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The coming Facebook changes

If you are a small business or a nonprofit, you may be aware of the changes that Facebook is making to the way it distributes posts into our follower's news feeds. If your posts have been promotional in nature, even those that were intentional and creative, Facebook changes will result in "organic distribution" that will "fall significantly over time," starting in mid-January. That means that business and nonprofit pages will reach fewer and fewer of those who follow us if we are using language that looks or smells like advertising. Facebook's solution for that is simple, if it is advertising, then they want you to pay them for it.  Some painfully respond that they already "paid" with significant effort to build the "likes" on their pages, but those complaints aren't getting much response.

Here is the silver lining

Facebook is reminding us about something we probably knew and possibly forgot. People use social networks because they want to connect with humans. While they do follow brands, they don't like promotional posts. To stay connected to customers, brands have to start acting like people again.

Small businesses and nonprofits that post real human messages, those that come from an identifiable person, tell real stories and connect with real customer's feedback and concerns,  fare much better in almost all social media.

Even though it sounds strange, it's really easy for us to forget that we are, in fact, people who run local enterprise. We can get caught up in thinking that our technology will be the magic bullet that will attract new customers and supporters. But our email blasts, boosted posts and click ads can lead us into the trap of moving from offering something of real value to simply being another commodity. And few of us can compete on those grounds against the likes of the big box stories and charities. The truth is, people (even customers) want more than just a deal, they want a human connection.

To quote Andrew Schneider from Online Amiga-  Because of Facebook changes, "Businesses will have to become more social on social media, engaging with fans instead of just speaking to them."

As you prepare to adjust to Facebook changes, consider these primary reasons for people's use of social networks, and how you can offer content that has real human value:

  • Humor- a good laugh is an important human connection. Even if you have a very serious business or mission, find a way to introduce humor.
  • News- 30% of all news is now delivered through Facebook. If your business or nonprofit can make or participate in real news making, you will connect.
  • Human Connection- Real people should be making your posts- let them have faces and names and personalities-- after all, that is what real humans do.

Here are a couple of tips to help you survive Facebook withdrawal:
1)  Consider your posts as something that has to have both a personal touch and practical value--something people want to read, and actually enjoy.
2) Get serious about enlisting informal champions to talk about what your organization is doing. They won't get filtered out and each individual has an average of 120 people in each of their networks. You can do the math-- 10 good champions can reach 1200 friends.

David Mills

Written by David Mills

David is one of the founders of Story Collaborative and serves as the Chief Growth Officer. He is passionate about finding the right strategy for each client and helping them move into sustainable growth. He is a veteran of organizational development and communications and has worked with thousands of businesses and nonprofits across the country.