Lots of the small businesses I follow on Facebook are concerned about the changes Mark Zuckerberg announced at the start of the year. So many startups have built their business entirely on Facebook – never before has there been such a far-reaching, affordable platform for launching a brand new venture. It was possible, without spending a penny on advertising, to build a global following, and take your business as far as you wanted it to go – in theory, at least.

But it’s never been easy to get the exposure you need to achieve this global success, and it looks as though it might be getting a lot more difficult. Due largely to the claims of Russian involvement in Trump’s presidential victory, and their hand in manipulating Facebook content as election propaganda, Facebook are making posts from businesses, brands and media less prominent in our personal newsfeeds.

So, as a small business who relies to a greater or lesser extent on Facebook to promote yourself – should you be worried that you’re going to lose some of that precious free exposure?

This is the official statement from the FB Newsroom:

“As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. 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.”

Is this the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut? It seems a real shame that small businesses are being penalised because of the machinations of global politics. Plus, Facebook have said today that the amount of time people are spending actively in their accounts has dropped markedly.

I’ve tried to read widely on this (lots of useful articles and analysis can be found on the BBC), and honestly I think it’s hard to tell whether we should be concerned, or not. Mr Zuckerberg claims that while the time spent on Facebook is dropping, the quality of personal interactions and engagements is increasing. Although they have claimed that their bottom line will take a hit, I can’t see any suggestion that businesses will be encouraged to leave Facebook – in fact, I would imagine they are pretty keen to keep adding to their $16bn profits (2017’s figure). Then there’s this, also from the FB Newsroom:

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, 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, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”

So, maybe all is not lost. It seems that you can mitigate the impact on your page exposure by promoting your business within a local Facebook group, to “connect with [your] communities”…so is the organisation who can connect the world, actually able to reverse the effects of our global outlook, and instead focus on bringing the local community closer together?

While we wait and see what happens on the Facebook side of things, perhaps we should dedicate some time to perfecting our other promotional platforms. I can help you there…so if you’d like to revitalise the words you use to sell yourself, drop me a line: https://rlcwords.co.uk/contact/

 

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