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Business Impacts of the 2018 Facebook Changes

On Thursday, January 11, 2018,  Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said there would be a series of changes in the design of the world’s largest social network, Facebook.  Social Media Examiner brought attention to this announcement to all of its followers via an email that night, in somewhat of a “panicked” tone.  It was mentioned that anyone generating content for their Facebook business page, may as well stop.  One of the biggest of these 2018 Facebook changes is to the filter for the News Feed, which will now be prioritized, by Facebook, by what friends and family our conversing about or sharing.  Facebook will be reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands.  This means that your business Facebook posts may not be seen.  Part of this change has to do with Facebook’s struggles to address criticism from users and others about the quality of the content shared and its effect on society.  And more, the fact that it was believed that Russia backed content which reached as many as 126 million Americans on Facebook during and after the 2016 presidential election.

It is believed that in the coming months, or until the dust settles, people will be spending less time on Facebook and some measures of engagement could go down.  However, Zuckerberg states it’ll be better for users and for businesses over the long term.  And while paid advertising on Facebook will not be affected, this news may upset business owners to the point they will leave Facebook, at least for the time-being.  A shift away from non-ad content is potentially a severe blow to news organizations and businesses, many of which use Facebook to drive readership, but Zuckerberg said many such posts have been unhealthy.  “Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience,” he wrote.

You may notice that on each of your business Facebook posts it tells you how many people it has reached.  So if, for example, you have 300 fans and a post only reached 30 people, you are probably wondering why it only reached 10%?  Last year, Facebook started pulling all business posts into an “explore” feed, in order to investigate how posts were being interacted with.  It is said their findings led to this change.  You often hear that people “stalk” on Facebook.  What can you do starting today?  Start liking, commenting, and sharing posts that you agree with, believe in, or otherwise find to peak your interest.  That is what Facebook wants.  This will make a difference for your favorite business pages that you follow.  Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook as a place where people can have conversations.  With respect, this is not happening to the level of expectation of the Facebook founder, hence these changes.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN AS A BUSINESS OWNER?

  1. Consider Your Strategy:  Don’t you find at times it can be frustrating when you spend hours determining and drafting what to post on your page and then it doesn’t yield the engagement you would have hoped?  Part of the reason is that Facebook is making some decisions on our behalf as to if it is the “right” non-ad content.  The other part is that your posts are not driving engagement, therefore your strategy needs to be refined.  To ensure that your content is seen, you will have to get creative to drive the “meaningful interactions” that Facebook is now focusing on. The focus needs to be on higher-quality content, which could ultimately resonate with consumers and drive more meaningful, high-level engagement.  While this does impede the current way you run our Facebook page, it opens the door for how to get more from your marketing efforts.  There is too much behind the strategy component to delve into it in this post.  However, I encourage you to consider participating in our Digital Marketing Training & Mastermind Tribe for hands-on knowledge and know how.
  2. Train Your Fans:  If you want it, you have to ask for it.  Communicate with your fans on how to ensure they see all of your posts, and how you would like them to engage with posts.  One way, is to ask them to turn on notifications for your page.  But, you have to show them the steps to take to do this (often more than once).  The image below highlights the ability to set notifications under the drop down area of “Following”, assuming they are already following your page.  Then, the pencil icon to the right of Notifications will allow them to edit settings.
  3. Consider Using Facebook Ads: Let’s face it, with 2 billion people on Facebook every month you can still reach a lot of people with paid ads, and it’s cheaper than traditional advertising.  Here are some things you have control over: demographics for your targeted audience, length of time ad will run, and the option to pay for clicks vs impressions.  Clicks are encouraged if you are on a budget.  To save you time, be sure you are following the Facebook ad guidelines.  Also, be sure your ads are linked to a landing page on your website or that you are utilizing the lead generation tools Facebook offers, which minimizes the steps for the fan to signup for an offer, etc.  Consumers want simplicity, so we still need to take in consideration how many clicks are involved to take action on your offer.

I’m sure you still have questions because this is a game changer for Facebook users.  It’s frustrating to have spent so much time organically building your Fan base only to see that it doesn’t necessarily matter now.  Also, now may be the perfect time to start using other social platforms, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for business.  Contact us if we can help you make sense of these 2018 Facebook changes and/or your overall social media strategy.  And, consider participating in our Digital Marketing Training & Mastermind Tribe.

Thanks for reading!


Sources:
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/zuckerberg-changes-facebooks-focus-more-010238016.html
https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-considers-prioritizing-trustworthy-news-sources-in-feed-1515714244
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/30/facebook-russia-fake-accounts-126-million
https://www.marketingdive.com/news/will-facebooks-news-feed-changes-lead-to-more-expensive-ads/514773/