I’m all for putting the social back in social media. After all, social media for business is not about hardcore direct sales. It’s about building relationships, trust and a brand that people relate to. It turns strangers into friends and buyers.
As marketers and business people it’s too easy to lose sight of the fact that pushing our own agenda on social media doesn’t work. So, like it or not, Facebook is dialing back on types of posts that impact business pages, especially post that push people away from social interactions.
Facebook accumulates a mountain of data on how people use the channel. There is, or should I say was, a growing trend on Facebook for junk, click bait, selling and links that take people off the Facebook platform. Facebook is reversing that trend by putting social interactions ahead of those things that do not focus on family and friends in a positive way. That means big changes for business pages. The question is, will you be one of the few that runs with the changes and gets ahead of the pack?
How is Facebook addressing the changes?
Facebook thinks that it can make the platform more social-centric with changes in their algorithm. Their position is that social media needs to focus on relationships while finding a balance for business. That means business pages are going to have to make adjustments to maintain visibility and organic views.
A business page will have to change their ways or have no organic visibility at all, especially if Facebook makes good on their plan to create a second business newsfeed. The current newsfeed will be for social, family and friends type of posts. Businesses will have to pay to be seen on people’s personal newsfeeds. The second feed is where the posts for business pages will appear in the order, that they follow Facebook’s best practices. In European test markets, fewer than 15% who visited their newsfeed, visited the business feed. Business pages will be jockeying to figure out Facebook’s rating system.
For example, business pages that do mostly sales posts tend to lose fans or find it difficult to gain new ones. With the changes that are being rolled out over 2018, even fewer people will see the posts on those pages.
I’ve seen this trend on clients business pages over and over. They get a few thousand likes and then start to use more sales driven posts. Their ‘unlikes’ grow and their new ‘likes’ decline. This unlike metric allows you to see, almost immediately, if this is the case for your business page.
The other reason for a significant increase in ‘unlikes’ is your audience is too broad, too general, not targeted. Your content can’t please such a broad audience. Eventually, people will self-select off your page. Your audience needs to appreciate your brand and wants what you have, not just nibble around the edges.
In the case of too broad an audience, it’s ok to undergo the loss of unengaged fans. That way you can focus on building the right kind fan base that brings real potential customers.
So what can business pages do to keep ahead of Facebook’s changes?
You work hard to build a following. You keep them the same way you got them and by adapting to the new algorithm changes. So it’s still vital to do quality posts like blog articles, that are relevant but not too self-promoting. You need fun facts, human interest stories about your company, local happenings, dosed with a little humor. Keep people entertained and engaged with your brand. Give them a sense of your company’s “personality” and who your people are. Make your business human on social media.
Of course, you want people to buy from you. But on social media, fans need to get a positive vibe about your company too. And make sure you’re doing the top three things, that will score points with Facebook as a business page:
- Number one by a longshot is Facebook live video. Not only does Facebook give you kudos for doing live videos, but they also provide the most substantial dose of organic reach that gets people Liking and commenting and sharing in the moment
- Number two is video. And not just any kind of video. It has to be video that does not send people off Facebook, and especially not too another social channel. So if all your video is on YouTube it’ll kill your reach, even if you do a promoted post. What that means is, you need to build a video library on your Facebook page to promote the videos you want to share with people.
- Another important thing to stay competitive for your business page is, to do fewer links (of all kinds) that send people off Facebook. You can send people to your website to read your blogs and to go to your store… that’s okay. Facebook has all kinds of ways to help you build website conversions for your business. But the third-party articles and things from other sites should be used sparingly.
In a previous blog “The 3-Stages of Social Media”, we talked about building your business page strategically. Doing the right kind of promotion in each stage. With the changes that Facebook is implementing, it’s more important than ever to build your brand strategically. That means building a base and creating brand awareness before you start trying to sell people on your product or service. It means having enough engagement that Facebook sends organic traffic to your page. It means setting up your page to produce ROI for the long run.
- No click baiting/junk posting
- Only us targeted content that keeps your fans engaged
- Balance your posts by following the 80% non-sales to 20% sales rule. This avoids ‘unlikes’ and builds engagement. Pages plagued with ‘unlikes’ have very little organic traffic. And if Facebook implements the Business Page news feed, this will be a critical metric to control.
- Regular use of Facebook live video. And this one shouldn’t be too much of a hardship and it can be fun. Live demos, snippets of events, birthday celebrations in the office are a few examples
- Regular use of video that your fans watch on your page versus being sent off Facebook, especially to another social channel like YouTube
- In general, fewer posts that take people off Facebook. For example, third-party articles, videos regardless of where they are hosted, offers that did not send traffic to your website
- Paid promotion. Facebook is the number one platform for promoting your business, products, and services. In many cases, businesses are more successful on Facebook, then they are using Google’s ads. Facebook’s Ads Manager as one of the best online sales platform in the world. They’ve built that because they want businesses to do paid promotion. That benefits them, but it’s one of the best marketing tools on the Internet today, that businesses can use to capture market share. Ads Manager is a win/win tool.
Facebook Ads Manager is worth learning. It produces a ton of sales for many industries if it’s done right. But that’s a topic for another day.