Facebook – the social network that’s become indispensable for online marketers. From small specialty business to big and powerful multinationals, everyone has figured out how useful Facebook can be when it comes to reaching customers, and everyone is tapping into that enormous potential. Or at least, what’s left of it.
The reach which was one of the major draw points for use of Facebook in marketing has been declining. In fact, you might have noticed that in a couple of months you’ve been seeing numbers which indicate that your Facebook content hasn’t been reaching as many people as it did before. And it’s not. So, what’s up with Facebook?
Why Algorithm Change Matters
People who make their living creating and implementing campaigns which integrate Facebook will tell you that the website has had yet another change in algorithm. For the savvy social media publishers and campaign strategist, this, coupled with the fact that the change has been announced by Facebook – which doesn’t happen with every algorithm change – say that it’s time for a change.
For small business owners, and people who practicing a DIY approach to their business’ Facebook strategy, this bears further explanations. There are two ways businesses can reach customers over Facebook – by paying for ads, and by publishing content on their pages. Since ads aren’t affected by this change, we’ll focus more on content – the stuff a business posts on Facebook, with a hope that it will be liked, shared and commented on so that it reaches the larger audience. One of the main goals of content is for it to appear on as much news feeds on Facebook as possible – that’s how customers become aware of the content without having to visit the business’ page to check for it.
What exactly, and under which conditions, appears on people’s newsfeeds is determined by an algorithm – the thing that Facebook changed recently. So, for example, the algorithm can favor content published by pages users like – that’s your business’ page – over the content published by their friends. This would work well for you because it would mean that more of your stories would appear on newsfeeds of people who liked your page. However, that’s not what Facebook’s latest algorithm update was about.
What Does the Latest Change Mean for Business?
It seems that, for a while now, Facebook has been steering its algorithm away from publisher-dominated newsfeeds, Right now, you might experience a roughly 40% drop in reach when compared to this time last year, which means that fewer people are seeing the things you are publishing on Facebook. The company has said that, based on their users’ feedback, they’ve decided to push content published by friends and family to the front, while publishers are taking the back bench. Of course, you’ll still be able to reach your customers, but the posts that manage to break through to the newsfeeds will be the ones that “people care about.” For you, the person managing your business’ Facebook page, this can mean a couple of things.
For one, you can reroute some of the funds from your Facebook content budget into Facebook ads. If you haven’t had a Facebook content budget, you’ll probably see no change in your reach because you didn’t have a lot of it in the first place. Quality content costs, as do ads, and it might be worth your while to figure out how to adapt the balance between the two to offset the algorithm change. Keep in mind, however, that the cost of ads is already rising, and is expected to continue to rise.
Or, you can put even more money in your Facebook content. Yes, it might be harder to get organic traffic now (organic traffic is the traffic you’re not paying for), but that doesn’t mean you should give up on trying to get it altogether. If one thing is obvious for now, it’s that the highest quality content will still manage to find its way to people’s newsfeeds. For that reason, you could try and create content that will engage your potential customers in a level that’s more meaningful to them.
The best thing you could do is keep your ear to the ground and listen to what’s going on. When there’s a buzzword around which you can build a meaningful piece of content, you should be able to pounce on it as soon as possible. You should also pay careful attention to further changes of the algorithm – they are tweaked all the time – and be ready to adapt when something big comes up. Like it or not, that’s the landscape you’ve found yourself in with Facebook, and you’re not the one shaping it.