was there for the first big “Facebook algorithm change” and my page, Good Food Group, with 48,000 followers all but collapsed on that fateful December day. Why? Because with 48,000 followers, the page didn’t have the user interaction or the frequency of posts to sustain its popularity based on the new rules, and what posts were made, went unseen.
Lesson learned... Facebook owns Facebook and it's foolish to invest heavily in a house built on shifting sand.
There are some things you can do to leverage the recent changes to your benefit, though. In the coming weeks, I'll be releasing a few more articles focused on just what you can do to work around some of the issues these changes will inevitably bring and how you can even use some of these changes to drive more business to your door.
First, though, I want to go over the basics to be sure we're all on the same page and that we all know what we're working with here.
A Complete Overhaul of Facebook Newsfeed Algorithms
To put it plainly, Facebook will not be allowing as many business posts, media posts, or advertisements on people's newsfeeds. In turn, this will make it harder for your business page posts to be seen on Facebook and will drive up the price of Facebook ads.
A Focus on the Familiar
The changes have come about, according to Mark Zuckerberg, as a result of complaints lodged by Facebook users. Facebook users have reported that they want to see more of what their friends and family post and less of what businesses post. They also want to see fewer ads - by far.
So, what has Facebook done to combat these issues? They've decided to completely change the way that their system decides what you see - their '"algorithms." They will boost the posts from your family, friends, and groups while reducing the posts you see from business pages. You will also see far fewer business posts on the Facebook newsfeed.
In what has been called the "closer together initiative," Facebook has taken a stance whereby it claims that it wants the website to be focused on bringing people closer together. As such, it will deprioritize things likes ads and even news stories in order to focus on the posts of family and friends and content that families and friends are likely to discuss together.
Amping Up Engagement
The focus isn't only on family and friends, though. It's a focus on "engagement." Let's be honest, here, Facebook is a company and, just like any other company, they want to focus on what works. If people aren't happy with the number of ads and business posts on their newsfeeds Facebook is placed in a position where they must reduce those ads and business page posts to keep users flocking to the website as they currently do. But, Facebook still needs to make money.
So, what will Facebook do? Three things. First, they will, obviously, reduce the ad space on their website. Second, they will increase the cost of that ad space. Third, they will focus on the ads and posts which get the most engagement.
It's the simple logic of supply and demand. There are fewer spaces available so now Facebook can charge more for each of those spaces. They also kind of have to charge more for ad space, now, if they want to bring in the same revenue. Not only is that just good business, it also ensures that they aren't flooded with people who originally chose Facebook ads because they were a cheap source of advertisement - now, they will attract serious advertisers.
Since Facebook wants to appeal more to what users want to see, the few business page posts that they will allow onto people's newsfeeds will be those which receive the most engagement. On Facebook, engagements are measured by likes, shares, and comments. But Facebook also knows those tricks many businesses use, and they will not be prioritizing posts which actually call for people to like, share, or comment. They want users to naturally and organically choose to engage with the content.
So, they will prioritize those posts which receive likes, shares, and comments without being prompted to do any of the above. Even more important, the Facebook algorithms will track the back and forth conversations sparked in the comments sections on posts
How Will This Affect You?
That is the burning question, after all. How will these changes affect you as a business owner?
First off, your page will be much less visible. While there are certain things you can do to increase visibility (a topic I'll cover in the coming weeks), you must begin by accepting that you simply will not have the same level of reach you once had.
If you want to connect with your customers and clients on Facebook, now, you will have to give your marketing approach a bit of an overhaul as well. Although Facebook is still encouraging people to use their business page best practices and engagement assistance pages as a roadmap for success, even they caution that now is a time to begin learning and exploring new ways to get in touch with customers. Essentially, Facebook seems to want you, as a business owner, to engage in meaningful conversations with your customers and clients instead of saturating them with information and ads.
- Facebook will allow fewer business page posts onto users' newsfeeds.
- Facebook will not have as much ad space.
- Your business page will have less reach.
- The prices of ad space are going to rise.
- You'll have to focus your business page posts on engagement.
- You will have to learn how to craft excellent Facebook ads to make them worth your money.
Over the next few weeks, I will go into more detail about what you can do to overcome the challenges presented by this huge change to the Facebook newsfeed. I'll talk about perspective, interest groups, strategic page development and more.