Facebook recently announced that it is (once again) making changes to its algorithm, decreasing page reach and prioritizing posts from family and friends. From a business perspective for Facebook, this change makes sense. The business posts that people see in their News Feeds will come from the organizations that have paid for that privilege. However for small businesses, direct sellers, churches and other nonprofits, this news may be distressing. After all, page posts were already only shown to 3% or less of people who liked your page. With the upcoming change, it’s likely that will go to almost zero.
So what can you do? Is Facebook still a viable tool to use for your organization? Is advertising your only option to reach people on Facebook? Here are some tips to help you use Facebook effectively now, even with the changes.
- Build relationships on Facebook using your personal account. Facebook is telling us that they will prioritize posts from personal accounts over pages. So use your personal account to build relationships with the people who matter most to your organization. This doesn’t mean spamming business messages through your personal account. Instead it means sharing good content related to your business. Tips, recipes, educational articles. Include links to the blog you’ve got on your business website (you do have a blog, right? It’s important!). Be so useful that people want to comment, share and like what you’ve posted. As they interact with your content, they’ll see more of it.
- Share good stuff. Part of Facebook’s announcement said, “If a lot of your referral traffic is the result of people sharing your content and their friends liking and commenting on it, there will be less of an impact than if the majority of your traffic comes directly through page posts. We encourage pages to post things that their audiences are likely to share with their friends.” Know your target market well enough that you know the kind of content that they and their friends will value, and share it often. If you need help figuring that out, why not learn more about Jen Fong Media’s Social Media Marketing services?
- Include sharing buttons on your content on your website. When people read content on your website, is it easy for them to share on Facebook and other networks? You’ll get better reach that way. If your site is built on WordPress, it’s easy to add a plugin with social sharing options. But have them there. It’s a call to action. People might not think of sharing on their own, but if you make it easy and visible, they are more likely to share, which gives you greater reach.
- Use Facebook Groups. When used correctly, Facebook Groups can be a powerful tool, but you must be careful, because they can also be used badly. NEVER add people to a group without asking them first. But if you set up a group that offers value, and invite people to participate, they will be notified by Facebook each time you post. A direct sales friend of mine has done this extremely well. She sold kitchen products, and set up a Facebook group related to cooking. A few times per week, she posts a recipe, a kitchen tip, or other cooking content. Occasionally she’ll tag a few of us if she posts something she knows we’ll particularly like. When there are special deals with her company, she’ll let us know about that too. But it’s not too much. Just a few times a week. And I often find a recipe I would like to try making. Think about how your organization can add value using Facebook Groups.
- Invite your fans to see you first. Sometimes people on Facebook who have liked your page WANT to see what you’re posting, and are disappointed when you don’t show up in their news feed. For these folks, let them know that they can navigate to your page, and click the arrow next the “Liked” button. (See below for a screen shot.) Invite them to choose “See First” to make sure your posts show up for them.
Also, if they click “All On” under Notifications, they can choose the kinds of posts that they would like to be notified about. (If you click either of these screen shots you’ll be taken to my Facebook Page where you can check this out for yourself. While you’re there, why not choose to be notified about my page updates?)
- Make sure you’ve got some “owned media.” Relying on ANY social network for all of your traffic is a mistake. Any social network can change the rules, be here today and gone tomorrow, etc. You are much better off focusing in on media that your organization owns. A key component of this is an email list. At Jen Fong Media, we make sure that we send a note via our email list each week that includes links to some of our latest posts. It’s a way to make sure that people that liked us enough to subscribe get to see what they asked for, and we stay top of mind for when they need marketing help. If you don’t already have one, be sure that you’ve got a lead capture mechanism on your website, that’s visible on every page. And then send that list good stuff regularly. It’s how you build loyalty that’s not affected by the whims of someone else’s network.
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- Advertise. If reaching new people on Facebook is important to your organization, advertising is a good idea. You don’t have to spend a lot (start with $10 or $20/day) to get your message out in front of people. Just keep in mind that people typically need to be touched by your organization 7-15 times before they take any sort of action. Your ads can be one of those touchpoints, and can lead to future business. If you need help creating an Ads campaign, click here to learn more about Jen Fong Media’s Digital Advertising services.
The one thing that seems to be constant with Facebook is change. But organizations that are smart, and provide value, can continue to weather these changes and remain connected to the people who matter most.
How will you adapt to the Facebook algorithm changes? Will it affect your organization? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.
And if you found this content valuable, why not share it? You can use the easy links found below to share with friends on your social networks. Thank you!