What Small Businesses Need to Know About the New Facebook Feed

Keeping your business' Facebook page visible and effective just got a bit more complicated.
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The goal of social media is engagement, so prioritize quality over quantity when curating posts. (Photo: ESUN7756/Shutterstock)

What makes an online interaction meaningful? According to a public post by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, passively reading articles or watching videos is not as valuable to our well-being as actually engaging with your social network.

In his post, Zuckerberg announced new changes to the Facebook newsfeed algorithm in an effort to encourage “meaningful interactions” between people. Unfortunately for the business world, posts, pictures and offers from company pages will have less visibility.

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“Facebook’s new algorithm prioritizes content from family, friends and groups. That means we will see even less posts from brands in our feeds.” -Manu Muraro (Photo: Manu Muraro)

“Facebook’s new algorithm prioritizes content from family, friends and groups. That means we will see even less posts from brands in our feeds. In our business pages, we will see engagement go down,” explained Manu Muraro, founder of Your Social Team.

Visibility on Facebook is no new struggle for brands, but this latest update creates an opportune time to explore your social strategy and discuss best practices for your small business.

Stop baiting users to engage

You’ve probably seen posts with baity calls to action, such as “Like this if you agree” or “Share for a chance to win.” Under the new algorithm, these posts can actually hurt your page’s visibility.

“Pages need to focus on fostering authentic engagement amongst the Facebook community and immediately cease relying on those tired old baiting tactics,” warned Jason Myers, senior account executive at The Content Factory. “Now, it’s a sure way to have your page demoted and buried.”

Prioritize quality over quantity

While you should already be posting useful and relevant content from your small business’ social profiles, it’s now even more critical to focus on quality over quantity.

Myers said his team is “going to cut back on the frequency of Facebook posts and spend more time developing content that we feel will naturally encourage followers to post thoughtful comments — not just passively hit ‘like’ as they scroll through their feed.”

Business owners should also be mindful of their posting schedule, said Monica Louie, Facebook ads coach. “Instead of pushing out content seven times per day, focus on sharing one really good, thought-provoking piece.”

Facebook prioritizes long-form comments and conversation over passive “likes” or one-word answers, so start a discussion with your audience. Remember, the main goal of social media is engagement; without it, you’re just talking into space.

Look at your page’s Facebook Insights

A great way to see what’s working (and what’s not) is to review Facebook Insights for your business page. You can see page views, actions on your page, followers and much more. Facebook offers detailed reporting that will be essential in your planning and success.

Ashley Mason, social media consultant at Dash of Social emphasized the importance of metrics-based marketing: “Social media involves trial and error, and by tracking your analytics, you’re able to see what types of content performs well — and what doesn’t. Because Facebook is making this change, it’s vital to make sure you’re only posting content that actually resonates with your audience. If it’s doing well, continue to tweak it and share it.”

Leverage live videos

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As opposed to regular videos, Facebook Live videos receive more attention and engagement from followers. (Photo: I’m friday/Shutterstock)

Zuckerberg himself noted that “We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones.”

Facebook Live videos generally get more views, comments and likes. While filming live can be challenging, the personal, human touch will resonate better with your audience. It piques curiosity — and is prioritized by Facebook.

“Live video is a must,” said Mason. “It’s great for encouraging engagement, and if you’ve done it before, you’ve probably noticed that your reach and engagement skyrocket with it. Facebook tends to favor live video over all other types of content, which is why they’ll ‘reward’ you with the great reach.”

Consider Facebook Ads

Not all businesses benefit from buying Facebook ads — it really depends on your target audience. Generally speaking, though, consumer-focused companies like restaurants and retail are more likely to attract business from Facebook than companies that sell primarily to other businesses.

Before you decide to spend on paid advertising, review your social media goals. Are you using Facebook to drive traffic to your site, help you stay connected with customers or as a lead-generation tool? If you’re not trying to generate new leads, your marketing budget may be spent more effectively elsewhere.

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