Facebook has been announcing a lot of updates that are going to have a pretty drastic, potentially negative, impact on many businesses.
And if you use Facebook in any capacity as a free social media platform, with the intent of reaching your community, you might be pretty frustrated with the recent updates that have been announced.
If you’re like most business owners, you use Facebook as a way to reach your audience ands stay in touch with them. That’s all fine and good, except if you’re using Facebook pages, you might have noticed the continuous decline in organic reach posts have been getting.
Facebook’s organic reach is at an all-time low.
In fact, approximately less than 2% of our entire audience gets to see the posts we make on our Facebook pages. (tweet this)
Well, that sucks. BUT if you’re doing a decent job at getting engagement on your posts, you might be one of the lucky ones who get more organic reach, since Facebook is ruled by quality of the content. If you consistently get good organic engagement, Facebook will see you as a page that provides quality content and therefore give you more organic reach. That’s how that works.
But, what if you do get a decent amount of organic reach (or you weren’t that disappointed by it yet), here’s yet another blow for entrepreneurs that Facebook will be putting into effect in the year new: a semi-ban on promotional posts.
What? I guess semi-ban is a weird way to put it, but basically Facebook will be making an even more of a conscious effort to reduce the amount of promotional posts that end up in people’s news feeds. That means, for any promotional post you create on your Facebook page, it will get seen by an EVEN smaller number of people.
Starting January, there will be no more free promotional posts allowed on Facebook. (tweet this)
According to Facebook, here are three criteria that make a post be deemed “too promotional:”
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Is this update going to affect a lot of people? Yes.
More than 80% of small companies using social media to promote their businesses list Facebook as their top marketing tool, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter, according to a recent survey of 2,292 small businesses by Webs, a digital services division of Vistaprint. (Wall Street Journal)
So this update is going to affect a LOT of businesses. It’s the time to take a good hard look at your social media strategy… and if you use Facebook a LOT to promote your products for free.. well your free ride is gonna be over, and soon.
Are you freaking out? I know. It sucks. But it’s not the end of the world.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm_8g2R0ykI]
Are you frustrated with Facebook’s constant updates for business? Here’s what to do instead. (tweet this)
Are you really surprised there’s another Facebook update like this? I mean, Facebook is a business just like mine and yours. Sure, they change their algorithm more than a teenage girl’s moods do, but that’s just how they do things. Keeping it interesting… I guess. Whatever. Point is, they can do what they want. They rule the internet. What are you gonna do? Leave? Go ahead. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself struggling more than before.
So, instead of freaking out. What can you do? Here are some thoughts…
1. Start using Facebook Ads strategically
It’s time to stop thinking of Facebook as a free advertising network. It’s not free. The free ride is over. But that’s not to mean you should cry about it, just learn to embrace Facebook ads already! Facebook ads are the most user friendly ads that have the ability to reach a HUGE range of people at a low cost.
Practically everyone is on Facebook. Everyone uses it. And that makes Facebook ads so powerful, we have the ability to target anyone we want (and get quite detailed in the targeting as well). Granted, the pricing of the ads are supposed to raise along with the activation of the “no promotional posts” rule but I doubt it will be a huge jump right away.
I’ve been using Facebook Ads since they came out and use them on a daily basis for my clients and absolutely love them, we get wonderful results – classes get filled, people sign up for the lead magnets, and subscribers buy the products. It’s a not-to-miss place to distribute your promotional messaging. Just do it strategically, not randomly.
2. Create engaging content
Well, since it’s basically pointless to do promotional posts on our Facebook pages now (which doesn’t mean we’ll quit trying to make them work, right? right? haha. I don’t quit), but it’s a good idea to look at Facebook through a different lens – think of it as an engagement hub, rather than a promotional hub (which is what you should be thinking of it as anyway).
Since Facebook wants engaging content, give them that. It’s all about your people anyway. Make content that they would want to see. Fun graphics. Behind the scenes outtakes. All of it. If you’re strapped and drawing a blank, these 31 ideas should help.
3. Facebook page adds to Social Proof
Have you heard of the term “social proof”? I talk about it in my free Google+ video and it’s true, social proof is something that is important to think about. It’s basically your way of getting online strangers to begin to trust you, ever so slightly, because they see that others have trusted you as well. This can be done by having a decent number of Facebook likes first of all – people tend to check your Facebook stats first to see whether you’re legit or not. Then, they look at your engagement to see whether you’re still active and how much others still like you (and to make the judgement whether your number of likes is genuine or not).
The first place consumers go when looking for Social Proof is Facebook. Be there to find! (tweet this)
Basically, it’s easier to sell someone on who you are when you have a big Facebook community than if you have like 10 Facebook likes. Sad but true. And at this point in time, as much as you’d like to say that “no, people don’t look at Facebook anymore” it’s not exactly true. Facebook is still the #1 social media platform and it is still the #1 place people check to learn more about a company from a social standpoint.
So leaving Facebook behind might not be such a good idea unless you’re already a VERY highly established person with a big list so that you don’t need to worry about creating a name for yourself. Otherwise, get off your high horse and use Facebook. It’s not so bad.
4. Focus on email list building!
Which brings me to my final point – list building. As much as I shouldn’t be saying this, because I AM a big social media nerd, email marketing is still the #1 thing you should be focusing on in terms of community growth. Email is where you capture the people, truly engage with them, and develop that know, like, and trust factor.
It’s where you have their full attention. It’s where you can make sales happen (almost on demand, depending on how big your list actually is). It’s the holy grail of a successful online business and if you aren’t focusing on it fully, you have to shift your attention to it right away.
Social media isn’t a direct sales machine, EMAIL is! Focus on list building with social to support it. (tweet this)
So what role does social media play then? Honestly, yes – social media is a great community builder. But it’s not made for direct sales. Sure, there is an ROI associated with social media but it is not a DIRECT one, usually. Unless you’re doing Facebook Ads with a custom audience. But otherwise, it’s a lead generator, not necessarily a sales machine in itself. Social media is meant to SUPPORT an email marketing channel. It’s meant to work together.
That’s the beauty of integrated digital marketing. It all works together. In harmony.
Aww.. Now we got cute. *Sigh* I love this stuff…
Hope this calmed you down a bit if you were freaking out about the Facebook changes. It’s not easy to handle the updates, I know. But the more prepared you are and the more you adapt with the right mindset, the better off you’ll be.
I’m here for ya if you need me.