You probably noticed that your Facebook news feed showed fewer commercial posts near the end of 2017. If you wanted to see posts from Facebook Pages (business pages), you had to go into your Pages Feed tab. For most of you, you were shocked when you saw what was behind that tab—you'd been missing so much.
Here's what you may not have realised: The businesses that did appear in your news feed had to pay for Facebook Ads (or be marked as interesting to you) in order to appear there. The rest were banished to the practically invisible Pages Feed.
If you're a business owner working to build your brand with social media marketing, you weren't just peeved that your favourite business pages were banished to the back room. You were peeved that for some time, you had been thinking your business page posts were being seen in your followers' news feeds, when in fact, they weren't at all. You probably noticed a drop in engagement. Now you know why.
That brings us to 2018 and Facebook's latest change.
Social Media Marketing with the New Facebook
Zuckerberg wants to get back to the reason Facebook was started: to give family and friends a social platform on which to stay connected and interact with one another. He feels that business posts are getting in the way of that. He doesn't believe that people want to use Facebook to find content. The social media giant also cites a negative psychological effect on users when they consume content; as opposed to the positive psychological effects of liking, sharing and commenting on personal posts.
Facebook has also stated that it wants to make the platform less favourable to those spreading hate and fake news. They no longer want to measure success by the number of hours spent watching videos or reading articles, but by the volume of likes, shares and comments from its users…meaning they want users to interact, rather than consume thoughtlessly.
What is relevant is that your business page's engagement and your social media marketing efforts are now being impacted even more profoundly than they had been.
In the biggest tweak EVER made to feeds, Facebook users will now see even fewer viral videos, news articles and non-paid promotional-type stuff. You've probably already noticed a higher concentration of friends' posts (when compared to just one month ago).
Here's the bottom line: Your business page's posts will no longer get organic engagement. You're going to have to pay for it or take other interactive measures.
So what's a brand builder to do? Here are a few suggestions:
- Educate your followers about Pages Feed. Remind them (in a paid ad) to visit your page often and check their Pages Feed for new content from you. This will require that you post new content on your business page regularly, so they're not disappointed when they visit.
- Show them how to Include your Posts in their News Feeds. Ask (or incentivise) your followers to go to your Page, open the drop-down box under Following, and select See First. This will increase the chances that they'll see your posts in their news feeds.
- Start a Facebook Group. All posts made in the group (by admin and members) will be private, but will show up in the News Feeds of all members. When you start the group, be sure to keep your ideal customers in mind, and make the focus something that is highly relevant to them. Check out this article, which will teach you how to create and grow a Facebook group: https://bit.ly/CreateAndGrowFacebookGroup.
- Invest in Facebook Ads. This sounds expensive; however, you can get engagement with Facebook Ads for only a few pounds per week. I have run campaigns and set the limit at £1 per day, getting more than 400 impressions in just 4 days. When you purchase a Facebook Ad, it will appear in the News Feeds of those people who have expressed interest in what you're offering. It's a small enough investment that it's worth a try. Just remember to keep your ideal customer at the forefront when choosing your target audience for each ad.
We're not going to change the way Facebook does business. The social media company has a strong, proven strategy and it's making tweaks to ensure that it stays relevant, viable and useful to the people who will keep it in business.
What we can do is stay on top of all the changes that are coming and integrate them into our own social media marketing strategies before our competitors do.
How will you use this information to make your social media marketing strategy more effective? How will you take what seems like a negative and make it a positive for your brand? We'd love to hear from you. We'd also love to answer your questions and talk about hot branding topics like this one. Simply join the How to Build a Brand group on Facebook, where all of that (and more) is happening. Joining is FREE, and the benefits are priceless.