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Facebook’s Announcement & Impacts for Small Business Marketing

So, there’s been a bit of a head-scratching and/or angst-filled reaction by business owners and marketers to an announcement Facebook made yesterday regarding how they are adjusting their algorithms in order to help “bring people closer together and build relationships.”

First, understand this is all coming pretty fast and will likely change and adjust some as they go on but I think a few things can be said definitively:

  • Facebook is about building engagement between people, meaning their friends, not necessarily people and Pages (your business)
    • Yes, they make all their money from advertising, but if people aren’t on the platform they can’t sell advertising so they are starting with the consumer and working from there
  • You’re going to see less and less “organic” (non-paid) Business Page content in your personal newsfeed
    • More pictures of your personal friends’ kids, fewer posts about the latest and greatest widget
  • As a business owner, you will reach progressively fewer people who Like your page
    • Your content needs to be really, really good to get seen

To Quote:

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

In many ways this echoes discussions I have had with many clients lately.  Organic reach has been declining for some time as Facebook works to keep eyeballs and attention on their platform for as long as possible. I suppose you could say that previously they’ve been clouding up your Newsfeed with Business Page content and now they’re correcting that.

So What Should You Do if Your Administer a Business Page?

  • Post Less, Post Better
    • Continue to write, record (video), stream (video) and publish high-quality, educational content that addresses the challenges your customers have and problems you solve for your customers
    • Stop posting 30 times a day, especially if this content has not been getting any engagement (likes, shares, comments)
  • You can ask your fans to set your content to be “See First” content but I wouldn’t expect huge results from this, it can be a bit arduous and not all users know they can do this, or how to do it
  • You can ask your staff and friends to share your content on their personal newsfeeds, but be realistic about what you’re going to get from this, I’d much rather see you invest your time and resources into better content
  • You need to invest in Facebook advertising.  I no longer see any way around this.  Post Boosts, Video Boosts, Facebook Ads, etc. are all going to be the best way to reach your target audience through Facebook.  That content has to be high quality too.
  • If you can actively engage and manage a community around your business and its customers you should consider creating a Facebook Group to continue engaging with your customers – but only if you’re prepared to manage and engage in that Group

Facebook is where the eyeballs are. That alone makes it worth considering in your marketing mix.

I do not see anything in this announcement that discourages me from using Facebook to help my clients grow their business.

I do see it as a challenge to “up our game” on content we publish for clients.

We help manage social media marketing for a number of clients, and we’ll be focused on creating better, more educational content (which we always do, but this makes it even more important) and working to optimize Facebook ad budgets to spend where it can have the most impact without having to ratchet up the spend more than is necessary.

There’s also some really good thoughts on the impact of this announcement here. 

Some things have absolutely not changed:

  • Strategy Before Tactics – Who you’re targeting, Why they should engage with you, Why your business can solve their problems – remains crucial and should drive every marketing decision you make
  • The Marketing Hourglass – Using content to engage with customers through all stages of their buyer’s journey should govern your channel selection and spend allocation across channels
  • Have a Plan, Measure & Adjust – You’ll be less likely to lose sleep over an announcement like this if you can process the information within the context of your overall Business and Marketing Strategy and your metrics of success

Facebook remains the king of social media channels for most businesses. Determining how best to attract and engage with your ideal customers through this platform is an ongoing opportunity.

So, what do you think? How will this announcement change your marketing plans and strategies? I’d love to hear your thoughts!