Wednesday, 21 November 2012

What do the recent Facebook changes mean to your blog? by Liz Pulo of Lizosaurus.com...



As soon as the Facebook Pages feature was released a few years ago, hundreds of bloggers signed up and encouraged their readership to engage with them on a new platform. For many, this brought a whole new dimension to their blogging.

A new community formed – a combined group of those who were already engaged on your blog, and those who had found commenting too daunting in the past. It looked as though Facebook Pages were the magical solution to blog engagement.

That was until early this year when Facebook decided to shake up some behind the scenes algorithms. Have you noticed a drop in engagement? Not as many people seeing your posts as they used to? You're not the only one.

What is Reach?

To put it simply, reach is the number of people that have seen any one of your Facebook posts. It's that little “seen by x” figure below each post. A very simple concept – but also a very important one.

What has changed?

Prior to July 2012, reach was calculated based on the number of views your post had received by people logging in through a normal web browser (i.e. on a desktop or laptop).

Now your post counts as having reached someone when it is shown in the person’s news feed and loaded – on any platform. This include mobiles and tablets.

On a quick read through of the changes, it just sounds like they've tweaked the tracking so that your reach is more accurate. Fantastic, right? But that's not all that's going on.

What also changed was a little thing called the EdgeRank Algorithm. This algorithm determines what posts are relevant to you as a Facebook user, based on your past activity. This means that while previously you could be assured that the majority of your followers on Facebook would see your status updates, now Facebook decides who gets to see them and when.

In conjunction with this change, Facebook have also rolled out a function called Promoted Posts. Want to reach all of your followers again? You're going to have to pay for it.

This is an incredibly smart business move from Facebook, but that doesn't mean it's a positive one for it's users!

What can I do?

This is a tough one. If you were a business I would recommend allocating a budget for Facebook marketing and exploring whether paying for promoted posts is worth it for you. However, most bloggers run with little to no budget. So now what?

1. Keep engaging with your audience.

You might be seeing less of them, but it's important not to abandon them because you don't feel that you're getting the same results! Remember, Facebook decides what's relevant to each user: so the more you engage and the more relevant you are to your audience, the more your posts will pop up in their News Feeds!

2. Promote your Facebook link.

Sure, you don't have control over the News Feed, but you know what you do have control of? Your blog! Encourage people to engage with you over on Facebook. Include links at the end of your posts inviting readers to chat with you further about the topic over there (but don't neglect your comments section either!). Provide your audience with the reminders that Facebook used to provide for you.

3. Post at an optimal time for your audience.

Find out what time best suits your audience. Are they mothers, who are online early in the morning? Perhaps they're professionals, jumping online after work in an evening. Know what time suits your audience and use it. (Hint: do some posts over the next week at different times and see when your best reach is.)

4. Post interesting content.

Okay, this one is a little obvious, but sometimes we all need a reminder. Don't just post boring old text updates. Use images, videos and sound to draw the reader in. Look at your own News Feed – where do your eyes focus? I'm willing to bet you skip over the text and land on the images.

Do you have any tips and tricks for dealing with the new Facebook changes? Let us know in the comments section below!

Bio
Liz Pulo has been a blogger for over 9 years in various forms. She loves social media, blogging and lolcats. She can be found in Hobart, Australia where she lives with her husband Jarod and cat Train. Liz blogs infrequently at lizosaurus.comhttp://www.lizosaurus.com.

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