Facebook used to be a terrific resource for businesses to share content and stay in touch with customers. Over the past few years, most pages have seen their organic reach decrease. Creating engaging content, having all your friends click and like your posts, all helped spread your message. However, unless you had a lot of customer engagement with your posts, the number of people seeing your content has greatly diminished. Still, most of us find Facebook is driving revenue to some degree.
Mark Zuckerberg announced this evening that the Facebook news feed is going back to the days before pages, where friends chatted with friends.
Facebook was originally a place for friends to talk to friends. Tonight Mark Zuckerberg announced that he intends to return the site to focus more on that purpose. The result of this change means that content from publishers and pages are going to get a lot less exposure. Pages won’t disappear, however the number of people who see non-boosted (unpaid) content is going to drop off in a big way. It’s time to build a budget. Facebook is far too important for most businesses to neglect. However, you can adjust your strategy so your time and money is used effectively.
What can you do to keep that traffic?
For the most part, you are going to selectively pay to boost content and buy ads. However, there are some things you can do to improve the odds your content gets seen.
- Stop spamming your feed. If you’re posting multiple times a day, you should probably stop. It’s also time to stop using auto-posting tools and post manually. That has always made a difference, but now it is likely to be even more important to post by a human.
- You should turn off that blog feed. Yes it is great content, and you should continue to post the best of it. Just do it manually and sparingly. Perhaps ask a question that starts a conversation and references back to the article.
- Post content that sparks a conversation, not just between you and your audience, but between audience members.
- Avoid engagement bait like the plague. What is engagement bait? Any post that asks viewers to share, like, tag someone, enter an emoji, or vote to create engagement. Just say “no.” This includes on your personal page.
- While you’re at it, avoid click bait too. Don’t post those “if you were a fish, what kind of fish would you be” links. You probably should stay away from “fake” news while you’re at it. While not mentioned in today’s release, Facebook has already said it’s working to clean that stuff off the platform. One rule of thumb would be that if the headline incites an immediate and volatile emotional reaction, you probably should steer clear.
- Don’t assume your video will be seen either. Yeah..it’s sad.
Remember the goal for visibility is to encourage conversation on your post, not to encourage your readers to visit another company’s website. If your post is a link, that link should almost always go to your website, store or other social channel.
What is likely to work
- Live video is still rocking the platform. If you are going to do video, make it very good. Consider a weekly informational or “Ask Me Anything” with your customers. Choose a hot topic and plan your discussion.
- Facebook groups. At some point I thoroughly expect them to stop letting businesses set them up for free, but for now, they are free, plus they are ad-free! Keep in mind that like most social media efforts, groups take time and you have to get the conversation moving for them to be successful. If you can’t come up with a unique identity for your group, you may want to participate in others. Just be careful about self-promotion. Within the confines of your own group you can do it, but do it sparingly. No one will participate if the group is nothing but a sales pitch. Every group has set rules for self-promotion and the group you join may be owned by a competitor. Know the group rules or ASK an admin when it’s okay to promote your business.
- Compelling content that is genuinely share-worthy always works. You may want to boost it a bit to get it going. Just keep in mind that to get good organic reach, the people seeing the post must want to talk about it.
- Ads. Facebook ads offer the best targeting options out there and can be very effective. However, allow time to learn how to reach the most people and get the action you want as cheaply as possible. Most people who fail at Facebook, give up too early. Professional management, unless you’re willing to invest in the time to learn it well, is going to be money well spent.
- Original content is best. If you have perpetually share other publisher’s content, then you diminish the value you bring to readers. That said, it’s time to bring your A game. Ask your customers what they’d like to see, then make it. I’m about to stop almost all the curated content I share.
The Secret Trick to Get ALL Your Content to Display at the Top of Your Customers’ Facebook Feed
Yes, there is a secret (well maybe not so secret but not well known) way to ensure those that want to see your content get it in their feed. This little video shows you how anyone can set a page so its content is a top priority. The trick for you is to get them to do this. Anyway, it’s worth a try.
The Death of Organic Reach for Facebook Pages
This video produced by Social Media Examiner has a lot of useful information. I highly recommend you watch it.
In summary, it is time to evaluate your current social media strategy and post better content, less frequently. Consider adding live video to the mix or a Facebook group. Buy ads.
One more warning
Facebook owns Instagram. I would not be surprised if similar changes eventually happen there. The one rule of online marketing is that it is always a moving target. Stay current and on top of changes or get left behind in the dust.