How Your Business Can Help Overcome Facebook’s News Feed Changes
This week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had some bad news for businesses and brands. In a post shared on his personal account, Zuckerberg wrote about his desires to “fix” the platform and help bring it back to its roots. To do this, he says users will “see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.” He went on to say that the content that will be emphasized “should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Obviously this poses a major threat to entrepreneurs that rely on Facebook to keep in touch with their customers and spread the word about their small business. Nonetheless there are a few different tactics you can try to retain your place in followers’ news feeds (or update them in other ways). Here are some ideas:
Ask your followers to change their settings
One thing you might not realize about Facebook is that, when users choose to “like” your page, they’re subscribed using the default settings. However fans can actually choose to increase the frequency with which they see your posts by changing those settings. Therefore, assuming you can still get a hold of your current followers, it can’t hurt to ask them to make the adjustment and continuing seeing your posts.
What you’ll want to direct them to do is visit your page, click the “Following” button at the top, and change from the default setting to “See first” under the “In Your News Feed” section. You’ll also want to have them ensure that their notifications are turned on so they’ll know when you go live (more on that shortly). This is a good message to start sharing now, including detailing directions in a blog post, on Facebook itself, and across your other social networks in order to get the word out and keep your lifeline to these followers open.
Try live video
Announcing Facebook’s intentions with this update, Zuckerberg made it clear that he wants to push content that promotes interaction. So while sharing links may no longer get your page the kind of reach you might like, it stands to reason that Facebook would still prioritize its Live video. In fact the company’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri said as much in a blog post about the changes, noting, “Live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
With that, if you haven’t already experimented with using live video on Facebook, now may be the time to start. Luckily all you really need to get started creating live videos is a smartphone, although you will of course want some content ideas as well. Perhaps a good place to start is going live and explaining the changes to your followers and asking what they’d like to see on your page and in your live streams.
Promote your e-mail list and other outlets
Given the hubbub surrounding the news feed update, now is the perfect time to promote your other social media accounts beyond Facebook and especially push your e-mail list. Although e-mail may seem antiquated in the age of social media, the truth is that it’s still a powerful way to directly reach your customers — something that’s obviously proven quite important. If you don’t already have an e-mail list, be sure to look into services like MailChimp, AWeber, and GetResponse that will integrate with your website and help you manage your subscriptions.
Sadly the final option is one that’s become increasingly important in recent years: paying to promote your posts. It’s worth remembering that this isn’t the first time Facebook has tweaked their algorithm much to the dismay of business owners and publishers. In each of these cases, shelling out to “boost” your content has seemed like the only way to really reach your followers.
The good news here is that it often doesn’t take spending a fortune to receive a sizeable reach on your posts. Still these mini-investments can certainly add up. Furthermore it’s unclear if boosting your posts will still be as effective once these latest changes take effect. Because of this it will likely take some experimentation on your part to see what types of content garner the interactions Zuckerberg and Facebook are looking for and then seeing how those posts perform when boosted.
There’s no doubt that Zuckerberg’s announcement regarding the Facebook news feed updates should worry small business owners, bloggers, and brands. That said, until the changes roll out and some data is collected, it’s hard to say exactly how pages will be hit. In the meantime it’s worth asking your followers to adjust their settings, creating a plan for Facebook Live content, pushing your other social accounts and e-mail list, and experimenting with Facebook advertising. Good luck to all of us!
Also published on Medium.