Facebook made a pretty big announcement about the news feed last week, and I can’t even tell you how many articles we’ve read after. The first few were very doom and gloom, with headlines spelling the end of Facebook for business, especially small business, that have progressively gotten more in-depth and a little less gloomy.
Before we entered the fray and flurry of articles, we wanted to take some time to really read what Facebook was saying and reflect on the how-to’s and not the “well, that’s over now”.
First things to remember – Facebook can and will change things up again. Just like Google, they are merely trying to do best by their users and this change – prioritizing friends’ content over a business – is to encourage people to spend more time on the platform. I do find it a bit frustrating that the pages I go out of my way to like I rarely see posts from, but I am encouraged that I’ll see more organic content over all (supposedly). This has also been telegraphed for a few months. Facebook was experimenting with an entirely separate feed (called the Explore feed) that housed all the business/publisher posts, removing them from the main news feed all together. While Facebook at present isn’t saying they’re bringing that experiment to the US or the majority of countries now, we realistically could see that roll out over time.
What Does the Facebook Change Mean for My Business?
We’re of two minds on this. You’ll likely see a dip in who actually sees your posts organically (meaning you didn’t pay to boost it), at least at first. The goal for Facebook is that content becomes better and more engaging, so go back and look through your Publishing Tools version of your page and keep an eye on your Insights tab.
The Publishing Tools especially is great because it will show you your reach, clicks, likes, shares, etc on your recent past posts in one screen. Really look at that and see what’s connecting with your audience and what isn’t. Then post more of what people are interacting with, but don’t beg for likes, comments, and shares. Facebook is deprecating what it deems engagement bait, so let it happen naturally. It can take awhile for people to engage, and honestly it can be frustrating when something you thought would work doesn’t, but the goal is to be nimble with your strategy. If you’re posting once per day, you’ll have plenty of time to see what’s connecting and what you can cycle out.
Facebook Can Still Work Organically
A while ago we wrote a post on increasing your organic reach on Facebook. Neither of us are huge fans of actually giving Facebook money because there are so many ways it can work for free. The great thing is even with the change these should all still help to increase your reach without boosting a post.
Depending on your perspective, the bad thing is Live video is more important than ever. Don’t be afraid to go live from time to time, just make sure that you give people plenty of notice when you’ll be going live. Sure, everyone gets that notification but without a set time they’re far more likely to ignore it. Pick a time and a topic (having a clear purpose will also help with your viewership), and promote both before you go live at least a couple of times before. Think the day before and an hour or two before.
Think of Facebook as Social Proof
If you’re a B2B business, chances are you’re not going to bring a ton of business in based on your Facebook alone. But chances are also high that your potential clients are going to be researching you through your Facebook page. Right now, most consumers do two things when they get referred to a new business: look for your website and check out your Facebook page. Posting regularly lets people know that you’re still in business (especially if the last time you posted was over a year ago, go post now!), that you’re a real, tangible business that can help them, not a fly-by-night operation. So whether you sell to consumers directly or to another business, making sure that the information on your Facebook is accurate, sharing testimonials from other customers, and posting on a regular basis is very important to maintain the credibility you’ve built.
What Can I Do to Connect With My Audience?
There are a few things that you can do to off-set any loss you might experience (after all, this is still a new thing so heaven only knows what’s going to happen next week or next month) and keep in front of the tribe you’ve built.
- DO post videos. Whether it’s Live or not, video in general is getting priority over other mediums by Facebook (and many platforms) and it proves over and again for us and our clients that users love it. If you have any dialogue in your video, consider either incorporating captions or posting a transcript with it as well. After all, how many of the videos in your feed do you actually turn the sound on for (I mean, besides Kid CEO, right?). It’s also great for accessibility so you don’t exclude part of your market.
- Pay attention to what your audience likes. If they love motivational quotes, make those a regular thing on a certain day of the week. If that silly game you play in the office gets a lot of shares, make that a routine thing. Whatever it is your audience loves, give them that on a regular basis (like the same day/time every week) so they know when to expect and look for it. For instance, we release Kid CEO episodes every Friday at noon on Facebook. (We’ve actually had a few complaints when they’ve premiered late….) Overall though, don’t be afraid to test out new things while you figure out what works.
- Create a Facebook group for your page. One thing that Facebook did say was that they wanted us to see more posts from groups we already like. While it seems a bit silly that someone has to go ‘Like’ your page and then join your exclusive group, it’s just another sign to Facebook that they really want your content, plus it’s far more interactive. Think about it – a Page is for the business to push out their own content while a group is to (hopefully) encourage broader discussion from the business/owner and the audience together. For instance, if you’re a gym you can have a group for all your members and post exclusive content, motivational pieces, and encourage your members to interact and build each other up.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas of what will work for your business and audience, don’t panic. We are simply an email away and would love to chat with you on things you can try. But overall, the focus should be on telling your company’s story, not necessarily selling a product.
We’d love to hear from you – what things have you tried on Facebook that have really connected with your audience?