what do facebook's changes mean for your businessJust last week Facebook announced some sweeping changes to the way that business pages on Facebook would be allowed to interact with their customers and potential customers.

Of course, many people thought that it was the end of the world for small businesses that used Facebook to connect with their customers and, in some respects it is, but it may not be as bad as first thought if you’re prepared to make an effort.

It has always been hard to get your message out

It has always been a lot harder than most people realise for small businesses to get their Facebook posts into the newsfeeds of their customers. I’ve lost count of the number of small business owners who thought that I was talking through my hat when I suggested that, relying on the free version of Facebook marketing to promote their business was a recipe for disaster.

But that’s exactly what it was because the number of followers that Facebook showed a business post to was a very small subset of the number of followers a business had … and now that number has been reduced to almost zero.

Why? Because Facebook is using what they call ‘engagement’ as a measure for what people want to see in their newsfeed … but even scoring well on engagement won’t guarantee that Facebook will show your business posts to anyone.

Now it’s harder!

Facebook said last week:

“Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

Read that quote several times because it is full of important information that will have a big impact on you if you are trying to connect with your customers, or potential customers, for free on Facebook.

Basically it says that if you’re not making business posts that people react to and comment on then you’re in a world of trouble because Facebook is going to drop your posts out of most people’s newsfeed.

That quote also makes it clear that if you are making business posts that generate a lot of engagement then you may see a reduction in the amount of exposure your posts get in the newsfeed but it won’t be anywhere near as bad as those who post stuff that doesn’t generate engagement.

What generates engagement on Facebook?

You can stop reading now if you’re one of those who think that long, wordy, written posts engage your customers on Facebook because they don’t. They might have done in the past but they don’t work well anymore.

You might like reading long posts but Facebook knows that most people … including your customers … want entertainment or infotainment and not just a lot of words.

You can also stop reading now if you think that you just can’t do what is required to engage people … that you couldn’t possibly stand in front of a video camera and record video or even try live video. If even just thinking about it makes you want to run away and hide then don’t think about it.

Facebook has been talking about video for more than a year

For over a year now Facebook has been telling us that video is what really connects you with your clients and, if you were hoping that all that would just go away and we could go back to written posts, then I’ve got to tell you that things have only got worse.

Now Facebook says:

“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers …”

So there you have it. If you want the best chance of using Facebook as a free way to connect with your customers then you better start thinking beyond video and looking at what you can do in the way of live video that would be engaging for your clients.

You never know, you just might enjoy doing it.

All you need is a smart phone and equipment worth a few bucks

But of course nothing is that easy here on the Fraser Coast. You’re Internet connection is probably going to be too slow to do any live video on Facebook if you’re using a PC/laptop and a camera … I know, I’ve tried.

You can get better results with your mobile phone but you will need to be on a good data plan because one engaging live video is not going to be enough. You will need to post live videos on a regular and ongoing basis to keep your clients engaged.

We can help you

If you do decide to try video and live video then good luck, I am sure that you will learn to enjoy it once you have overcome the fright that goes with standing in front of a camera. We will give you all the encouragement and support that we can.

If you decide not to move with the times then the days of free advertising on Facebook will soon be over and you will have to start paying to get your message out and into the newsfeeds of your customers.

And there’s one thing that you should know about using paid advertising. You get a much better return on your investment in paid advertising if the people who see your advertising are already engaged with you and your business … and you now know how to generate engagement.