On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement regarding change to Facebook's newsfeed. A number of social media personalities have raised alarms about these changes, which we feel are simply unwarranted. 

As a response to these comments and to avoid dis-information, we sent the below message to our current and past clients. If you have any questions about these latest changes or would like to review your social media strategy, please contact us.

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SUMMARY

  1. Facebook has announced changes that will reduce organic reach for business pages. They are putting greater emphasis on people to people conversations and content. 
  2. To counteract the affects of these changes, we recommend reaching out to followers, and asking them to mark your page as "See First."
  3. It should come as no surprise that Facebook regularly makes changes. Organic reach for Business Pages has steadily decreased over the past several years.
  4. We don't yet know the full extent of these changes. However, we do know that Facebook Ads are the best way for businesses to engage Facebook users.
  5.  If you have good engagement, going forward, you should carefully monitor your Facebook Insights or Analytics to identify changes.
  6. If you are in the process of changing or initiating a Facebook strategy, you may want to put those plans on hold or re-assess them, until we understand these changes better.
  7. As an alternative to Facebook pages, Facebook Groups and Events are a great way to engage Facebook Users around a key topic or local activities.
  8. At Be Brilliant, we still believe strongly in Facebook as a platform for building brand awareness and lead generation.
  9. What these changes underscore is the importance of knowing who your target customer is and messaging them in ways that spark conversations and interactions.
  10. Stay-tuned. Please LIKE our Facebook page and mark us as SEE FIRST on Facebook (see below to learn how).

About recent announcements regarding the Facebook newsfeed and its effect on Business Pages.

As you may have already heard, yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement about changes to the Facebook news feed. Since this statement was released, social media experts have been busy writing articles and posting videos about us being at "Facebook Zero," otherwise known as the point at which business pages receive no organic reach and must rely solely on advertising to be seen.

Here’s a very simple run-down to help you make sense of it all:

What’s happening?

In the coming weeks, Facebook will implement changes that will change the mix of content it presents on its users’ newsfeeds. These changes will further prioritize content that “spark(s) conversation.” According to the Facebook announcement, "Pages may see their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease,” and “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution.”

This begs an important question for businesses: “Can people still see posts from the Pages they follow at the top of News Feed?” The answer is “Yes. People who want to see more posts from Pages they follow can choose 'See First' in News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages.”

Ask your page followers to mark your business page as "SEE FIRST."

Why is Facebook making these changes?

There are a number of reasons Facebook is making these changes. First, it's important to remember that Facebook has always been making changes and will continue to make changes. Facebook is a for-profit company, and they are going to prioritize doing whatever is best for their company. That should come as no surprise to anyone.

It should also come as no surprise that Facebook is restricting organic reach for business pages. Organic reach for pages has been on a steady decline since 2011, and Facebook signaled back in 2016 that it would continue to decline. Marketers are' panicking' because it serves to get blog views, but anyone worth their salt knew these changes were coming.

Facebook is clearly saying that user experience is its biggest priority. However, we know that Facebook’s revenue comes primarily from ads. So we expect to see some big changes to the ad platform, as well.

What does this all mean?

We really don’t know yet. Right now, many people are speculating about what these changes mean especially for small business pages. But nobody really knows for sure. The truth is that for the past several years, Facebook has been taking steps to reduce the amount of newsfeed content coming from business pages. In 2017, Facebook made it clear to businesses of any size that paid advertising was going to be the favored way to reach audiences on Facebook. As a result, most business pages saw their organic (unpaid) reach dwindle to very small percentages.

What should you do?

The answer to this depends on how much your business relies on Facebook to engage with customers and prospects, and to generate new leads.

If you have been spending a lot of time and effort to post content to your Facebook page, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your Facebook Insights to see how these changes affect the organic engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc). If you have historically had a lot of engagement on your page, you will likely see that fall dramatically. One way to combat this is to give your audience instructions on how to add your page to their “See First” listings.

If you are in the planning process to start using Facebook to reach customers, we would advise you to reassess your plans. Starting or re-starting a Facebook Business Page, at this time, may result in a lot of wasted effort. We would advise you to wait until more information is available.

As an alternative to starting a business page, you may want to consider starting a Facebook Group aligned with the needs of your customers. Active Facebook Groups tend to get better placement in the newsfeed than business pages. It’s also a way of creating a community focused on a topic or issue related to your expertise, service, or product.

Is this Facebook Zero? Should I give up on Facebook as a Marketing channel for my small business?

While it is too early to weigh in on this accurately, we definitely do not regard this as the end of small business marketing on Facebook. However, the rules are certainly changing and will require a new strategy in order to continue getting positive results.

We have known for a while now that Facebook wants businesses to pay for promotion. Facebook ads are still a great value and provide ample opportunities for small businesses who use them correctly. As a Facebook Advertiser, Be Brilliant believes in the platform and we have seen great results both for ourselves and for our clients.

However, we do believe that businesses will need to be more careful about how they use Facebook Ads. We definitely recommend focusing on ads that are relevant and compelling for users. Ads that promote end-user benefits to a specific target audience are likely going to be more successful than ads that simply push promotions or special offers.

Next Steps

For the time being, we recommend (if you are not already doing so) you ensure that any content you are posting on Facebook is carefully thought out. You need to be clear about who you are speaking to, how you are helping them, and what action you want them to take. The more precise you are in targeting your customers, the easier it will be to reach them and engage them.

Be sure to focus on content that sparks thought and conversation. Ask for opinions and advice, take a position on a topic, but, whatever you do, do not be pushy or salesy. Try to engage and promote discussion. Remember, it’s not about you or your product/service, it’s about the customer and how you solve their problems.

If we can help you reassess your Facebook strategy or show you how to balance your Facebook strategy with other platforms such as Pay-per-click advertising, SEO, or other social media channels, please get in touch with us.