Back in December, Facebook made a decision to update their algorithm in an effort to intentionally limit organic reach for Facebook pages. (Note: we’re talking about Pages – not personal profiles.) Why would they do this? Well, less organic reach means that you now need to pay them to promote your posts.
Obviously this was a pretty big blow to a lot of small businesses.
But on Feb. 24, Facebook announced yet another update for brand pages, which rolled out yesterday. Luckily, this time it’s good news. In fact, this gives businesses a greater opportunity to reach people than ever. Now, when a Page tags a separate brand or celebrity Page in a post, that content will display in the news feed for followers of both Pages.
Here’s An Example
In this post, Bleacher Report has tagged Dwight Howard. This is common practice for the sports reporting blog. The difference is that in the past, this post would have shown up in the news feed just for their own 840,000 likes. It still does that, except that it now shows in the news feed for the 4.1 Million Facebook fans of Dwight Howard as well.
Does this sound familiar? For a long time, we have been seeing this with our personal profiles. I’m sure you’ve noticed already that you’ll often see posts from people that you don’t know, but it’s showing up because they have tagged on of your Facebook friends.
The difference? Pages can reach thousands, if not millions, of people. Posts by the typical user may only reach a few hundred users.
How to Make This Update Work for You
So let’s say you are a small, local business – a restaurant, for example. Maybe you have 500 Facebook fans. Don’t get me wrong; that’s great. It’s truly not all about the number of fans you have. But, you as the restaurant owner, have long been limited to a 500 person reach (unless you want to pay for more).
And to expand on that idea, you are really actually limited to less than your total Facebook count. The Facebook algorithm is designed to take into account which users are engaging with your content to determine if it’s relevant to show to each particular user. So for that 500 follower count, maybe only 100 are actually seeing consistent updates.
Don’t get me wrong, that algorithm still exists with this update. When you tag a page with 1 million followers, the algorithm will still ultimately decide which fans between your 500 and the tagged pages’s 1 million will actually find the content relevant, and display it in their news feed accordingly. But algorithm or not, this is a huge marketing opportunity to reach a substantially larger (and relevant) audience without paying a dime. All it takes is a little creativity and willpower to do it.
Please Don’t Ruin It
As my favorite social media guru, Gary Vaynerchuk, always says: “Marketers Ruin Everything.”
Facebook claims this is “a new way for people to discover conversations around topics they’ve expressed interest in.” Makes sense. If they like Dwight Howard and Bleacher Report is writing a post about Dwight Howard, it makes sense that you could serve the fans of Dwight Howard with their post.
In addition, Facebook’s Product Manager Andrew Song had this to say:
When we tested adding this feature for pages, we found that people liked seeing this type of content in their News Feeds and gave these stories high scores in surveys. We look at many factors to make sure the most relevant stories appear in News Feed, including which posts are getting the most engagement (such as likes, comments, shares, and clicks) across all of Facebook.”
But, marketers, please don’t ruin this. I can already see some people’s mind spinning with ideas on how to manipulate this and how to spam the wall’s of unsuspecting companies. I also see advertisers teaming up with ways to double team you on their ad content. Please don’t do this.
If nothing else, know that Facebook’s algorithm is designed to filter out content that is not deemed engaging or important by Facebook users. So, while your spamming ideas may work initially, it won’t for long. Be creative and make sure you are only tagging relevant pages with your content. As with all types of marketing, specifically in the digital realm, don’t over-do it either.
By the way, this feature is rolling out to pages over the next week or so. So if you haven’t noticed it yet, just be patient. Use the extra few days to come up with some great ideas to strategically leverage this awesome new feature!