Facebook has implemented a trial concept of splitting user’s news feeds into two different algorithms: separating personal posts from friends and commercial news. The move has reportedly been decided on to combat an influx of “fake news” that has littered the site.
On the surface, it seems like no big deal. However, the change will drastically affect the way small businesses are able to connect with their followers on Facebook.
The news feed distinction will see an Explore tab appear on Facebook’s home page. Here, all of a user’s “liked” pages will appear. This is predicted to decrease the amount of organic traction a page’s updates can receive.
It gets worse for small businesses: the only commercial content that will stay in the regular news feed are sponsored posts, meaning they’ve paid Facebook. Big corporations will undoubtedly funnel money into ensuring their content is prioritised, so it’s probable those with smaller advertising budgets will get buried, even from those who have already liked them.
Free promotion via your connections can’t be relied upon as a sure-fire way method of reaching an audience, either. Any friends that share an update from a commercial page will also be transferred across to the Explore tab rather than remaining in the traditional news feed.
Small business owners will have to rethink their marketing strategies. Facebook has been a fantastic tool for promotion, growth and connection in the past. The trialling algorithms will negate the website’s effectiveness.
The initial reaction from the public has been mixed to say the least. Many have been critical of the change, demanding that Facebook revert to its original format. It’s safe to say small business owners will feel the same way.
Given that for the moment the news feed split is still in a trial phase, it’s entirely possible that Facebook will listen to the large majority of users that aren’t fans. They have trialled new elements and not installed them permanently in the past.
For the meantime, though, it’s worth looking at alternative methods of social marketing if indeed the change does become enduring. Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are all still valuable channels of interaction that can be great business tools when used correctly.
Podcasting is another fantastic way of engaging with an audience. Developing your business website with case studies and accumulating a strong network are other ways to increase your appeal and reach. Networking events are one example of how to do this.
To formulate strategies on how you can maximise your online engagement, get in touch with us today!