Both Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) have announced big changes for Fall 2019. According to Facebook, these changes are “the biggest changes we’ve seen in the last five years.”
As small business owners, these changes will affect us the most.
Now is the time to update your Facebook and Instagram marketing strategies and put best practices in play for a successful end of 2019.
New Facebook Feature: Organic Targeting
Organic posts are the free posts that you post to your feed. Facebook is now allowing you target your current followers. This targeting will improve your ability to increase your organic reach and improve your engagement and reach.
More engagement = more reach to your current audience.
Instagram Changes: Removing Likes and Video Views
Instagram will be removing the Likes and Video Views from your posts. As the Admin, you will be able to see these numbers, but your followers will not.
Instagram states, “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many Likes they get.”
This is being rolled out. Currently, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand are the first countries impacted. We in the U.S. can expect this to happen to our Instagram pages later this fall.
It’s always easier to get likes than to get comments. Social Proof catches interest. Comments are important now for Social Proof. Your engagement and reach will increase when your posts get comments according to Instagram’s new algorithm.
Instagram Changes: Explore Page
In an effort to improve the user experience, Instagram will remove low-quality posts for the Explore Page.
The Explore Page was a great way for businesses to be found on Instagram. Now there will be reduced discoverability for Instagram accounts.
Facebook Groups Changes
Changes are coming to Facebook Groups too.
One change is when a user leaves your Group, he or she can select to remove all prior posts. This change has already been rolled out.
Another change is Facebook will provide notifications when it flags or removes content posted in your Group. Your Group must be in compliance with Community Standards (not posting fake news or hate speech). Facebook will notify the Admin or Moderators of the group about the removed post.
Facebook Changes: Newsfeed
In May/June, Facebook released a new mobile newsfeed. The post image is smaller and only three lines of text show.
Facebook’s desktop newsfeed is expecting a complete overhaul. Right now, it’s been rolled out to a small group of users to work out the bugs and get feedback about what they like and don’t like.
In testing, there is a further reduction of the organic reach of Business Page posts. Mark Zuckerberg said, “Pages creating posts that people generally don’t interact or comment on will see the biggest decreases in Reach.”
What Small Business Can Do
These changes will make it more difficult for small businesses to get exposure on Facebook and Instagram.
What can you do?
Focus on meaningful interactions. Get reactions to your posts other than the thumbs up. If your fans like your posts using the heart or other reactions, your post will have reach. Even better is if your fans comment on your post and share your post.
Facebook’s new algorithm will look at your posts’ engagements. How many likes did it get? How many reactions did it get? How many shares?
Avoid posting content that is created for the sole purpose of pushing people to buy a product, has calls-to-action to buy something, or asks people to make an appointment. Facebook will flag these posts and they won’t show that post to as many people as before these changes.
Share original content. Posts that link to outbound content will also be flagged. Facebook wants people to stay in their app.