On June 29, 2016, Facebook’s announced on their blog, upcoming changes on what posts people would see on their timelines. timelines. The blog reported that Facebook has committed to showing posts from family and friends over brands and publishers. For small businesses that use Facebook marketing, this latest development comes as a blow to their marketing strategies. But before going into full panic mode, here are some things brands should remember about Facebook.
Facebook Marketing Benefits for Small Business
Regardless of these changes, Facebook is still a powerful marketing and intelligence tool. Facebook Pages for small businesses and brands has made marketing to target markets easy and affordable. This has not changed with the latest algorithm update on Facebook. In fact, Facebook’s insights tools level the playing field for start-ups and microentrepreneurs. Marketing intelligence is expensive. Before Facebook for Business, businesses had to spend thousands of dollars on software or consulting services for customer insights. These expensive systems made it possible to query databases by installing complicated analytics tools to websites. As a result, Facebook’s business tools help to level the playing field among brands.
Facebook focuses on business goals
No matter what a brand’s business goals are, Facebook for Business is a great tool. Facebook for Business provides business owners with tools and technology to:
- help drive online sales,
- increase local sales,
- promote apps,
- raise brand awareness,
- and generate leads.
These tools are available to all brands, despite the size of their budgets.
Facebook gives brands customer insight
Facebook has over 1 billion users. Therefore, the popular platform is a great place for a brand to flaunt its product or service. The insights tools within the Facebook pages, show information about the demographics and behavior of your customers. The service can be used to analyze brand websites, to see how well ads are converting. It can also offer insights into marketing performance by showing what type of posts an audience reacts to.
Facebook Audience Targeting is magic
Facebook for Business provides its small businesses the ability to really target their audience. Most small businesses have not taken full advantage of Facebook marketing tools. But there are a couple of cool and magical options that are available, most noteworthy being Audience Targeting.
- Custom Audiences – Brands can create a custom audience by uploading existing customers from an existing customer list, website traffic, or app activity. Once Facebook has access to a brand’s current audience, it can find those users on Facebook. This becomes a custom audience for that brand’s Facebook ads.
- Lookalike Audiences – Brands can create a lookalike audience can by essentially cloning the behavior and demographic of an existing audience. Facebook references the data uploaded and finds profiles that are similar. That means using that same customer list, website traffic, or app activity, brands can find people who are more likely to want to do business with them.
The best part of it all is, every business, regardless of size or budget, has access to these features.
How the latest Facebook change affects small businesses
So now that Facebook is focused on getting more personal on timelines, businesses are going to have to reconsider their strategy. In a recent article by New York Times about the impact this change will have on publishers, the mega news outlet reports that “the changes will affect all types of content posted by publishers, including links, videos, live videos and photos. Facebook said it expected a drop in reach and referral traffic for publishers whose audience comes primarily to content posted by the publisher’s official Facebook page.”
This means business owners, will need to make some changes to their current Facebook marketing strategy.
How brands should adjust their Facebook marketing strategy
Despite the fact that Facebook is changing its strategy, it is still an important marketing platform for business. Here are a list of ways brands can adjust their marketing strategy, to reduce the negative impact this change will have:
- Boost posts – Organic posts for pages have been less impactful over the last couple of years, but boosting posts will let brands reach a larger audience. Boosted posts still allow brands to use any budget, customize the audience, and make adjustments based on Facebook’s analytics.
- Focus on quality over quantity – One of the things that Facebook has indicated with the latest change, is an increased visibility for posts that friends and family post. Brands should focus their content strategy on posts that people will want to share. Sometimes its just as simple as asking the audience to share the post with their friends and family. Page posts that people share on their personal timeline will still reach a relevant audience.
- Post in Facebook Groups – Facebook groups are a great place to share business posts. When brands post in a group, most of the group members receive a notification about that posts. Groups are also concentrated groups of users, that share similar interests and/or goals, and therefore will be a good captive audience.
How brands should adjust their overall marketing strategy
- Use other social media platform – The new changes to Facebook have really made it clear for marketers and business owners, the importance of a marketing mix. There are several social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube. By focusing on multiple social media platforms, brands will reach different audiences on the platforms they are on. It also prevents a major shift in results if one platform underperformed.
- Combine online and offline marketing – Social Media marketing is fast and effective, but it’s not the only marketing available. Brands should focus on email list building to send people directly to the brands website. They can also create blog articles that encourage users to comment on their website, instead of commenting on the social media websites. This change in Facebook may be a great opportunity to try some offline tactics like hosting events, networking groups, sponsorships or direct mail.
One thing that remains the same, is Facebook will continually change their algorithm to meet the demand of its community. As a result, it’s important for brands to keep a fluid marketing strategy, to survive in this ever-changing business landscape.