Take a deep breath; it’s not the end of the social world as we know it! By now, you have probably heard about the changes Facebook has made to its algorithm which dictates how many fans a brand can reach with it's posts. Many of the articles I have read are very gloomy and accusing Facebook of strong arming brands into paying to reach their audiences. I have to admit, at first I was pretty peeved about the changes, however I have come to realize that this change is a good thing for brands. Here’s why:
Limiting your reach saves you from yourself.
When managing a Facebook page, the QUALITY of your posts should be more important to you than the QUANTITY of your posts. However, many brands still think that the more they post, the more fans they will reach. This is not true. Based on Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm, the reach of your content will grow with the amount of people that engage with it. If you post frequently throughout the day and nobody cares enough to like, comment or share, Facebook will assume your content is not interesting enough to show to more users. While this isn’t an exact science just yet, studies have shown that one of the biggest reasons people unlike brands is too much content. This change actually saves brands that post too much from unknowingly over marketing to their fans.
There is no need to reach everyone all of the time.
This point is similar to the first, but with a slight twist. While it would be nice to think that we all come up with witty and engaging content all of the time, realistically we don’t. It is in brand’s best interest to not reach all of their fans all of the time for a few reasons. First, not every idea is a great idea. Imagine posting something that over half of your community hates. With a single post, you have turned off half of your fan base. Having limited reach (with an option of paying to promote) is ideal because when you finally do come through with that awesome post, you will want to showcase that to everyone possible, not the post that flopped. Second, it would be pure chaos if every brand could reach every fan, every time. The situation would be much worse for both brands and users if news feeds were flooded with promotional material. In the end, all that matters is the user experience of Facebook. People don’t go there to specifically interact with a brand, they are distracted along the way. When brands overstep their boundaries and force themselves on users, social media dies.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Imagine this, just because you said you like pizza once, someone tries to make you have it every day. Pretty annoying, right? Now, imagine that you only get to have pizza once in a while. You look forward to it more, right? This is another reason why these reach restrictions are a good thing. It is very likely that your fans will grow tired of seeing your brand every day. They might even be compelled to unlike you. When they click THAT button, you lose. Its OK to only reach a certain percentage of your community at a time. This allows for the other users to miss you and if you have great content, they will be excited to see your posts once it enters their news feeds again.
In the end, no matter what crazy changes Facebook makes, nothing will ever depose great content as the king of social media. Facebook doesn't want to lose brands nor users, so there has to be a happy balance and responsible control of content. These changes are beneficial to brands, whether they know it or not.
Author: Nathan Mendenhall