I am writing this on a day when Facebook has announced what can be perceived as yet another blow to small businesses which rely on organic engagement to grow their audience.
Following on from last month's algorithm update which meant pages that use "like and share" or "tag a friend" posts would be penalised, this morning Mark Zuckerberg announced an ongoing update that could mean all posts from pages will potentially fall on deaf ears (so to speak). Instead, Facebook will be prioritising personal content to help us connect with each other, rather than brands.
I, personally, don't have a problem with that approach. It's what Facebook was started for, however, they did introduce pages for a reason and I assume people follow certain pages because they are interested in the content. So, should they, in fact, be giving us the option to tailor the content we see from the pages we like using keywords or something akin? I think so.
But, Facebook has its own agenda, so, what can we do to work with Facebook in 2018 to ensure our businesses are seen?
This is what Facebook's algorithm updates over the last year or so have been pointing towards. They earn a lot of money from Facebook ads so, naturally, they're going to want us to advertise and have been gradually making it harder and harder for businesses to reach a wide organic audience. I find it interesting to note that even big media companies only get a handful of interactions on their posts, proving they struggle too, despite having a large following.
According to The Independent, this morning's announcement won't affect Facebook advertising, suggesting to me that this is their end goal.
But it's not such a bad thing. I still believe Facebook advertising is the best use of budget for small businesses as it's so well targeted. No other platform can be utilised to such an extent, so if you haven't already, set aside some marketing budget for Facebook ads.
As Zuckerberg admits, video has exploded on social platforms and it's clearly the kind of content that people want to see. So, if you're spending money on advertising, give the people what they want.
Maybe I should be recording this post as a video?
However, if you're still creating organic content, be careful about what you're posting. Think about your business community and what they want to know.
Are Facebook Groups the loophole in this algorithm update? I doubt it... I expect this is what Facebook is ultimately encouraging businesses to do. And again, it's one of their original features which is making a comeback.
Facebook Groups allow you to build a community around your brand. By posting in a group your followers are notified that there's a new conversation going on and therefore actively encourages people to look and interact. Plus, groups are hidden from the public so it makes the timeline much tidier.
Therefore, you're much more likely to reach your audience organically through a group than a page.
Decrease the amount we post
This is my wild card. It goes against everything that Facebook has encouraged us to do in the past few years. They wanted more and more and more content. But, as Zuckerberg admits in his post, he expects these updates to decrease the amount of time people spend on Facebook, but wants that time to be spent productively.
So, is this latest update actually encouraging us to post less and be wiser about what we do share? Especially if that content won't get anywhere organically?
To me, this latest update seems to be pointing back to that old saying: quality over quantity and I shall follow with interest...