It’s FacebookMagadon!  Just when you  thought you had Facebook figured out, they change it again.  And this time, it’s the big one.

According to Mark Zuckerberg’s post on January 11,  Facebook is making some major changes to the News Feed.  Referred to as Facebook Zero, the change will result in seeing more from friends, family and groups.  Sounds good, right.  Unless you are a business using Facebook for marketing.  More content from friends, family and groups means less posts from businesses, brands and media.

The head of Facebook News Feed, Adam Mosseri, in an interview with Wired Magazine talked about the upcoming changes.  “There will be less content directly from (professional) Pages.  There will be less video.  Video is an important part of the ecosystem…But it’s more passive in nature.  There’s less conversation on videos, particularly public videos.”

Bottom line for marketers is you can expect the organic reach of your Facebook pages to drop.  To quote Zuckerberg’s post, “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. “  When Facebook says “may see” you can be fairly certain they mean, “will see.”

What Can You Do?

The goal of Facebook Zero’s change is to create meaningful interactions among people.  Once post frequency and consistency were the keys to building your Facebook community.  In the new Facebook world,  interactions and meaningful conversations have the best chance of appearing in news feeds.   But engagement-bait tactics that ask for comments will not be considered interactive and pages that use those tactics will be demoted in the news feed.

Comments will be more valuable than likes in the weighting of post content.  When readers take the time and thought to write comment, specifically longer comments,  the result will lead to increased distribution of the content that caused the response

Pay To Play

The handwriting has been on the wall for some time.  As we’ve seen the steady decline of organic reach in Facebook, the rise of paid advertising has grown in importance.  The days of free advertising are gone.  The key tenant in advertising is being where your clients/customers are.  Advertising on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and other streaming services aren’t an option for small businesses.  Podcasts, Spotify, Sirius/XM and other music services aren’t either.  Social media engagement is the one medium where businesses can reach their audience affordably and effectively.

While the Facebook Zero update is a massive blow to business marketing as we know it, strategies are emerging that small business can adapt to still reach their audiences.  In future articles, I’ll be sharing some of these strategies to help capitalize on the new Social media landscape.

Gary Wagnon, chief Ninja Marketer at 800biz Ninja Marketing helps small businesses  improve their search engine ranking, increase their online visibility, convert more browsers into buyers and drive more traffic to their door.

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