If you have a Facebook account, chances are that you have probably heard about the announcement Mark Zuckerberg (the CEO of Facebook) made on January 11th regarding big changes to how the Facebook news feed is going to work. The reason why this is important to WordPress website owners, is because you are probably using Facebook to share your website and your business.  So if you didn’t see the announcement, here’s an excerpt from what Mark said:

“…you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

It was a lengthy Facebook post and you can click here to read it in its entirety.   I’ll tell you more about what this all means, but I first need to explain a few things…

The Facebook News Feed Explained:

If you don’t know what the Facebook “News Feed” is, it’s the center area that you see when log into Facebook, when you click on the “Home” link at the top, or when you click on the “News Feed” link on the left.  See image below:

Facebook News Feed example screenshot

So the “News Feed” is the streaming content you see from from your friends, the groups you are in, pages you follow, or paid advertising.  The news feed is always in the center of the screen. See Image below:

Facebook News Feed example screenshot wide view

As you can imagine, this announcement about the change in the news feed was met with worry from many business owners. Some are thinking about throwing in the towel with Facebook marketing, altogether. Others are re-evaluating their advertising budget. And others are shifting their focus to Facebook Groups as a method of reaching their audiences.  (by the way I use Private Facebook Groups in my paid courses as a way to interact with my students and answer questions )

While I agree that it’s a good idea to set aside a budget for marketing on Facebook (I’ll talk more about that later in this post) and I think Facebook can still provide immense value for your business (I’ll talk about this in a moment as well), so I don’t think you should give up on Facebook as a way to promote your website just yet.

Before I continue, though, I want to clearly explain the difference between a Page and Profile, in case you’re not an active Facebook user.

Facebook Business Page vs. Facebook Personal Profile:

There is a difference between a Facebook Business page (it used to be called a fan page) and a Facebook Personal Profile.

A Profile is a personal account on Facebook that’s designed to help you communicate with friends and family, sharing life updates, photos and videos. Everyone on Facebook gets their own profile and you’re only allowed to have one.

A Page, on the other hand, is a business profile designed to help you share specials, updates and engage with your “fans.” It’s also for your business to share news about events your business might do (live events or webinars), or anything else business related.  It’s your promotional channel for your business and when people go there, they expect to see business links. Instead of friends, you have ‘likes’ to a business page.  A page also allows you to run ads.

However in order to have a business page, you have to first have a personal profile:  i.e. you have to have an account at Facebook.

Here is a screenshot of my Business Page found at https://www.Facebook.com/christinahillsbiz

Facebook Fan Page for Christina Hills

There is value in having a Facebook business page, from a SEO perspective. (SEO stands for search engine optimization.) Because Facebook, as a domain, ranks well within Google, people who search for your name or business on Google may actually find your Facebook page at the top of the search results.

Moreover, you’re required to have a page in order to run Facebook ads. And since your audience is most likely on Facebook and the ads can be relatively inexpensive (compared to other forms of digital advertising), running Facebook ads might be a good idea for your business. In addition, it’s just a good practice  to have an active, online presence in the places where your ideal client is likely to hang out.

On the other hand, having a personal profile is where you interact as a human being.  You have friends and family connected on your personal profile, and people expect personal stories, pictures and conversations there.  See below a screenshot of my personal profile:

Facebook Personal Profile for Christina Hills

The reason Facebook is making these changes is because they want to keep their users on the platform as long as possible and improve the overall experience.

This is why Zuckerberg said that, on Facebook, “friends and family at the core of the experience” and he’s changing the goal of their platform to helping people “have more meaningful social interactions.”

The reason I don’t think that this is anything to be overly worried about is because this is the direction that Facebook has been moving for a long time. With every Facebook algorithm update, going back years, it seems that Facebook has limited the reach of business pages more and more to protect the user experience. They’re just finally coming right out and saying it.

That said, I do think that there are things that business owners should be doing to help further their reach in the news feed and have their content seen by as many people as possible.

Create High-Quality, Valuable Content

Look at the most successful Facebook communities out there. You’ll see that they’re posting little or no promotional content. It’s value first, always.

Put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes. What would they want to see or discuss?

Still not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:

Start by answering the industry-relevant questions that your audience is asking. Use your business page as a platform for teaching sharing both short questions, long content, and pictures. Try going Live periodically and see how the posts perform. You’re going to be testing everything moving forward.

Post short summaries or excerpts from your blog posts with an image and then post the link in the first comment beneath the post. This strategy is often practiced within Facebook groups and on LinkedIn and it’s shown to increase the probability that people will see your stuff.

You might even start to feel like your Facebook page is becoming a mini-blogging platform, but that’s okay!

Post content that your audience is excited to engage with.

And, of course, monitor the responses to all your content. That means not only engaging, but also going into the back end of your Facebook Business page (Facebook Insights) and looking at what content best resonated with your followers. Create more of what is working and less of what isn’t.

 

Stop Using Third Party Vendors to Automatically Post

This one is important. If you use systems like Buffer or Hootsuite or Crowdfire or any other software that let’s you “set it and forget it” you should stop.  This is because Facebook frowns on that.  They prefer a human posting, not an automation system posting.

Auotmatically posting will definitely impact reach in the coming months, and actually it already does.

Post live and in person whenever possible and, if you do need to schedule, use the scheduling tool that Facebook provides on the page, itself.

 

Post to Your Personal Profile but Use Caution

I write this with hesitation because I don’t want anyone to shift all of their content from their business page to their personal profile. Not only will that annoy your family and friends, it’s also in violation of Facebook’s rules.

Now, let’s say, hypothetically, that a lot of your ideal clients are connected with your personal profile on Facebook. In this situation, you might want to periodically share some highlights for your business there.

For example, if you’re launching a new book or promoting an upcoming webinar, then letting your friends and family (and potentially customers) know via your personal profile is appropriate.

Sharing exciting milestones related to your business could be considered promotional, sure, but that behavior is also very human. It’s okay to periodically let your Facebook friends know what’s going on in your business.

It’s not a good practice, however, to start spamming them, day after day, with content promoting your business. I realize that it can be a fine line but it’s an important distinction to understand.

 

Final Thoughts on the Facebook News Feed

I realize that this is a lot to take in and that the idea of trying to overcome a hurdle like the Facebook News Feed algorithm can be daunting. I understand that you may be ready to move on to another platform. But I would encourage you to give Facebook another shot, if your audience is there. (And let’s face it, most people online are on Facebook) Because when the dust settles and we’re on the other side of this algorithm update, we may just find that the experience has improved for everyone, both marketers and regular users alike.

Have an opinion on this? Share your thoughts below in the comments