be selective about what you put. If you want to join the Armadillo Social Club, click here to request an invite.
I’ve been saying this for some time, but the only way you are truly going to get your content seen on Facebook is by paying for it. I wrote this blog over 2 years ago and it is even more true today. There’s no other publisher, whether newspaper, magazine, TV or radio, that lets you promote your business for free so why should Facebook be any different? The power of Facebook advertising to accurately pinpoint your preferred customers is impressive and a tool you should be making the most of. What other advertising channel lets you select the gender, age, web browsing habits and personal interest of your clients?
In short, Facebook Pages are not dead, they’re not even stunned. However, you might have to up your game a little.
If you are determined to make these changes work for you, book yourself onto one of my workshops over the coming weeks. You can spend half a day constructing your Digital Marketing Strategy, or master the finer points of Facebook Advertising or LinkedIn.
Or give me a call on 07801 816793 to talk through how these changes could affect you.