— January 29, 2018
Facebook recently announced that they were changing the algorithm again, explicitly giving more priority to posts from your friends and family. That’s good for all of us personally — who doesn’t want to see more cute baby / cat / food pictures from our friends and family?
But it’s not so great for businesses because, by default, if they’re showing more personal posts, that means they’re showing fewer business page posts.
The result of this announcement was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the entrepreneurial circles. People were asking:
- How do I get around the new algorithm?
- Should I focus on growing my Facebook group so those people will see me?
- Is it even worth being on Facebook any more?
But these are the wrong questions to be asking. So what should you be asking instead?
Is your content engaging?
Here’s the first question you should be asking yourself: is the content you’re sharing on Facebook engaging?
Because engagement is going to be the name of the game.
Yes, the algorithm is going to penalize content from business pages; but the flip side of that is that Facebook still rewards content with high engagement — regardless of where it comes from. We know that when a person interacts with your Facebook page, they are served up more content from your page in the future, and we know that the more engagement a post gets through clicks, likes, and comments, the more people who like your page will see it in their news feeds.
So your goal needs to be focused on sharing content that gets more engagement.
How do you do that?
The first step is to share great content — which means you need to be writing great content. It all starts with the blog post (or podcast, or webinar, or whatever) that you’re sharing.
Because here’s the sneaky sub-question you should be considering: What do you want people to do after they’ve engaged with your content on Facebook. Getting the like or the comment or the click on Facebook is not the end game! You have to be creating content that’s worthy of a second click — the second click that gets them signed up for your email list, looking at a product page, or otherwise engaging with your business.
Are you asking for engagement?
It seems silly, but if you don’t ask people to do something, they won’t do it.
What I mean is, if you don’t specifically ask people to like, click, or comment on a Facebook post, the likelihood that they will do one of those things plummets.
So if you’re just sharing your articles and hoping that people will like it or click on it, chances are… they won’t.
At least, most of them won’t.
However, give someone a suggestion, a call to action, and they are much more likely to take that action.
It’s simple, but it’s a great way to increase engagement with an easy step.
Do you want to reach outside your circle?
One of the reactions I’ve seen to the Facebook announcement is people saying that they’re going to double down on their Facebook groups — but I’m not sure this is the answer to fixing the problem of reduced organic reach on FB.
Groups can be great for a lot of reasons, but growing your audience is not one of them.
Think about it: pretty much the only way for someone to find your group is if they already know about you. It’s true that some people join groups based on the “recommended for you” suggestions Facebook provides — but in that case, you’re relying on Facebook for growth again, and there’s no way to qualify these people as leads for your business (and no way to ensure that you continue to show up in that recommended space).
So pulling back and doing all your promotion inside a Facebook group might be a good way to ensure that your existing audience sees more of your posts — but it’s not going to do diddly for getting new people to see it.
If growth is your goal, you’re better off focusing on getting more engagement on your business page (see above) because then people can share your posts with their friends and network — which they can’t do from inside a closed group.
What is your goal?
You may have noticed that maybe the most important question you can ask yourself is: what is your goal in sharing content on Facebook?
Is it reaching an existing audience or growth? Is it growing an engaged community on Facebook, or driving traffic to your website? Is it email sign ups? Is it sales?
I had a call with a client recently who told me she needed to grow her audience for her business and wanted to do it via social media. But when I dug deeper into her goals, she really wanted to build an audience in order to sell a course she’s developing and planning to launch.
As I told her, building an audience to sell to via Facebook — or any social platform — is like building a house in somebody else’s back yard. It’s not a good long-term strategy because the property owner can evict you any time they feel like it.
In most situations, the better strategy is to build your audience on your own platform — your website and your email list. Once I talked my client through my thinking, she completely agreed: It makes much more sense for her goals not to worry so much about Facebook likes, but to pay more attention to email opt-ins.
Ask yourself, what’s your real goal with Facebook? Why are you fussed about Facebook’s algorithm changes in the first place?
The truth is, Facebook is not the best place for most online businesses to build their platform. It’s a promotional channel, and more and more it’s becoming an advertising channel.
I’m not against Facebook or any other social media channel by any means. But what I believe is that you cannot rely on it as your only distribution channel, and certainly not as your only platform. Facebook is in the business of building Facebook — not your business. So you’ve got to make the smart decisions that will most benefit your business and get you toward your goals.