What the Latest Facebook Newsfeed Changes Really Mean for Your Page
On Friday, Facebook announced that it is making further changes to what shows in your newsfeed. These latest changes take effect from January 2015, and are said to be in response to feedback from account holders who are tired of seeing promotional posts from pages.
Based on their survey of users, Facebook defined ‘promotional posts' as being:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an application.
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.
It is important to note that this does NOT as yet include Facebook ads – or any ads that are created from posts.
So What Does This Mean in Practice?
I suspect that most page admins will grumble about this change, and see it as further attack on their ability to reach customers on Facebook. However, in my opinion, a successful Facebook strategy has never been about overt promotion. It should be about focus on engaging customers; posting interesting and insightful content that delights and draws interaction with the page.
So, any pages sending out and relying on overtly promotional posts, and which find themselves impacted by these changes, are missing the point.
As Facebook said in a statement to Facebook for Business:
Pages still matter — a lot. They offer a free, easy-to-maintain online presence for people to discover and learn about a business. They work across desktop, mobile and tablets without requiring any extra configuration, and contain complete information about a business. They also offer tools to create videos, photos and events that bring a business’ story to life.
What many businesses may not realize is that pages are an important destination for their current and potential customers. In October, for instance, nearly 1 billion people visited Facebook pages. Of those visits, more than 750 million happened on mobile devices. Many businesses also use pages as a customer-service channel. Businesses should think about their page as a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply as a publishing service. The businesses that are doing this well understand the discovery and communication that happens when people come to their page.
How Can I Use My Facebook Page to Promote my Books?
I firmly believe that Facebook pages still have an important role to play in marketing your book, even against a background of decreasing organic reach for posts. It is not yet time to throw the toys out of the pram and declare it time to close your page.
Cynics may accuse Facebook of engineering the latest changes to drive more revenues via Facebook ads. Whilst this will certainly be the outcome of the latest changes, Facebook has been moving to a ‘pay to play' format for business pages for some time. So there should be no outbreak of rage against these latest changes to the newsfeed.
Setting a budget for Facebook ads does need to be part of your strategy. If you have not already done so, now is the time to get to grips with how to use this powerful marketing tool.
But there is still much you can do to build a successful author page:
- Set clear and specific objectives for what you want to achieve using Facebook, such as driving traffic to your blog or website, building your email list, or as a customer engagement channel.
- Understand your target audience of readers and what makes them tick. Use that information to craft content that talks to them, draws them to your page, and compels them to interact.
- Build a strategy around achieving your objectives, that focuses on creating and building a page that your readers will be loyal to, and want to engage with.
- Use Facebook ads to send out your promotional messages, targeting your readers very specifically to obtain best results.
My approach will be to carry on as normal. But what do you think? Will the changes impact what you do on your page?