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How can your business survive Facebook’s changes?

Most of our clients would have heard us say at least once: “Don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket. Keep building your email list. Have you considered adding some more traditional strategies to your marketing mix?”

Facebook’s recent announcement that Page posts will be ‘demoted’ by the algorithm is the exact reason we’d been harping on about this.

If you missed it, the general gist was that Facebook has recognised its impact on the world’s social and mental wellbeing and is looking to return the ‘warm and fuzzy’ to the Facebook experience by prioritising posts from your friends and family in your timeline over those from the publishers and businesses you follow. Essentially, soon you’ll be five times more likely to see posts of your Aunty Ethyl on her singles’ cruise in your timeline than you will from that cool cake shop you follow.

This is by no means a bad thing – I’m sure we all mindlessly consume far more cat video compilations, Disney character questionnaires and tag-a-friend giveaways than is healthy – but it does mean businesses are going to have to be more strategic about how they use Facebook to market themselves; and perhaps look to other marketing techniques as the organic engagement on their pages drops (it’s expected to decrease by as much as 80% for some pages) and the cost of Facebook advertising climbs (the ole rule of supply and demand is sure to take hold).

While this announcement may cause some knee-jerk reactions for businesses that have used Facebook as their ONLY strategy, this is an exciting time for the marketing world, as it means we’ll likely see the return of more rounded strategies and creative concepts.

For Harshmellow’s social media clients, we’ll be hitting the drawing board this week to dream up some new strategies that will help you weather Facebook’s algorithm changes, and be in touch shortly to discuss your new plan.

For all those clients, and anyone else looking to maintain some foothold with their Facebook fans, our general recommendations are:

  1. Focus on quality over quantity

With posts from friends and family out-ranking businesses by as much as 500 per cent, it will be more important than ever to create highly engaging posts that people will want to share. Facebook will prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. This may mean posting two really great posts per week, instead of one mediocre one every day.

  1. Avoid the temptation to use ‘engagement bait’

In the past, calls to action like “Tag a friend to win”, “Like if you support XYZ” and “Comment below if you like dogs” have been great ways to boost engagement, but Facebook has made it very clear that these posts will be demoted from now on. In the long run, this will benefit everyone, as having a raft of inactive fans would have resulted in your content being served to fewer people anyway, but it can be a tough habit to break.

  1. Think about live video

Facebook’s research has shown that live video can average six-times higher engagement than regular videos. Think about how you can draw people into your business or brand through live videos, but remember, you need time to build a live audience, so a great live video will go for at least three to five minutes.

  1. Don’t use Facebook as your only marketing tool

So you have 1,000 followers. Terrific. Currently, Facebook will organically serve your posts up to about 50 of those (5%), with the algorithm updates this could drop by up to 80 per cent, so that 10 of your 1,000 followers will see your posts in their timeline. No-one knows quite how this change will affect paid Facebook advertising yet, but it’s clear there will be less real estate for advertising and higher costs to claim it.

There is still an awful lot that is unclear about how businesses will be affected by these changes, but our major tip is to start thinking about what you can do outside of Facebook to build and maintain your brand awareness. It was inevitable that this would eventually happen: no advertising platform – anywhere, ever – has given out a lifetime of free marketing services and ultimately, why should Facebook be any different? We’re quite excited that this will prompt business owners to think about which channels are really the best (not the cheapest) platforms for promoting their businesses and can’t wait to see some creative strategies unfold!


If you’re worried about how the changes might affect your business, feel free to get in touch. We’d love to help you plan and implement a new strategy that will get you results.

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