Will Facebook changes reduce your audience?

Your Facebook strategy is about to be disrupted.

Facebook Keyboard

Facebook is about to change the way it ranks posts from business pages and brands, potentially relegating posts further down the timeline (or not showing them at all). This will have a big impact on the 3 million plus business pages on the social network. If you have operated a more passive approach with your business page audience then you will most likely suffer a loss in viewing figures for your posts in the coming weeks.  The reasoning from Mark Zuckerberg is for people to enjoy 'having more meaningful interactions' by promoting posts from friends, family and the pages they interactive with the most.

Within hours of the announcement, $3.3 billion had been wiped from Mark Zuckerberg's fortune, thanks to a 4.5% drop in share value. - Bloomberg.

Whilst this is a noble idea on the surface, it's not yet clear how paid-for advertisements and promoted posts will be affected. Is Facebook trying to encourage more spend on their advertising platform if those posts are unaffected? Are they trying to lower the rank of posts that direct people away from Facebook (links to your latest blog post for example)? It would make sense for Facebook to encourage the comments and conversations to take place within the site itself rather than in the comments section of your blog. Great for Facebook, not so great for your business if you rely on advertising revenue and traffic on your own website.

Smaller businesses are likely to feel the pinch more than established brands who pump out vast amounts of video content to their large audiences. The reason? Commenting holds more weight than passively liking or sharing a post. If you only post occasional content that doesn't attract a lot of interaction then you may have to become more creative in the way you manage your social media strategy. Those bigger brands that already have more people commenting on their pages and posts will be less affected.

Encourage more interaction from your audience

The best way of having your content published higher up the timeline is to actively encourage dialogue from your audience. Make them feel like their opinion and feedback counts, as it should. Listen and respond to them. If Facebook is promoting meaningful interactions then that is what you need to work harder to achieve. Engage with your viewers instead of just pushing out content.

Facebook users comment 10 times as much on live videos than non-live videos. - Wired Magazine, 2016.

Try to utilise video (hosted and played within Facebook) to promote your business. You don't need high-end, fully polished videos to show off your business potential. People like to get to know you and are more likely to comment on a video. You don't need fancy lighting, an epic backdrop and a killer soundtrack. As long as they feel connected with what you are saying that is all that matters. They are much more likely to interact with you if you are more open and transparent. You could go one step bolder and create Facebook Live videos. According to an article from Wired Facebook users comment 10 times more on live videos than non-live ones. If you can master this then you can expect to grow your audience successfully.

What do you think?

You can read more about these latest changes in the recent Guardian article.

Feel free to comment below if you have any concerns about the new changes. Or do you have a great alternative strategy to circumvent them? We would love to know your thoughts...

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