The backlash against large social media organisations and their apparent failure to recognise and respond accordingly to so called ‘fake news’ and misleading propaganda grew to a roar toward the tail end of 2017, leading Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to announce a host of sweeping changes to the way that news and business pages are served in user news feeds in January this year.
In a bid to get users interacting more, the platform will be actively reducing the number of updates from pages that appear in personal news feeds, in favour of more updates from friends.
So what does this mean for small businesses?
If you manage your company’s Facebook Page yourself, you have probably already noticed that the organic reach (the number of people who see your posts without you paying any money) of your recent updates is significantly smaller than it used to be. During the last year or so Facebook have made a number of changes to their algorithms, prioritising promoted posts in news feeds over organically shared content from business pages, even restricting the visibility for users who have liked your page, explicitly expressing an interest in seeing your updates.
If Facebook has previously been a tool for growing awareness of your brand and is considered an essential part of your company’s digital marketing strategy, these changes mean you may have to rethink your approach. Facebook is still giving priority to paid updates and ads, and paying to ‘boost’ a post or ad is currently the only way to ensure that content from a page will be seen by users. If you have never assigned a portion of your online advertising budget to Facebook advertising before, now is a great time to start. Facebook hold a wealth of data on their users and their easy-to-use ad platform makes it easy to create highly targeted campaigns to ensure that only people who have expressed an interest in similar products or services and live or work in your catchment area will see your messages. It is possible to exploit this data and reach a wide audience with a relatively small ad spend.
Assigning an additional advertising budget to Facebook is not always possible for some businesses. If this is the case, continuing to produce high quality content is imperative. Social networks are continually reviewing and adapting their algorithms and great content will always be sharable. A page that is steadily sharing content will always look better to potential customers and will certainly be more appealing than a forgotten page with no recent updates.
Giving up on Facebook as a digital marketing tool would be short-sighted, but it is problematic that so many businesses appear to have been so reliant on a single social platform for their website traffic, product sales and lead generation. It would be sensible for businesses that have been hit in the pocket by recent Facebook changes to take time to adjust their digital marketing strategy to ensure that they don’t become over-reliant on any one social network in future.
Social Media is an evolving industry that is arguably still in its infancy. With the ways we can access online resources growing and adapting every year, turning your back on the biggest social network in the world is not recommended. Facebook has been pushing business pages toward a ‘pay to play’ format for a few years now and its ad platform can be an effective and low cost (in comparison to the cost-per-click of popular keywords on Google Adwords) way to reach your audience.
If your Facebook posts aren’t getting the reach they used to, the Say Hello Hello Digital Marketing team can help. Contact us today and start getting your Facebook updates seen by users that will convert into paying customers.