Have you heard? Facebook is changing, and it might affect you – and your business.

Since the 2016 US Election, Facebook has been blamed for enabling fake stories, Russian propaganda and “filter bubbles” – which is basically what happens when you begin to see only the content you like and agree with, while Facebook hides opposing points of view. Yup, you heard me. Facebook is the guy that determines what you think is important to read. 

Anyways, our buddy Mark Zuckerberg clearly sees the problem in this, and has recently announced a major change to our Facebook News Feed. From now on, Facebook will prioritize posts from friends and family over publishers and brands. What a relief! Perhaps now we will quit with the mindless scrolling. Facebook itself acknowledged that passive consumption of information — surfing shopping websites or reading news articles — is often bad for your mood.

But wait, what does this mean for marketers and small businesses just like you? Those who rely on Facebook to advertise and promote their business? Well, since it’s so new, experts aren’t exactly sure yet, but what we do know is that your content likely won’t spread as far. I’m willing to guess it means you’ll need to rethink your social media strategy.

Facebook is changing their algorithms so you will see more posts from friends that have spurred lively debates in the comments or have received more likes and shares. It’s intended to encourage more interactions, which is – after all – the purpose of Facebook, right? To be social? Users are more likely to share details about their own lives if they see others doing the same, and so, promoting organic content begets more organic content.

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While most businesses are good at being social on Facebook, they lack the ability, time or skill to generate organic content – content that gets those likes and shares. No, this doesn’t mean a “share this for a chance to win!” style of promotion content. It’s important to start conversations and post relevant content for your followers. As mentioned in a previous post, consider using the 80/20 rule. Make 80% of your content a mix of non-promotional content: images, info graphics, blog posts from other sites, live videos or articles that relate to your business and that you know your followers are interested in. Encourage your followers to share their opinions too. The other 20% of your posts can be those good old-fashioned promotional posts.

The good news is that those who still want to see posts from their favourite brands and trusted, wonderful bloggers (one of whose blog posts you may be reading at this very moment) will be able to. The options under the News Feed tab on Facebook will allow users to prioritize the pages (and friends) whose posts they are most interested in. Conversations stemming from live videos, celebrities’ posts, private groups and other highly interactive post types will be among those highlighted on the new News Feed.

Zuckerberg says Facebook has studied academic research and concluded that social media is only good for users’ wellbeing if they use it to “connect with people we care about”. So get your followers to care. Focus less on promotion and more on conversation. Connect with your customer and all will be well.

 

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