Do you use Facebook to market your business? If so, pay attention. Massive changes are taking place on the platform that will impact your marketing efforts. These Facebook changes represent some pretty big shifts and will impact how you use the social site right now.
Reach on Facebook has dropped considerably over the years, starting back in 2012. On January 11, Facebook announced that reach would drop again for business pages. Adam Mosseri stated the following in a Facebook News article:
Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed those comments in a post the same evening:
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
In terms of the types of business page posts that will receive good placement in the news feed, Mosseri answered this way:
Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.
Is Video Still the Answer?
Mosseri’s answer has lead to some conversation and debate amongst social media marketers. In 2017, Facebook let it be known that Live video, followed by pre-recorded video posted natively, was the best type of content to post because it would receive the highest reach.
That fact and Mosseri’s statement above have created some confusion that video is still a good way to go to reach fans. But if you read the wording, Mosseri does not say that posts with video will show higher. He says, “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.” He uses video as an example of one content form that seems to generate conversation.
In fact, Mosseri clarifies his statement in an interview with Wired Magazine on January 13:
There will be less video. Video is an important part of the ecosystem. It’s been consistently growing. But it’s more passive in nature. There’s less conversation on videos, particularly public videos.
This is a reversal of Facebook’s earlier position on video. Now, it has to generate conversation to get more reach.
How Can Marketers Use Facebook Now?
So the questions remains, then, what will work on Facebook moving forward? We can pick up some definite clues by what Mosseri said to Wired.
- “We want news feed to be a place where people have conversations, where they connect with people.” Thus content that generates conversation and comments will perform well in news feed. “Comments are more valuable than Likes.”
- “There will be more friend content and family content…There will be less content directly from (professional) pages.” This all seems to confirm the idea that posts from company pages will be virtually invisible. So perhaps posting engaging content from personal profiles could be an answer.
- “There will also be more group content. Group content tends to inspire a lot of conversation.” Groups are great places for businesses to attract potential customers around a central theme. However building a group and keeping it engaged around a business theme requires a lot of time and effort. Smaller businesses may not be able to commit those resources.
- Facebook ads and boosted posts were not mentioned in the original Facebook announcement, or the Mosseri’s interview with Wired. So one has to assume that these are still acceptable ways for businesses to push content out.
While Mosseri emphasized that this change was significant and more than a tweak, it is not the end of the world for businesses. After all, reach on Facebook was already abysmal. Pages were reaching less than 1 percent of their fans prior to this change. If reach is now less than that, what has really changed? Reach is still bad! Using paid options on the site remains the best way around it.
This should also be a call-to-action to action to recommit your brand to its website. Be sure it is search optimized and can be found in Google searches. Create new content and upload it to your website on a regular basis. Your website is your owned media where you get to dictate how the content will be handled. Facebook and other social sites are rented media and can make changes on you whenever they choose.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.