It’s safe to say that Facebook is in crisis. It remains to be seen however, whether they are working through a crisis of identity or a run-of-the-mill PR crisis. Whatever the root cause, there are serious changes coming out of Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ, and they are poised to have a big effect on businesses’ marketing efforts.
Let’s ignore the thornier and more political issues Facebook faces as a company (not to mention bizarre, pseudo-scientific claims). Instead, let’s focus on what really matters to our customers: the News Feed.
The bad news
Facebook’s algorithm is pushing businesses, brands, and publishers out of the News Feed in favor of content from users’ friends and family. This means that a Facebook page’s followers are even less likely to see a post appear in their News Feed organically. As many Facebook posts were already struggling to reach even 2% of followers, times are tough for brands on Facebook.
What does it mean?
Facebook hopes this bitter pill for businesses proves to be a cure for its ailing user satisfaction scores. After all, happier users make happier followers, which in turn makes happier customers and prospects.
This move is certainly hurting businesses’ impressions and reach volumes right now. However, in the long term, the expectation is that new and existing users will continue to use Facebook as a big part of the way they connect to the world.
In my estimation, it’s a decision too long in coming.
So, what should businesses do?
The first takeaway is this: to connect with your audience on Facebook, ad spend is now essentially table stakes. Depending on your needs, a big budget may not be required, but you should now expect to pay for the privilege to enter your customers’ feeds.
Next, (stop me if you’ve heard this) it’s more important than ever to be social on social media. Posts that feature members of your team or community work that your company is involved in will perform better than ever in this new, relationship- and connection-focused Facebook.
The third tactic you should adopt—or increase focus on—is to post more locally-focused content. Of course, this isn’t something one might conclude from the updates we’ve already been talking about. Instead, the idea comes from a more recent update, which feels a lot like an olive branch from where we’re sitting.
Facebook remains a very valuable way to connect with your audience, but businesses pretty much across the board now have to pay to play.
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