With the algorithm changes on Facebook, many small business owners have experienced a sudden decrease in the success of their business on the platform. But is it time to throw in the towel on Facebook for business? Not quite yet.
PIN ME FOR LATER!
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What does the algorithm have to do with it?
The Facebook algorithm is one of the most complex sorting databases out there, with over 100,000 indicators leading to what is shown in your news feed. From the paid advertisement that shows a shirt with your college logo and your current state beneath it for alumni pride, practically reading your mind about the next purchase you might make, all the way to a local event happening this weekend in your local town, Facebook knows what you like and dislike online. Creepy, right?
The algorithm isn’t just about predicting your next purchase, it’s also about predicting who you want to see in your newsfeeds, namely family and friends. Depending on whose statuses you click on most on your friends' list or what businesses you interact with frequently, Facebook determines what posts you will see in the future.
When Facebook decides what’s important, you “lose control” of seeing the content you opted into on the platform. For instance, you may have “liked” a page for your favorite store down the street, but unless you frequently comment on that page’s post, the algorithm won’t show you all that store’s updates. That means you could be missing a flash sale discount completely or having it show in your news feed 24 to 48 hours after the event already occurred.
So frustrating! Granted, there are ways around it by setting notification alerts or setting the page feed to “see first,” but customers must be proactive in turning on these settings.
As an entrepreneur, this is even more frustrating, as you are trying to tell your customers who follow your page important information that they have opted into, but they aren’t receiving it the way they used to with the old algorithms. You need to educate your customers on how to beat the algorithm by turning on certain settings so they can see your pages and changing your company’s posting strategies to show the rest of your content more often.
Facebook Business Page…or Bust!
So, is it even worth it? Is having a Facebook page vital for running a business anymore? Does having one benefit the customer or the entrepreneur?
Before throwing in the towel on Facebook, there are a few things you need to consider. The first is that Facebook still holds value in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When you search a business’ name, social media accounts often show up on the first page.
For me, if I search a business, I go to their Facebook page prior to their website on a search to see updated hours, their address link to plug into the maps on my phone, and recent activity to ensure the company is still in business and active online. And yes, if the business hasn’t posted recently or the content is off-topic to what I’m looking for, I move on to another company.
Am I the only one? No. 74% of consumers rely on social media to make a buying decision and 78% of people said that social media posts of companies influenced their buying decisions.
Facebook is still valuable to entrepreneurs, but it relies on paid marketing or using engagement to get seen. With the algorithm in place, entrepreneurs need to change the way they market and focus on customer relationship building and engagement strategies. That means that the new number one goal of page managers using organic marketing needs to be focused on getting current followers talking so more sales can be made.
The algorithm works on engagement. The more user comments and shares a Facebook status has, the more people see it. The more people who see your content, the more chances you have to make an impression that leads to sales or inquiries. By finding the right audience and understanding the algorithm, you can find success without paying money on Facebook.
Remember, users have told Facebook that they don’t like to see brands in their news feeds, so if you happen to make it into their feed, you need to make it worth it! Users aren’t on Facebook to buy a product or service. They are normally on Facebook scrolling through their feed to see what friends and family are posting. When you make it into their feed, you need to stand out, focus on building a relationship and get them to comment. From the comments, you can start conversations that lead to even more trust and sales.
Lead with value. Lead with helpfulness. Stand out. Beat the algorithm. Hang back up your towel – you’ve got this!
Jenny Hale is a military marketing and social media strategist for U.S.-based military spouse and veteran entrepreneurs with military-themed businesses. Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, military corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help military entrepreneurs build flexible businesses through organic online marketing strategies that save money. You can follow her on Facebook Groups, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.