2018 Changes to Facebook for Small Businesses

In January of 2018, Facebook announced changes to their platform, and the changes affect businesses that use Facebook for marketing.  Their intentions are respectable, and as businesses we can adapt to the new rules. 

In an effort to avoid the fate of MySpace, Facebook wants to make sure that visitors feel that visiting Facebook lets them to connect with their family and friends, and that means limiting the amount of business posts that are in the news feed.  As a result, they are planning to split Facebook into two feeds:

1. The News Feed: Posts from friends, private groups you belong to and sponsored posts (paid advertising)

2. The Explore Feed: Posts from pages (what most businesses have, also called Fan Pages)

Facebook wants visitors to enjoy the Explore feed so they have put rules in place to make sure that only the "best" posts from pages are seen.  The algorithm that determines what is "best" takes the following into account:

1. Video - Facebook rewards video with high completion rates.  This means that most of the people who watch the video stick it out to at least the halfway mark.  So, for a 60 second video, your video post will do better if most people watch to at least the 30 second mark.

2. Engagement - this is marketing speak for posts that get a lot of likes, shares and/or comments.  Facebook considers posts with these three results "good" posts that people want to see.  Take that into account when creating posts - is this something that my customers will like, share and/or comment on?

3. Authenticity - More marketing speak for ads that are not trying to trick people.  A term called "click-bait" describes ads that entice people to engage as part of a promotion or quiz.  E.g. "where do you want to go on vacation?  click like for Europe or love for Mexico"  This also applies to using a giveaway to encourage people to reply.  "Win a free widget by sharing this post, commenting below and tagging 5 of your friends"  These tactics will now be penalized by the Facebook algorithm.

What can you do to get the most out of Facebook for your business?

1. Schedule your posts directly in Facebook and not through a 3rd party app like Buffer or Hootsuite.

2. Upload videos to Facebook instead of posting a YouTube link.

3. Stop paying to boost posts and use that money to buy Facebook ads (sponsored posts).

4. Ask your customers to select the "see first" option on your business page.

5. Ask your customers for their opinions, recommendations, feedback about real topics & questions and don't use click bait tactics in an attempt to get engagement.

6. Get people off of Facebook and onto to your website (which you own) and collect a name and an email address.  More on why email marketing is still king in a future post (HINT: you own your list. You don't own your Facebook followers).

7. If it fits for your brand, create a Facebook Group of your customers, or prospective customers.  The new rules around limiting posts do not apply to private groups.  You can use the group to get to know your customers (current & future) and let them get to know you.

8. Plan your posts in a marketing calendar and put thought into each post.  Don't post just because you have not in a while and feel its time.  Act like a pro.  Professionals don't wing it.  They plan & execute.

Download our free guide to marketing on Facebook in 2018 from our Marketing Tools Page