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There doesn’t seem to be more than a month goes by without an announcement from Facebook about some change they are bringing in. But when the latest Facebook change was announced, there was generally a lot more concern among bloggers and marketers than with the usual tweak or change. So, what does it mean for bloggers and how can we manage it?
What is the change
The latest change is one of a string of changes going back to October 2016 when companies started to realise that gone were the days of posting a Facebook update and seeing a flood of traffic. Part of this was down the to amount of people using the site – every 20 minutes there were one million links shared, over 4 million photos uploaded and over 750,000 status updates sent. We were a bit Facebook-ed out.
Then there have been the problems with ‘fake news’ and the potential interference in world events that have made the headlines. All the time, the latest Facebook change seemed to be subtle, aimed at addressing the problems on the site.
Then on New Year’s Day, Mr Zuckerberg must have woken up with a bit of a brainstorm (or brain drain depending on your view) about ‘fixing’ his site. Everyone nodded and thought that sounded okay.
What ‘fix’ means
Then 12 days later, the big announcement came. The News Feed was going to see a big shift because Mr Zuckerberg had decided that ‘passively reading articles or watching videos’ is a bad thing for the human race and Facebook needed to do something to change this and encourage ‘meaningful social interactions’.
The ensuing panic was interesting – I woke up to videos on the topic, blog posts and even a feature on BBC news about the changes. The outlook was pretty grim – business posts were going to see even worse organic reach than ever before.
How will this affect bloggers using Facebook?
So, what does the change really mean for bloggers and businesses who use the site to market their products or services?
In a bulletin from Adam Mosseri, the Head of News Feed at Facebook, the aim of the new algorithm is to encourage meaningful ‘back and forth discussion’. And because space is limited, less ‘public’ content would be shown including videos and other posts from publishers and businesses – in other words, people just like us.
Now people still have the option to select the ‘see first in news feed’ option to ensure they see your content but let’s face it, most people just aren’t going to think to do it. They are just going to forget about you because you aren’t showing up on their feed.
Posts that do encourage those meaningful interactions will have a chance of getting seen more but be careful not to use tactics that might be seen as bad such as asking people to like or share for prizes or use reactions to vote for stuff. Last month’s change put that down as a bad thing too!
What can you do to still reach people?
Now I admit I don’t get a lot of traffic from Facebook so there was much less panic for me than for others who get a big chunk of their page views from the site. And there have already been some good pieces of advice on what to do to help cope with the changes.
For example, Kimi Kinsey wrote a few emails on the topic and she took an admirably positive view of the whole process. Her advice was threefold:
- Watch what you say with regards to those likes and shares requests
- Concentrate on Facebook live as it is overtaking even video
- Spend time on the site and don’t automate everything
The ladies at Slaying Social has some similar points to make in their post on the latest Facebook changes:
- Ask die-hard fans to use that ‘see first in news feed’ option
- Post content that creates discussion and this will be seen by more people
- Don’t use those engagement bait tactics (no more share to win a giveaway)
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
The final thing to say on the topic is simple – don’t put all of your eggs in one basket and rely on any one source of traffic. Because if something like this happens and you rely on Facebook then you find no-one is seeing your posts, your traffic is dead. So:
Spread your efforts (although not too far) – Pinterest is crucial and good SEO is probably the most important thing to do so you get organic traffic. Then why not try diversifying a little if you have the time – Twitter, LinkedIn or other sites might be worth a little of that time spent on Facebook.
Focus on your email list – there’s a reason everyone goes on about email lists. No algorithm change can take them away from you and all that can happen is people unsubscribe.
Try a little ‘pay to play’ – if you are dedicated to Facebook then why not try a little money into Facebook ads? They are said to be more expensive than previously but might be worth a try to bring traffic from the site.
For me, the sad thing about the latest Facebook changes is that it makes the platform seem a little anti-business and also a little too bossy, telling us what we should be using it for. Personally, I enjoy seeing business posts, news topics and even some ads – it isn’t just friends and family for me. But I don’t have the time to switch that ‘see first in news feed’ for everyone I enjoy so there’s a chance they might vanish.
As a blogger, I’m definitely concentrating social media efforts on Pinterest who show no sign of being anti-business. And maybe a little more effort into the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn for my professional blogs. That and look at my Facebook groups to see which are worth spending time on as they are still alive in most cases.
What about you? How do the changes affect you and what are your plans?
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