Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg sent social media marketing teams into a panic after announcing that Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm will shift to prioritize users’ friends and family posts over business related ones.
Social media experts, including Henley Schimpf, VaynerMedia, say this means small businesses will now have to have more meaningful back and forth with their followers and more enticing content in their posts if they want to receive traffic to their pages.
“It is important for businesses moving forward to make sure community engagement is strong — respond to all questions, comments, etc. to get your content to the consumer,” Schimpf says. “For small business owners, there should be more weight placed on building a thoughtful social media strategy. This means developing an intentional organic narrative and building a strategic paid media plan.”
But shouldn’t small businesses already be aiming to do that anyway?
“This change is nothing new,” says Tripp Stanford, Search Engine Optimizer, Papercut Interactive. “Facebook has been making adjustments like this fairly consistently over the past decade.”
Rich Greenfield, a Media Analyst at BTIG, also says that businesses that haven’t previously been engaging with exciting Facebook posts or media plans during these past few years have probably already noticed that they’re not getting into newsfeeds.
“Zuckerberg is basically telling brands you either need to spark a meaningful, engaging conversation with your content—or spend ad dollars to reach consumers in the newsfeed,” Greenfield says. “It puts tremendous pressure and focus on great storytelling.”
In other words, this change to the newsfeed algorithm won’t affect the traffic of small business Facebook pages, if those small businesses are already on top of producing posts and content that get their audience liking and sharing them. The primary goal is to keep bringing exciting content to those loyal fans.
For those who are still figuring out how to get those fans, Shannon Colbert, the Tennessee Aquarium’s digital content strategist, advises posting more live videos, sharing relevant posts and photos from followers and asking followers to select the “See First” option on their “Following” tab.
“Businesses should make sure they’re communicating with their audience, not at them,” Colbert says. “This helps your online presence seem more personable and present, which should increase engagement.”
Once the new algorithm is implemented in a couple of months, passive posts that aren’t receiving any likes or comments will most likely slip away into the void—but as long as small businesses are not spamming their pages with empty content and ads, their shared and liked posts will continue to have a cozy spot on newsfeeds.
“Small businesses don’t need to have the deep pockets or experience that large brands have to win on social,” Schimpf says. “The intentionality of a narrative and content being created will continue to be the foundation in reaching and engaging your audience to build trust—and paid strategy increasing your reputation.”