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Marketing, Social Media

New Facebook News Feed Preferences – What Do They Mean for Small Businesses?

facebook_algorithm

Marketers always watch anxiously whenever Facebook announces changes to its algorithm and advertising rules. Every time Facebook announces new rules for which status updates appear in users’ News Feeds, the rules of the Facebook advertising game change along with it. Recent changes have seen big brands and small business owners lose a substantial amount of the organic reach from status updates that they post to their Facebook pages – according to a study cited in AdWeek, whenever you post an update on your business Facebook page, only 11 percent (or less) of your audience are likely to see it show up in their News Feeds.

Although Facebook tries to make it sound like this decrease in organic reach is a good thing for businesses – because it’s now able to offer businesses the ability to buy ads in order to reach a more highly targeted and valuable percentage of their Facebook audience – many small business owners might feel like they’re getting lost in the clutter of too many big brands fighting for too little consumer attention. That’s why the announcement of new Facebook News Feed preferences might be good news for small businesses.

According to Mashable, Facebook is introducing new preference options for its News Feed in the Facebook iOS app. While it’s still early, it appears that these Facebook changes will make it easier for small businesses to connect with their audience and build a following on Facebook.

Here are a few of the most important Facebook changes that might make a difference for your small business:

Prioritize Who to See First

Users now have the ability to choose up to 30 people and pages that they always want to see as top priorities in their News Feeds. If you have certain Facebook friends who are particularly witty, funny and insightful, you can mark them as Priority so you won’t miss any of their updates. In the same way, users can also mark certain business pages as Priority viewing.

Why this is a good thing for small businesses: Small businesses often have closer connections with their customers than big brands do. It’s just a fact of life: we often have a stronger affinity for the neighborhood coffee shop than we do for a big corporate brand. We often are happier to see Facebook updates from our favorite local restaurant than from a big national chain. If your business has a core following of people who love what you do, encourage them to select you as one of their 30 Priority Facebook accounts.

Discover New Pages

Facebook is also introducing a feature to Discover New Pages. With this feature, Facebook makes suggestions to users to encourage them to “like” additional pages, with the goal of giving people more pages that they will be highly interested to see. The suggestions for Discover New Pages are based on the user’s own existing pages that they have “liked,” as well as the pages that have been “liked” by other users who have common interests. Facebook is trying to use its vast ocean of user data to make its site more relevant, compelling and attention-commanding – and this can be a good thing for small businesses too.

Why this is a good thing for small businesses: Small businesses don’t have big budgets for Facebook advertising. If your business is struggling to build a big audience on Facebook, tools like the new Discover New Pages feature might help you expand your audience. For example, someone who “likes” a page for a friendly neighborhood coffee shop might happen to see the page for your local family-owned restaurant, and decide to click “like.” Instead of making you pay for advertising to expand your audience, this feature enables small business owners to build their audience more organically, based on users’ existing interests.

Facebook marketing is a constantly changing game, and no one knows how the playing field will continue to evolve. But these latest features for Facebook News Feed preferences are a good sign that small businesses might get a bit of a break – making it easier to talk to your most devoted fans, while also expanding the size of your audience to find additional like-minded prospective customers.

Kabbage Takeaway: Facebook has announced new News Feed preferences for its iOS app. These new preferences may make life a bit easier for small business owners who want to expand their Facebook audience and achieve more efficient Facebook marketing.

Have you tried the new Facebook News Feed preferences? How are you trying to proactively engage your customers on Facebook – by encouraging them to make you a Priority account, etc.? Leave a comment and let us know!