Facebook Pages Were Never Free

Here’s a fact: Your Facebook page was never free. If you aren’t paying to use a service, you as an individual are what advertisers are paying to reach. This is pretty much the case for all for-profit businesses.

With Facebook, the content that your business is creating and trying to get out in front of its customers – aka. Facebook users, is now going to cost you more.

On Thursday, January 11, Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, made a sweeping announcement to what content you will freely see on your Facebook feed.

Cliff notes version:

  • Posts from businesses, brands, and media are crowding our personal moments.
  • The news feed will be changed to show more from your friends, family, and groups.
  • Live videos will be weighted higher than recorded.
  • Time spent on Facebook and engagement are expected to be reduced.

Mark gave us big clues in his post of how we as business marketers can increase our likeliness of our content being seen and here are my suggestions – the same suggestions I have given already to clients that this will affect the most.

Suggestions:

  • Keep one Facebook page for your business, church, etc. Shut down the rest.
  • Create groups focused on common interests that are tied to the main Facebook page. If you have an email database already broken down by specific interest – use this to connect with people who may want to be a part of this new group.
  • If you have events – create events in the event section of your Facebook page and budget appropriately to promote them.
  • Use your Facebook page to promote the big events, resources and news – expect to pay to boost these super important (not often posted) posts. Emphasize quality versus quantity of these posts.
  • Be open to allowing more staff access to your Facebook page as live video contributors along with specific rules and tips on how to use and not abuse this new found freedom.

Example:

The kid’s ministry at Vaughn Forest Church wanted to create a new page. Even under previous algorithms, I knew their content was unlikely to be seen on a page. Instead, I created them a closed group under the churches main Facebook page so there would be freedom to share pictures and videos of the kids at church.

I used the church email database to invite users with kids that fit this ministry. 187 invitations were sent. At the time of this writing 89 accepted an invite to the group. As new people come, they are invited to the group. If people leave the church, they are removed. People can request access to the group, but they are checked against the church database.

The most recent post in the group received 6 likes and was seen by 62 of the 89 people in the group. On the same day as that post, one was made to our main Facebook page that has 2,647 likes. It was seen by 342 people and received 4 likes.

Conclusion

This is a huge change to how your page will need to be run going forward. It’s going to create more work. Using Facebook to reach a targeted audience has proven to be highly successful and will be worth the extra effort. We all have to adapt to increase our quality and provide a better community for Facebook users. If we do this, I believe we will see the reward of reaching our audiences.

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