In this quick tutorial, I'll show you how to use Facebook's Debugger tool so your images and meta data from new pages will display properly!
Facebook is preparing another tweak to the news feed. This change will affect what news and updates you see in your timeline. If you've have been affected by previous algorithm updates, it makes sense that this new one might make you a little bit nervous. But I'm actually really excited about this new update!
Directly from Facebook:
"The goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you. The actions people take on Facebook—liking, commenting or sharing a post—are historically some of the main factors we’ve considered to determine what to show at the top of your News Feed. But these factors don’t always tell us the whole story of what is most meaningful to you. Recently, as part of our ongoing effort to improve News Feed, we asked people to rate their experience and tell us how we can improve the content they see when they check Facebook.
From this research, we learned that in many cases, just because someone didn’t like, comment or share a story in their News Feed doesn’t mean it wasn’t meaningful to them. There are times when, for example, people want to see information about a serious current event, but don’t necessarily want to like or comment on it. Based on this finding, we are updating News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal—how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed."
What I find fascinating about this, and it even made it into a talk I gave this week, is that search engine algorithms depend on us. The machines learn from us. (Which is so very Terminator, but I still think it is neat).
Facebook observes their users to determine how we search, use, and view content. So, when you are creating content, approach it from a human perspective instead of a sales perspective. I think one of the ways small businesses can take advantage of this new change is to work even harder to provide good, relevant, interesting content.
Does this new algorithm change affect any advice I've given in the past? Nope. Because I want you to focus on your people, not trying to game a computer program. Because you can't. Not really. The same thing I've always said still applies - be interesting, be engaging, and focus on the real people sitting behind the screen.
And if you really don't like Facebook (or other social media) or don't "get it", but you want to use it for your business, please do one of three things:
Facebook reach (or lack of reach) is one of the most frustrating aspects of Facebook for most
small businesses. In January, Facebook will be changing its algorithm (again). This change
will focus on limiting overly promotional posts.
What is a small business owner supposed to do?
Some are abandoning Facebook. I don't think it is necessarily the best option. And, as I said last
May, Facebook shouldn't be your only social media platform.
First, let's look at what Facebook considers an "interaction"
What do all of those things have in common? They require your readers to interact with your post in some way.
A sales pitch or series of promotional posts that do nothing to engage your audience don't help to build your audience, so why post them?
Instead, focus on providing information your audience wants to see. Bring back the "social" in social media. Share relevant information, have a conversation, and get to know your audience.
Your audience are your fans - they liked your page because they wanted to stay in touch with your business - its your job to post something worth reading and sharing. Not sure what your audience wants? Experiment, make notes, and experiment again.
How do you find content to share with your fans?
1) Google alerts - You tell Google alerts what kind of information you are looking for and it sends an email (or two) to your inbox when those subjects come up.
2) Create your own images - I'm more than a little bit in love with Canva right now. I'm not a graphic designer, but Canva gives me the tools to at least create attractive images (including the one shown in this blog post)
3) Write a blog - Sometimes you need to create the information you need to share. Of course, as an SEO person, I'll always be in favor of blogging for the SEO benefits.
4) Industry news - look for respected industry sources for news, trends, and information to share.
5) Share content from other Facebook pages - I'm a big fan of supporting complimentary businesses. Small businesses should be supporting each other whenever possible.
At one point, Facebook seemed to be the perfect solution for small businesses. You could reach customers on a platform they were already engaged with and interact with them in a new way. Even better - it gave you a chance to show some personality in a way that didn't require writing blog posts. It was faster, easier, and streamlined!
Over time, Facebook has refined its algorithms, and business pages have seen their organic reach (this is the views their followers see without a company paying to "boost" a post) nosedive. It is frustrating to know that only 78 of your 1000 followers saw the picture of your new inventory item or announcement of new hours.
Should you boost Facebook posts?
If you have 500 followers and a 10% organic reach (people who see your posts naturally, without any boosting), then only 50 fans of your page have the opportunity to see what you post. These are people who, in theory, WANT to see what you share - but they don't. Facebook doesn't show it to them. Of course, your posts should always be engaging and interesting for your customers. You don't want to read boring Facebook posts, so why would they?
You could always boost your posts – that is, pay Facebook to show your posts to more people. But advertising works best with repetition - most people will need to see your name or post several times in order to remember it, let alone act on it. Depending on your budget, it may or may not be possible. If you do pay to boost posts, do it in a way that allows you to track your customers' response. Use a coupon code, giveaway or contest so you can see how many responses come directly from Facebook rather than the general public.
Should you abandon Facebook?
No. Don’t do that! A Facebook page is still a great way to communicate with customers and give them a feel for what your business is about. Think of it as a modern, interactive yellow pages or secondary webpage. When someone searches for your business name online, your Facebook page will appear. Which is why keeping your Facebook posting schedule and details up-to-date is important.
But at the end of the day, relying on Facebook as your only social media platform isn't enough. Sure, it has millions and millions of users, but limiting yourself to Facebook means that you are limiting yourself and your business. There are other social media platforms - some of which may be a better option for your business. Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, mailing lists, and blogs are just a few of the ways to connect with customers directly.
Musings about marketing, social media, and small business.