For months now, I've bit my tongue as page owners & social media managers continue complaining about Facebook.
I used to criticize these folks -- calling them out whenever I thought they were misguided.
Surprise, surprise -- nobody liked that guy!
Apparently complaining about complainers makes you a complainer too. Oops!
So I stopped.
But today I can't bite my tongue any longer
I just HAVE to let some steam off about something that's bugging the crap out of me: Complaints about changes to the news feed algorithm impacting Facebook business pages
Enough is enough!
RANT: I Mean It This Time, STOP Complaining About Facebook!
Why page owners are complaining
The recent bouts of bitching started when Facebook announced that text updates from business pages would get less reach than before.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
The goal of every update to News Feed is to show people the most interesting stories at the top of their feed and display them in the best way possible. We regularly run tests to work out how to make the experience better.
Through testing, we have found that when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves. In fact, in our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends it led to on average 9 million more status updates written each day. Because of this, we showed people more text status updates in their News Feed.
Over time, we noticed that this effect wasn't true for text status updates from Pages. As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types.
This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.
That last sentence is what ticked off many Facebook page owners:
Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates ...
I immediately heard a chorus of folks predicting the imminent demise of Facebook -- and that it's time to give Google+ some serious thought... again!
Come on... really?
Did you read Facebook's entire announcement?
Because it's actually GREAT news for the businesses that are running their pages properly!
... they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.
Did you catch that?
As a page owner, you may see an increase in engagement on photos, videos and (most importantly) link posts!
Gaming the Gamers
The real reason Facebook made this algorithm change is to stop page owners who are trying to game the news feed by posting ugly text updates with text links -- as seen in this example:
Marketers started posting these updates in droves last year because it was widely believed they got more eyeballs, aka Facebook reach.
These unappealing posts will not get more reach or clicks. And they won't drive more traffic to your website -- which should be the top priority for your Facebook marketing plan.
Instead, from now on you should just share your links as, yes, link posts!
>> Click to Tweet <<
Especially now that they show a full-width image preview in the news feed:
Personally I'm thrilled about this.
Because I'm sick of watching big pages try to game the system according the latest algorithm rumor.
From now on, it seems, posting your links AS LINK POSTS will drive more traffic to your website,
So stop trying to trick Facebook by posting your link as a status!
Don't focus on the wrong things
For too long, the focus of Facebook page owners has been solely on how to increase engagement (Likes, comments & shares).
Don't get me wrong -- engagement is great! It's a vital part of running any successful Facebook page. But it's not the reason your company connects with fans on Facebook.
>> Click to Tweet <<
This image from the Facebook Answerman hopefully explains what I mean:
Look, I love it when people engage with posts -- and nothing beats posting something that gets tons of Likes, comments & shares.
But remember -- that's not the end goal!
You're running a business & the goal of your business is to make money.
So the main focus of your Facebook page should be driving traffic to your website -- where you can close sales.
>> Click to Tweet <<
Stop complaining about FREE rent on Facebook!
People complaining about Facebook changing the news feed algorithm should keep in mind that they've been using Facebook to market their business for years -- for FREE.
Facebook doesn't charge you to start a business page -- and there is no fee to add apps, post images, run contests or publish status updates.
Where else in the real world can you set up shop for free?
Free rent, utilities & advertising for a brick-and-mortar store?!
I don't think so.
UnMarketing's Scott Stratten spoke about this concept during a recent keynote at New Media Expo:
This video speaks volumes!
Watch it again! :)
Posts = Ads
Let's get real & just say what we all know -- that everything you post to your Facebook page is an ad.
And Facebook lets you post these ads for free!
>> Click to Tweet <<
Sure, your post may just provide info or share content like a funny photo -- but it's still advertising.
These days, some of the best marketing campaigns don't sell. Rather they raise brand awareness, build relationships with fans & create brand ambassadors.
Take as an example this Christmas miracle from WestJet that went viral:
Did WestJet try to sell anything with this video?
No, but you’ll remember the brand because of their amazing stunt.
And the same thing could happen to one of your posts.
Maybe today you use a funny photo of a cat that goes viral -- then tomorrow you post about a promotion.
The cat post gets 100 Likes & comments — but no sales. The post about the promotion gets a handful of Likes, no comments — but 2 people buy.
Both posts were ads -- and they were both published for FREE.
They were posted to expose your business to more people & get people to know, like & trust you.
Catch my drift?
Every post on a Facebook business page is an ad.
It was great when these free ads reached 16% of our fans — though people even complained about that.
But it shouldn't surprise us that exposure for those posts has dropped.
The news feed is getting crowded as more & more businesses set up shop on Facebook -- leaving fewer chances for fans to see our posts.
We now have to spend money to expose our posts (ads) to more people.
Jon Loomer said this about building "your house on rented land":
There’s an old saying that I’m likely about to butcher: Don’t build your house on rented land.
For the slow folks, your house in this example is your business and rented land is Facebook. But it doesn’t need to be Facebook. It could be YouTube, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.
I’ve seen too many businesses attempt to run entirely within a single social network. No website. No email list. Or those two things are very low on the priority list.
This is dangerous. And people who run their businesses this way are those who are bound to be most upset about any changes Facebook — or any other rented land — makes.
How should page owners adjust to FB changes?
There are a lot of things you can do to respond to the inevitable algorithm change:
- Continue complaining about Facebook
- Delete your fan page & go someplace else
- Do nothing
- Post great content that's engaging & helps drive web traffic & sales
- Set a realistic Facebook ad budget & spend money to expose posts (ads) to more people
For those stuck on #1, I'm doing all I can to help you find another path. Before you delete your Facebook page & go elsewhere, do some research on the Reach of a post on Twitter or Google+.
Those who do nothing -- who don't change their posting strategy -- they'll get the same results.
Smart page owners will choose #4 & #5.
But they should NOT use every post to promote something or drive traffic to your website. This will annoy fans & cause many of them to ignore your future posts.
So mix it up!
Sprinkle promotional link posts into your content -- like we do on the Post Planner Facebook page.
Check out these resources for some posting ideas:
- Get MORE Facebook Shares by Using These Words in Your Posts
- Every Business Owner on Facebook Should Master the 3 P's of Posting
- 4 Facebook Posts Guaranteed to Get More Likes and Comments
Break out the bills
You also need to set a realistic ad budget for your page.
Maybe you can only afford $50 per month for Facebook ads -- and that's fine. Start small & spend those ad dollars wisely.
If that $50 monthly investment results in $51 in sales -- you come out ahead.
These resources will help you run Facebook ad campaigns:
- Never Get Confused by Facebook Ads Terminology Again!
- 7 Simple Ways Your Business Can Increase Sales with Facebook
- 4 Kick Ass Tips for Creating Facebook Ads that Convert
Now it's your turn
Do you think recent changes to the news feed algorithm are fair for Facebook pages?
Should businesses have to pay to play on Facebook?
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