Facebook Throws a Curve Ball to Business Pages

by Blair Evan Ball on January 17, 2018

Facebook Throws business pages a curve ball_Prepare1 Image

Did you realize Facebook made a major change to it’s algorithm…again?

Do you realize the impact it will have on business pages?

In previous posts I’ve discussed that Facebook business page organic reach has been declining over the past couple of years, and most recently as of the last six months dramatically.

Facebook has overhauled how it ranks the posts, videos and photos that appear in its users’ News Feeds, introducing major changes last Thursday designed to put what friends and family have to say first. All at the expense of Business Pages.

I’ve heard numerous complaints over the past year from friends and family how they have lost touch with them on Facebook because their news feed has disappeared. We must remember that humans are still controlling what we see, and soon it will be AI.


As I have cautioned businesses and clients, social media can be a great tool however it is rented land. The social media giants control the lever, and push the buttons. We have to remain flexible and nimble.

I’ve talked to businesses who’ve seen dramatic drops in their organic reach as well as traffic that was referred back to their websites.

In a Facebook post on the company’s blog Thursday, the head of its News Feed team, Adam Mosseri, wrote that showing more posts from friends and family “means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.

Facebook has come under fire recently for how the social site is making people feel, which is negative most of the time. In December, Facebook itself acknowledged that passive consumption of information — surfing shopping websites or spending too much time  — is often bad for your mood. (Sorry!)

Happy or Sad

It gestured toward a 2015 paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that showed that passive usage of the website, even for just 10 minutes a day, had a negative effect on students’ sense of well-being.


Interestingly enough Facebook is expecting a drop in people on the site and the amount of time they spend. What impact will this have on your business?

According to founder Mark Zuckerberg “I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” he said in his post about the changes. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

Suddenly, the most existential threat Zuckerberg faces isn’t some rival service. It’s his own.

The media is increasingly fixated on the dark, unintended consequences of Facebook and other social networks. Regulators are scrutinizing the company more than ever before. Former Facebook executives have spoken out to express regret about what they built. And so has Zuckerberg.


Some publishers and civil society groups have reacted with alarm. Some journalists reported readership halving overnight as a result of them disappearing from most social media feeds. Some business owners I know have had their referral traffic to their website cut dramatically.

A similar change worldwide would wreak havoc on the media ecosystem, as well as the ability of activists and campaigners to have a voice with the wider public.

Remember folks when dealing with Social Media, we are dealing with rented land.


Rented Land



But we have a business to run, and so do you. So let’s pour one out for the lost days of building organic Facebook audiences and capitalizing on them as a fantastic distribution channel.

FB Organic Reach Declining_Prepare1 Image

It’s too early to know exactly how these updates will impact Facebook ads and your business goals, but suffice to say it’s going to be a rough ride for a while. With the new Facebook update, Zuckerberg is walking Facebook back from its reputation as a data mining empire willing to work with shady advertisers and happy to sell everything you’ve ever said and perhaps even thought. Again, ultimately that’s good.

They’re going back to their roots: Fighting with your in-laws, congratulating your college friend on their marriage, watching dog videos, and getting genuine insight into the day to day lives of friends and family scattered across the world.

With the new Facebook update, comments are queen.

Zuckerberg is perfectly clear that the way people engage with Facebook (and Facebook’s millennial little sibling, Instagram) is going to change. Some things are straightforward, such as posts with comments getting more weight in news feeds than posts with lots of likes or shares.

But we’re still looking at a vast unknown, and an unknown timeline when it comes to the rollout.

As a marketer, you likely spend part of your digital marketing budget on Facebook ads. It would be absurd not to. After all, Facebook knows more about people than they know about themselves, making it easier than it’s ever been to tailor digital advertising to the right customers.

You’re not alone in wondering if you’re going to get the same bang for your buck moving forward. It’s going to be a trial and error landscape. (No one likes unknowns when they’re pushing toward smart marketing goals.)


Keep advertising. Pay close attention to the performance. Continue tweaking audiences. Otherwise, in a digital world that emphasizes relationships, all you can do is continue to emphasize genuine human connection. This is much easier said than done for brands, who often put significant effort into honing communication strategies and building Facebook communities only to find their perfectly useful, engaging content buried.

Do not put all of your eggs into the Facebook basket. Continue to have a presence on Facebook, build your following so you can advertise to them and to people who think and behave like them, but know that you’re going to see a decline in traffic from your Facebook posts. In the meantime, repurpose content.

Start a Blog or keep blogging. Email is not dead, compose great emails, expand your email database. Segment your email database and use that copy on social media.

You own that data, unlike the data related to your followers on Facebook. Email lists are gold, and growing and nurturing those contacts should take precedence over organic social media.

This isn’t the end of the world, even though it feels like it. But the new Facebook update will certainly present a challenge not only to marketers, but to organizations like non-profits that rely heavily on Facebook engagement to grow and communicate with followers.

Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, and this is just one more bump in the winding road.


If you’re going to pay-to-play, get your targeting right. Once you’ve built an audience of relevant fans, focus on advertising the content assets you’ve created — blog posts, ebooks, etc. — and use ads to amplify them to targeted users.

Remember: It’s likely only a matter of time before organic reach hits zero, so you might as well hone your paid strategy now, which brings me to one final recommendation …

If you do advertise, go beyond the basics.

Facebook’s targeting capabilities have gotten considerably better over the past few years. You can now pay to reach your ideal persona based on demographics, interests, web behavior, and more.

Additionally, there are a bunch of tools and features that can help you maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns, including:

To learn more about how you can improve your Facebook Page’s reach, check out my friends over at Hubspot for their free guide: How to Attract Customers with Facebook.

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

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