Ever since the F8 conference, experts have been trying their best to guess at how small business is going to be hurt by the new Facebook changes. To be honest, it looks a little overwhelming at first. The changes seem to favor big business, especially the media companies or those invested in major advertising agencies and the specialized ($$$) experiences that they can offer the user.
As I said, the new changes put more emphasis on big brands building, basically, a media production platform on their Facebook page. The changes that we have seen would seem to suggest that if I can afford a stellar developer to build an app for my business, or develop a great internet video mini-series on Facebook, then I will win. Other speculations on how to overcome the Facebook changes for small business include buying more ads, which have been revamped for better local market targets.
So… who thinks Facebook is still a wise investment when it comes to having a presence for your small business? (crickets chirping)
Fear not. There are some ways you can fight back to help your small business win as the Facebook changes roll out over the next few weeks.
- Do not obsess over the Facebook changes: Worrying is a lot like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere (Yup… Just quoted Van Wilder.) Look, if you’re really worried about Facebook ruining your small business presence, then you’re not seeing the big picture. Search engines like Bing and Google know that to get better results for their users, they need to focus on hyper local, small business. This is why every search engine’s version of Google Places is at the top of your SERPs. Local is important to the user, and for Facebook, it’s even more important. So rest assured, as evil as Google and Facebook might be, they’re nothing without you, the small business.
- Check your Insights: Your Facebook Insights (FB analytics) will become more important than ever. I suspect that timing your posts will become essential and figuring out which keywords get the most interactions will play a larger role as well. As Chris Syme says, “This data is your biggest guide to what works and what doesn’t.” Know this data well and use it to your advantage.
- Build communities within communities: If you’re a small business owner and you are actually trying to do this on your own (see About KE), then your best friends on Facebook should be the other small business owners who have created a presence for their brand as well. Interact with them, their fans, and leverage the relationship to your advantage to build loyalty for your own brand. This is basic community building tactic, but I believe that building quality, organic growth on Facebook is still important, though some would disagree. The focus should always be on quality. If your fans came over to your page because of a free iPad giveaway and turned you off since then, you will most likely be hit with these changes. However, those of you who have a small number of fans with quality interactions should actually be fine.
- Create your own, original content: Just like the SEO world, content is king. Most small business owners do not think that they can create quality content for the web. Their vision of a successful video campaign ranks somewhere near Old Spice’s viral videos. Today, anyone can create their own YouTube video. Listen, your video doesn’t have to be a major production. It just needs to be authentic, empathetic, and offering up some sort of value to the customer. That means that it can be a funny skit once a month, a video showing “behind the scenes” of what you do, or a short documentary on “how stuff works” at your business. By the way, Facebook video streaming pales in comparison to YouTube, the 2nd most popular search engine on the internet. Oh, and their big daddy is Google. If you decide to test Facebook streaming for your videos, do not neglect uploading to YouTube either. Videos on YouTube have a whole lot of SEO value, especially when considering the fact that Google prefers them over other sites.
- SEO your social media too: The title of your page matters, the about section matters, and your location matters. Spending the time to research basic SEO for your Facebook is worth the time. Not only will you be making Google happy, but you will be pleasing Bing as well, which is integrated into Facebook and pushes social media harder than Google. Sharing links and writing quality posts consistently may play a roll in the SEO of your page (and your website too!)
- Stop relying on Facebook for your web presence: If you’re freaking out about Facebook changes, then you must be relying on them far too hard. As we have seen, Facebook can change on a whim, with little or no warning. Your Facebook page could be wiped off of the internet tomorrow if they (or someone else) wanted. Never, ever, put all of your eggs in the Facebook basket. Your time is best spent building a high quality website (I suggest WordPress) accompanied with consistent, high quality blogging. Also, remember to spend time using YouTube and Twitter as well. They are extremely valuable tools that too many people ignore because “they don’t get it.” Remember, there was a time when you didn’t “get” Facebook either.