The Evolution of Facebook for Business

With 1.35 billion monthly active Facebook users and 1.12 billion active mobile users it has become impossible for business to ignore Facebook as a method of communication. With the growth of local business pages now over 16 million, it has become harder for Facebook to define the line between social and business use and to regulate self-promotion.  Over the past few years, Facebook has undergone some significant algorithm revisions to help preserve their social quality and reign in the business sales abuse.

When Facebook launched Facebook Advertising, it essentially altered its algorithm to value posts that have disproportionate engagement (above average numbers of likes, comments and shares). This algorithm change was meant to weed out posts that users didn’t deem interesting and feature “exceptional” posts.The idea was to expand the reach of these valued posts and increase the quality of content in an individual’s newsfeed. It was just a happy coincidence (so they claim) that it opened up opportunities to sell newsfeed real-estate to businesses desperate to communicate with their fans. Facebook allowed businesses to pay to boost their promotional content or feature it in newsfeed ads.

But despite Facebook’s efforts to protect its social value, businesses have been able to manipulate engagement and “fudge” their fan bases.

November 2014, Facebook announced its ban on Like–Gating.  This was the practice of offering a prize, giveaway, or some method of compensation in return for a follower to “Like” your page.

The conflict arose when Facebook realized the fans acquired by these techniques were just doing it for the promotion and weren’t genuinely interested in the business itself. This created problems for everybody. Facebook could no longer make relative recommendations to its users.  Businesses were building a following that was not made up of genuinely interested consumers, and Facebook users were now annoyed by the unwelcome updates in their newsfeeds.  However, while business owners originally reacted with panic, they have slowly come to terms with putting in the extra work, knowing that they are acquiring quality followers as opposed to uninterested masses.

The most recent change for Facebook was its 2015 algorithm revision: monitoring self-promotion.  In the past, posting promotional content without paying for it may not have helped, but it also didn’t hurt. Well … not anymore. Facebook announced that pages pushing out overly promotional creative “should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.” Or, in other words, Facebook will begin to penalize pages that choose to abuse the social environment without paying for advertising space.

That being said, here are 9 algorithm – conquering tips to practice:

  1. Share great content. Even better, create exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else.
  2. Establish a Facebook advertising budget for important or promotional messages.
  3. Go multi-media and extend your message to other social networks (i.e. Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.).
  4. Utilize your personal accounts to share your business’ updates; or, have your employees share your content to tap into their social networks.
  5. Import your email contacts (minimum of 2,000 Facebook verified email addresses) and invite them to like your page.
  6. Experiment with time of day and day of week. Utilize Facebook Insights to see high traffic periods throughout the days for your fans.
  7. Use Facebook Insights to monitor what’s getting attention and what’s not.
  8. Seize any opportunity you can to encourage fan generated content (i.e. the Starbucks White Cup Creations campaign, or Newcastle’s Fan Ads campaign).
  9. Engage with your followers and connections.  Don’t just post; listen, like and share.

Kelli folseAuthor: Kelli Folse

Bio: This educational, third-party article is provided as a courtesy by Kelli Folse, Public Relations Specialist and Social Media Strategist for Liquid Creative Studio. To learn more about the information or topics discussed in this article, you connect with Kelli on Twitter @KelliMichelle2.

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