Facebook’s recent announcement will impact every business that uses Facebook as part of their marketing and communications efforts. Whether you ride this wave of changes to the top of the News Feed or are banished to No Fan’s Land depends entirely on your strategy.
What does the announcement mean? Public Content (posts from businesses and media) has become too dominant in the newsfeed of most users, which makes it harder for personal, “meaningful social interactions” to take place. To counteract this, Facebook will deemphasize posts from businesses and media, particularly those that don’t drive “meaningful social interactions,” such as conversations.
- Users will see more content from friends, family, and groups
- Users will see less Public Content posts from businesses and media, particularly content that does not receive comments or reactions
- Content that encourages meaningful interactions between people (such as conversations) will be seen more frequently
Facebook will continue to be one of the most effective ways to reach current and potential customers. With an estimated $26.8 billion in U.S. ad revenue, the platform ranks second only to Google in digital advertising presence. What really sets Facebook apart as a marketing platform, however, is the ability to target users based on a broad range of interests and demographics. Want to reach college-educated females between 35-45 who make more than $75k a year, and are interested in target shooting, organic food, and the color blue? Facebook and its 2 billion estimated global users is the only place to go.
But make no mistake, if you’ve been struggling to reach your audience with relevant content, the challenge is about to get harder. So what can you do to avoid being banished from your users’ News Feeds and instead ride this wave of changes to the top?
1. Don’t Panic, It’s A Good Thing
If you’re taking the time to create meaningful content, you should feel encouraged that the platform will be weeding out content that users are not interested in, while allowing more meaningful content to stand out. But for any business that uses Facebook as part of its marketing and communications, the idea that their organic reach will be decreasing is both frightening and frustrating. At first glance, this may seem like a push from Facebook to reduce businesses’ organic reach and force them to spend more on paid advertising on the platform (even though founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself reportedly lost as much as $3.1 billion in the days following the News Feed announcement). Many businesses had the same concern back in the early years of the platform’s growth, as similar changes made it harder to reach existing fans through organic traffic only.
The reality is that these changes are all designed to protect Facebook’s biggest asset – its user base. If users aren’t seeing content they value and engage with, they’ll look elsewhere. Similarly, Google places the highest value on delivering the best search results to users – even if it means thwarting businesses trying to game the system with old-school SEO tricks. Facebook is simply trying to protect the user experience, which in turn ensures that advertisers are willing to pay to reach these users.
2. Double-down on Content that Receives Engagement
When a post receives more comments and shares, put some of your advertising budget towards pushing this post out to an audience outside of your Facebook fans. Posts that receive higher engagement are not only more likely to get results, they cost less to advertise, as an ad’s relevance decreases cost per impression in most cases. Again, Facebook values the user experience so highly that it charges advertisers less when an ad proves relevant or interesting to the audience they’re trying to reach.
3. Smart, Targeted Advertising is More Important Than Ever
Social media isn’t free (and never has been). For many businesses, cracking the content code is easier said than done. It takes creativity, an awareness of your audience, and, above all, time to create meaningful content. 43% of small businesses spend more than 24 hours a month on social media marketing, while 25% spend 24 to 40 hours a month*. Think about what that costs you in labor, and ask yourself, if you could reach 20 times as many people by adding $50 a month in advertising costs, why wouldn’t you?
With a small budget and the help of a digital marketing team, you can dramatically expand the reach of your content, targeting highly specific audiences based on interests, demographics, location, income, and hundreds of other factors.
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*Source: Vertical Response via Hubspot – 43% of Small Businesses Spend 6 Hours Per Week on Social Media – https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33776/43-of-Small-Businesses-Spend-6-Hours-Per-Week-in-Social-Media-INFOGRAPHIC.aspx