Ask an Expert: How Small Businesses Can Adapt to All These Facebook Changes

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about Facebook and the way in which the social network lets (and sometimes doesn’t let) business owners connect with fans.

Starting with the switch to Timeline earlier in the year, Facebook has rolled out a number of updates that have effectively changed the way in which users engage with Pages and reshaped the way content is delivered to fans.

These changes have been severe and business owners are understandably discouraged and even overwhelmed.

And while some businesses may decide to stick to the old way of doing things, it’s the businesses that adapt to these changes and rethink the way they engage with fans that will continue to grow and see results from their Facebook marketing.

This week, I spoke with Danielle Cormier, Social Media Specialist at Constant Contact. Danielle has seen firsthand how recent changes have impacted the reach of brands on Facebook and had some great advice for how businesses can adapt to the new Facebook reality.

Find out what Danielle had to say when we sat down for this week’s Ask an Expert.

Here is the transcript if you would rather read…

What are some of the biggest changes you have seen on Facebook and how have they affected the way you engage with your fans?

In the last few months, since September, there have been some changes to the EdgeRank formula, which is the formula Facebook uses to determine what users see in their News Feed. The purpose of EdgeRank is to make sure users aren’t overwhelmed and are instead given a specific list of things that they think you’ll find the most interesting.

Since September, there has been a drop in reach across all types of content that gets posted on Facebook. Facebook is trying to limit what’s in the mobile News Feed, what’s in the regular News Feed, and controlling what people are seeing.

Recently, in the last few weeks, we’ve also noticed that text-only posts are getting the most reach, while in the past it would be images. Even though images are still the most engaging type of content, they’re not seeing the same reach they used to.

Part of the reason images aren’t getting the same reach may be because some people feel that images can be “spammy.” Maybe it’s because a business posts too many photos or maybe they’re off topic or not relevant to the brand, so they may be “unliking” that page or X-ing it out on the News Feed or hiding the post.

This is a type of “negative feedback” and recently Facebook released a statement saying that negative feedback is going to be a big factor for EdgeRank. A lot of people wouldn’t notice this impact on their own, but it’s an important part of marketing on Facebook.

You can look at your Facebook Insights to see who is giving your posts negative feedback. This is going to affect your reach and how many people are going to see your posts in their News Feed.

What advice do you have for businesses when it comes to adapting to all these Facebook changes?

Definitely watch your Insights.

It really shows you everything that’s happening in the News Feed: how many people are seeing your posts, how much engagement…  And you never know when Facebook is going to change something.

Even if you can only check it once or twice a month, do it! See what’s happening. Maybe posts with links are getting the most reach or maybe its text-only posts like we just recently noticed…

I would also recommend following big brands. Fortune 500 companies are great to follow because they’re usually on top of these trends and you can really see what they’re doing and get inspiration for what you should be posting from them.

And, you can even check out the Constant Contact Facebook Page.

Is there one piece of advice you can point to as the biggest thing businesses need to be aware of when engaging with fans on Facebook?

I would say: make sure you’re staying on topic when it comes to your Page and give your fans what they expect from you.

You can talk about current events or holidays or things like that, but relate it back to your business. Make sure you’re giving fans what they want to see so they’re not “unliking” or “unsubscribing” from you—that way you can get the most reach and the most engagement.

Make changes of your own!

Change isn’t always a bad thing.

In fact, changes can often make a world of difference when it comes to your own Facebook Page.

And while you can’t control how and when Facebook is going to change, you can control the type of content you share, the frequency at which you post it, and the overall strategy you take when it comes to engaging with fans on Facebook.

Want to learn more about how you can step up your own Facebook marketing? Register for our free live webinar: Supercharging Your Facebook Marketing.

Never miss a post! Follow our twitter feed @ConstantContact