19 Jan Facebook and your Small Business

According to a post by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s News Feed is going to see a major overhaul in the near future. After an exhaustingly long year of explosive news (and fake news) sharing on the social network, Facebook titans have finally decided enough is enough. The updated News Feed will prioritize “meaningful connections”, i.e. posts from family members and friends, over news coverage and posts from local businesses. This change will certainly make it easier for Facebook to tighten its grip on the spread of misinformation on the platform, but many local businesses are concerned about how they’ll connect with their customers on Facebook going forward.

Citing community feedback and research into the social impact of social media, the Facebook team is promising not to let public content drown out posts from those we know. Unfortunately for small businesses, a Like or Follow from your customers may not be enough for your content to appear in their News Feed anymore. Once the changes are implemented, users will have to actively prioritize content from their favorite public pages if they want to see it in their News Feed. Per a blog from Adam Mosseri, the Head of News Feed, “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.” If this setting is user friendly and your customers don’t mind the extra step, the impact on your social media presence may be minute. However, News Feed settings like “most recent posts first” or “top stories” have a tendency to reset themselves upon signing out, so your business may not be able to rely on this option alone.

Businesses will have to begin rethinking their marketing strategies to keep up with the new distribution of content on Facebook. To keep customers engaged, public content creators may have to push more offline engagement to bring their customers back online. Sending email blasts with social media links, creating incentives to follow, and pushing more live video and image-based content can help generate active audience growth. There’s also the option to pay-to-play. Boosting or sponsoring posts ensures they are seen by a certain number of users within a specific time period. Strategically timed boosts can grab the attention of your audience a few times a month without breaking the bank.

Though marketing on Facebook is going to get a little harder for small businesses, the updated News Feed won’t spell the end. Reworking your marketing strategy, bringing in digital experts, and finding new ways to engage your customer base both on and offline can help keep your content at the top of your customer’s News Feeds. And if all else fails, there’s always Google Posts.

Bruce Freides