124: 124 – New Facebook Update
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“Forget Facebook pages. I’m just going to create a Facebook group.”
“I’m not using a Facebook business page. My personal profile gets way more interaction.”
“My Facebook page drives most of my traffic. I’m scared my income will dry up along with my pageviews.”
These are the kinds of things I’ve been hearing since Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement about the new Facebook update and what this would mean for seeing posts from a Facebook business page in the newsfeed.
People are panicking. Many people are peddling specific advice about what you should do. Rumors are rampant.
So how DO you handle the new Facebook update and make a Facebook business page work? Let’s dive in!
HOW FACEBOOK UPDATES MAY IMPACT YOUR FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE
The big Facebook update in 2018 is all about engagement. According to Mark Zuckerberg, engagement is the holy grail and passive scrolling needs to stop. (I really hate people telling me what to do, first of all, so you can read more about my thoughts on this aspect HERE.) No one knows exactly what this means. We can take some clues from the announcements, but realize that we are all making inferences from a pretty vague statement.
What we KNOW:
- Facebook will prioritizing friends and family over posts from pages and brands.
- If you aren’t creating engaging content on your page, you will most affected.
- If you are creating engagement content, you shouldn’t see as much of an effect.
- Paid promotions (ads) will still take place.
WHY YOU NEED TO MAKE A FACEBOOK PAGE IN 2018
More than any other question I’ve heard in the last few weeks (and even years, since Facebook pages stopped having great organic reach in 2013) is: Do I even NEED a Facebook page if no one will see my posts?
- People still expect you to have a public presence on Facebook and will look for you there.
Whether you are an author or a blogger or a more traditional brand, the Facebook business page is similar to a blog in that it is the public face for you. (To be clear, a Facebook profile is what you create first on Facebook, where you can friend people. A business page is an optional add-on where people can like your page.)
Even if you just create a page as a sort of bookmark with basic info, photos, and a pinned post sharing that you primarily hang out on Instagram, you should have a page. How much it figures into your strategy is up to you! (To create a strategy for your social media, check out my free planner!)
- Facebook prefers that you have a business page for business reasons.
In the Facebook Terms of Service, your personal profile is not to be used primarily for commercial reasons. Your Facebook page is precisely for commercial reasons. The key word is “primarily.”
Facebook can decide what is too much selling and promotion. This means you should be careful! Facebook could, at any time, kick you off from violating this. Then you cannot have a page (you have to have a profile to have a page). You cannot create a new profile under their Terms of Service. You’re done.
Use your profile for business with great caution. That said, the line between business and personal is much fainter than it ever was before. There are so many more bloggers who blog about their personal lives and entrepreneurs living a different lifestyle where business and personal are not so clearly separated. People in your personal life may want to read your blog and know what you are up to professionally.
You can also follow people’s personal profile. This means that you can choose to see someone in your newsfeed that you aren’t friends with when they post public things to their timeline. I know some large people (Mark Zuckerberg included) who have big followings on their personal profile, even if they don’t have pages. I have a hard time thinking Facebook would allow this or have this feature without some business or promotion.
- Facebook business pages have great ecommerce tools that profiles don’t have.
You can much more easily sell and promote yourself. The Facebook page is also where you can run ads. For ads, it doesn’t even matter that your page has a small number of likes. You can target anyone on Facebook, not just people on your page.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE WORK IN 2018
Here are some of my tips for getting interaction and engagement on your Facebook page. Keep in mind that these are GENERAL principles for engagement on Facebook pages. To reiterate: these are not new ideas with this latest Facebook update since we don’t know specifics.
- Stop like-for-like Facebook threads.
If you don’t know what these are, these are posts in Facebook groups where someone says, “Hey! Here’s my Facebook page. If you like my page, I’ll like yours. Leave it in the comments!” Or: “This is a Facebook page like thread. Leave your page link below and go like every other page in the thread!”
This sounds really attractive because numbers are so shiny. They are social proof. Likes are evidence that we are, after all, LIKED.
Except they aren’t. This practice, while super easy, is a shortcut that hurts you in the end. Remember that we are about ENGAGEMENT. Those people liking your page in those threads probably don’t actually LIKE you. They just Facebook-liked you. This means that you have dead weight on your page that won’t engage with your content. When people don’t engage with your content, Facebook shows it to less people in the feed.
ONLY use these kinds of threads if it’s a like-pages-you-actually-like thread. Not a like-everyone thread.
- Stop sharing me, me, me posts.
I hear so many people complaining about the lack of reach on their Facebook page. No one sees their posts and no one engages when they do. But so many people simply use their page to promote their blog, books, or business. They are not CREATING engaging content, yet expect people to engage with it anyway.
While this is a Facebook BUSINESS page, we don’t engage with faceless companies. We engage with PEOPLE. You need to think like your audience and think about what serves them (and also meets your goals). If you want engagement, you need to think about what causes people to engage.
Simple, right? But it’s much harder in practice. This involves creating a content strategy (again- my free planner would help with that!) and posting more times. It means maybe pulling back on promoting our own blog posts and books. It requires more work.
- Don’t use engagement bait.
Just before this announcement, Faceook gave a very specific update to say that they will squash engagement baiting posts. These are the kind of spammy posts from pages just trying to game the system, asking you to vote with comments or likes or the different reactions you can use.
The problem is that some of those same things were used by great pages and people creating real interaction! I love the “Share how you feel today in a gif” posts! They are super fun. Now you have a bot that Facebook has fed trigger words to keep those kinds of posts hidden in the feed. Which means even if you are trying to create engagement in a meaningful way, you could get caught in the bot.
HOW TO SPARK ENGAGEMENT ON FACEBOOK (OR ANYWHERE ELSE)
Work on your calls to action – Itchy copy where you frame links, ask for things in ways that won’t trigger the engagement bait bot
Create a copy bank of great Facebook posts – Start keeping a folder of screenshots or a list of great Facebook posts you love so you can get ideas for what you can do. Study what you see that has great engagement. Craft your own kind of content that is similar.
Pay attention to what’s working – Go into analytics and keep track of what is working and what has been working. What kind of posts inspire comments and shares? What posts have a lot of likes? You need to be much more intentional now than ever.
CREATE A FACEBOOK PAGE STRATEGY
The biggest thing you can do to make your Facebook business page work in 2018 is to be STRATEGIC. You need to be intentional if you want to see your page succeed in the face of Facebook updates.
What are your goals? You need to map out your overall goals, then how Facebook fits into that. Then you can plan a content strategy for what you’ll post when. For more on planning a strategy, see my post on Planning in Reverse!