On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg told the world that Facebook's go-forward strategy would be changing in a way that would benefit users, by featuring more in-feed content from their friends and family and less content from business and publisher pages (for example, your business - ugh). Zuckerberg went on to say that businesses and publishers would see a decrease in organic reach and a decrease in video views as a result of these changes. As a Facebook user, you are likely already noticing a significant difference in the content within your news feed, and it has many small business owners scrambling to be seen.
For the past few years, I've repeatedly reminded small business owners that the fantasy world of "free" advertising on social media would be soon coming to a screeching halt. The notion that Facebook or any other social media platform would continue to give away "free" marketing to businesses for eternity was nothing more than a dream, and now Facebook is making it even more difficult to understand for the average business marketer. The model of providing a wonderful free product to consumers and then charging businesses as advertisers began nearly a century ago with radio and has continued to this day. Facebook is simply following the playbook that Westinghouse wrote in the 1920's when it launched KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh.
Today, however, many business marketers are lamenting the amount of time and energy they've spent on developing and growing their social media following, only to find out that they won't be able to easily reach their followers without paying. If this is you, I do understand your "pain", and now is the time to better understand how to continue utilize social media platforms like Facebook, rather than back away.
5 tips that will help your business win with Facebook in 2018
1. Organic reach (without paying for or boosting your posts) - is now about 5% of your followers. So if you have 2,500 followers, today's post will reach about 125 people without paying Facebook. There's no reason to stop posting content without paying because 5% is still better than 0%, but you can improve the likelihood that the content is seen and shared by ensuring the content is engaging and leads to organic discussion. Be original, authentic and minimize the "fake" engagement baiting.
2. Encourage your followers to select your business page as a "See First" news feed preference. Doing so will feature your posts at the top of their feeds, along with any other business they've selected as "See First".
3. Push live video every opportunity you get. Your business has a multitude of 'behind the scenes', new product arrivals, how-to's, and employee recognition opportunities that you could literally produce content every day if you make it your priority. And, by the way, because video is engaging, it is exactly what Facebook is looking for in organic content that they will feature in your fans news feeds. Make it raw, real, and interesting. It's what has made the long-running reality TV series "Cops" so popular for over 20 years, and will keep your fans liking & sharing.
4. Use the Facebook Pixel on your website. The Pixel is a simply a piece of code that you install on your website that will help you best understand your site visitors and how to market to them on Facebook.
5. Set up and learn how to use Facebook's Business Manager. Business Manager works with Facebook Pixel and gives you far more insight into your marketing beyond just "boosting" posts.
Great marketing doesn't happen by accident. It takes a plan and consistency, and that includes how you approach the constantly changing world of social media.
If you need help with your marketing or social media, simply register for a 30-minute FREE Marketing Analysis. Choosing an experienced marketing partner is an important part of running your business, and I'd love to help you have the same success my current clients are having!
Mark Steckman is a Senior Broadcast & Digital Marketing Consultant with Beasley Media Group in sunny Tampa, Florida. His client portfolio includes many best-in-class clients from the largest international brands to brand new start-up ventures. An expert marketer, and lover of compelling content, Mark has over 25 years experience as a business owner, leader and successful marketing executive.