There has been a lot of misinformation out there about Facebook’s latest announcement. With headlines like New Facebook Rules Will Sting Entrepreneurs and Facebook is Killing Small Business Entrepreneurs with new Policy Rule, it’s hard not to get a little excited (if you like getting your news from the source, Facebook’s actual post can be found here.)
The big issue is that some posts by business pages aren’t being seen by as many people as they used to be. We’ve talked with a few frustrated business owners who are convinced that the move is a plot by Facebook to force more businesses into buying ads for posts that would have previously earned free exposure.
The point of view of the business owner is very important, but Facebook really cares about the users. Even if you primarily use Facebook for your business, take a moment to think about the user experience. If users are running into too much promotional content, like “check out our new product” and “click here to get your free whiz-bang” posts, when they’re really just looking for updates from their friends, they’re going to have a bad time. It should be no surprise that, according to Facebook, most of the posts caught in their spam filters and reported by users were overwhelmingly promotional.
Facebook’s newest update isn’t about silencing all posts from business pages unless you pay to play. It’s just about silencing those promotional posts that users clearly hate. This new update is an easy thing to do when you have that data. When you think Facebook is out to hurt the business, think for a minute about their customer, the personal account user.
In an attempt to answer a few questions that you might have as you heard the news, or if some of those spam callers are telling you that your Facebook posts aren’t being seen and they have the answer, we put together some questions and answers to help ease your mind.
Do I have to buy a Facebook Ad for my fans to see my posts?
No. The most recent facebook update is meant to limit promotional posts that users see that are not Ads.
What is a promotional post?
Any post, that is not an ad, that has the sole reason to push people to buy a product or app. Any kind of promotions and sweepstakes with no real context. Or posts that have the same content as ads.
How will my fans see my facebook page?
Your fans will still be able to see the posts from your business page. As long as they are not promotional in nature, nothing is suppose to change.
Facebook is holding back the reach on my posts?
We all know Facebook has been exploding with content. Facebook is having to limit the reach of posts just based on the simple fact that they can’t show every person all of the content from their friends and pages that they have liked. They have more content than they can handle so they are being more and more selective.
What does this mean for local business?
As a local business, you can continue using Facebook as normal. Their updated algorithm is going to try and show content that is best suited for the user at that time. Keep sharing your business stories and the good work you do. Also post funny and light hearted content that will get shares.
How do I get people to click or sign up for something from Facebook?
Buy Ads. Facebook realized that the user was seeing promotional stuff in their news feed as well as the ads on the site. They want to make sure the promotional stuff stays to the Ads and the engaging content stays on the news feed.
“Facebook’s push toward paid advertising is likely to aggravate an already tense relationship between small businesses and social platforms over audience ownership,” says Steven Jacobs of Street Fight, a Colorado-based media-and-events firm covering local digital marketing.” Personally, I think this is a push to help the users. Facebook wants to have businesses increase their audience and build that conversation, not drive traffic to buy products. It’s a small difference, but a distinct one.
Will these new rules hurt entrepreneurs?
In some ways, yes they could. In others, it may make things better. If you post things from your business page, just make it good shareable content that your fans want to see. We have been running a recent test on ads and it seems to be working fairly well with a low cost per click. If you post a lot of “click heres”, “shop now”, “limited time” it will hurt you. Try running those posts through Facebook Ads and see what kind of return you get. It could be better than before.
Do Facebook ads work?
In our recent test, yes. You can target ads so well in Facebook and only show them to the people that are more likely to click on them. We have seen extremely low cost per click in comparison to Adwords and other ad platforms. Low Cost Per Click + Highly Targeted Ads = Better Promotional Ads!
Quote, “Dan Levy, Facebook’s vice president of small business, says that Facebook’s paid-advertising options have become more effective recently and that companies should view Facebook as a tool to “help them grow their businesses, not a niche social solution to getting more reach or to make a post go viral.”
What is Facebook Search?
Facebook search has been updated so that you can go back and find posts with a quick search. It is going to be easier to find content.
People can search my posts?
Yes, well your friends that have the privacy settings to see that post.
How do I use the new Facebook search?
These features will be rolling out in US English soon for iPhones and desktop. All you need to do is use the current search box and you will be able to look up that post you saw a few weeks ago.
I don’t have to scroll forever through someone elses feed to find the post?
Exactly! Facebook is making it easier to find the content you have already seen. The search will be based on any part of the post. Not just the person and location like before.
Are you lying to me?
Not to my knowledge.
Do third party posting tools, like Hootsuite, limit the reach of the post?
After looking around the web, I could not find a definitive answer. My suggestion, do some tests and find out for yourself. It may also help to prioritize which social network is your main focus. If Facebook is not the main focus and Twitter posts work fine with your favorite third party tool, stick with the tool. Mix it a bit. Try posting at different times to see when your users are the most active. If you have any testing data, please let us know in the comments.