Change has been part of the very nature of social media since its inception. Platforms are updated all the time, new ones pop up every day and even the way that we use social media, both as individuals and businesses, is constantly evolving.
Facebook, which is by far the most widely used social network in the world, has never shied away from change. In order to stay popular and relevant, Facebook has to be willing to adapt, often in response to the new and unexpected ways that people are using the platform.
It’s within this context that Facebook made its most recent announcements of changes that will be made to the Newsfeed over the coming months.
Whilst these are major changes to how Facebook works, and they will almost certainly affect Facebook Pages, here I want to focus on how you, as a Page admin can respond when Facebook drops a bombshell, such as this recent one. Because these aren’t the first updates Facebook has made and they won’t be the last.
Three Golden Rules To Remember When Facebook Makes An Announcement
Unfortunately, every time Facebook announces an update it is invariably whipped up into a frenzy. People will tell you that small businesses are dead on Facebook from now on, others will vent about Facebook’s apparent dislike of businesses and how they are doing all they can to make Facebook a “pay to play” platform (in other words, the only way to get seen is by paying for advertising).
None of this is actually very helpful. It tends to cause a whole load of fear and panic amongst people who have been using Facebook to build their businesses and their online community, without offering them anyway forward.
To help you side-step the panic, here are my three golden rules…
1. Find out the facts
Facebook will usually release a statement if they are making a major change to how the Newsfeed works (they don’t always announce minor changes). Anyone can pop over to the Facebook Newsroom and read the announcement for themselves. Unfortunately, there can be room for interpretation but arming yourself with the facts will help you sort the interpretation from the obvious guesswork… Sometimes you may find that people are putting 2 and 2 together and coming out with 268. I’ll explain more about dealing with this in rule #3.
2. Side-step the scaremongering
A lot of the posts that we see flying around in the wake of an announcement about a Newsfeed update are born out of genuine concern and a desire to warn and/or help people. However, there is also an element of scaremongering that goes on. I won’t speculate here about the reasons behind that but the important thing is to be aware that this does go on. It can be so easy to get pulled into something for fear of missing out or being left behind.
Knee jerk reactions can lead you down a path that turns out to be a waste of your precious time and money. Know that you don’t have to make on the spot decisions – take your time, find out everything you need to know and then make strategic decisions that are right for you and your business.
If you need more information or have questions to ask then turn to someone that you trust and evaluate their answers and recommendations in light of your own business strategy.
A good example of this is the that I know many of you have come across recently is the advice to take a step back from your Facebook Page and focus your efforts on Facebook Groups instead. I wrote about why that may or may not be the best move for your business in this blog post: Should I Create A Free Facebook Group?
3. Know that it takes time for anyone to see the true impact of an update
In amongst all of the noise and frenzy, you will no doubt come across people that claim to have all the answers. They know exactly what impact the updates are going to have and therefore can tell you exactly what to do next.
The truth is, the only people who have the answers are Mack Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook. And even then, these things rarely pan out exactly how they envision. Because, whilst these are changes to code and technology the impact they have is on people and that makes this an organic process which is difficult to predict.
Firstly, bear in mind that it will take time for the updates to actually be rolled out. Often it is done country by country and, even when it is a global update, we rarely see the announced update take immediate effect for all users.
Secondly, once the updates have begun to take effect it takes time to see the results. We have seen past changes to the Newsfeed impact individual users and individual pages in different ways – the Facebook experience is less universal than you might think. So, it is only by looking at data from lots of different Facebook Pages over a period of time that I am able to pick out trends and this is the information I then pass on to my community.
The final point I want to leave you with is this. Even once we’ve read and understood the facts and we’ve looked at the data to measure the impact of Facebook’s updates things can change on a daily basis. What’s more, we’ll never know 100% of what goes into the inner workings of Facebook, we only know what Facebook chooses to share.
Facebook is an evolving platform and so we, as businesses and Page admins, must be willing to adapt and evolve our strategies so that we can continue to make the best possible use of a network which is connecting over 2 billion people around the world.
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