By now, you’ve probably heard that Facebook is going to make news publishers work harder to have access to their audience. While details are fuzzy, it looks like the Facebook algorithm will shuffle the news feed and favor posts from people you know, versus brands and publishers you follow. The social giant claims this is to help them combat the spread of fake news and include more valuable information to people. It’s almost certainly about generating more ad revenue.
This is scaring a lot of people, especially online publications who derive a ton of traffic from Facebook right now. It’s a legitimate challenge to their current business model. Should you be worried, too? Let’s look at what’s happening and what you can do about it to figure that out.
We’ve Heard This Song Before
This isn’t the first time every business has been up in arms about the Facebook algorithm. In fact, tweaks are made constantly to ensure the quality of the product. This is just the latest systemic change in a long list
Here’s the truth, though. Your Facebook audience has always been rented. You don’t control access to your fans and followers. Facebook does. Which is why we advise against our clients even caring about vanity metrics like page likes and engagements. The only numbers that really matter are leads and sales, and all the indicators and percentages in between.
You were always better off building your own audience and customer database. This new update should just push you a little further in that direction. If you still decide to prioritize Facebook interactions, there are other techniques you can use to help get the exposure you need. It’ll be more work, sure. Hope isn’t lost, though.
What You Should Do On Facebook Now
In the near term, don’t change a thing. Keep using Facebook for customer service and to deliver quality valuable updates to your fans. Provide value and foster engagement and you’ll come out ahead, regardless of the Facebook algorithm.
You should, however, alter your expectations of how much business Facebook can deliver for you. Stop caring about page like counts, if you even still cared about them. They’re meaningless. Only 1-2% of those people will see each post. You’d need to share hundreds of valuable photos, links and articles to get any lift out of the new Facebook algorithm. Probably not the best use of your time. Or ours.
However, if you’re the face of your brand, say an entrepreneur, you could leverage the extra value Facebook intends to give personal connections to showcase your brand through your own account. Your personal friends matter more than your business page followers. Share as much as you can on your own Facebook and you should still see a good amount of exposure. That’s practical advice for many small or leader-driven operations. Less so the larger and more amorphous you get.
Maybe now’s the time to branch out, too. Consider how you can leverage Instagram for your business, or migrate your thought leadership over to LinkedIn, where it’s actually valued. Even take another look at Twitter, which is trying hard not to become 100% algorithmic while still delivering a real-time experience.
Of course, there are always Facebook ads. Those are still going to work. We know how to make them work, too. With so many ways to target them, you can find your audience and pay a nominal fee to reach them. That’s what Facebook wants, anyway.
Don’t Let The Facebook Algorithm Kill Your Business
Given the company’s history, this shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. You could see this coming. They are a profit-driven public company with dividends to pay, after all.
If your social media strategy is already on point, then you shouldn’t fear any changes. There’s still plenty of value to be found out there. You might have to adjust your expectations for how much free exposure you’re going to get and adapt your techniques to maximize your reach, though. That’s just the world we live in. Don’t blame the algorithms if you can’t keep up.