Facebook has long been the social media weapon of choice for millions of small businesses, allowing brands to connect with current customers, find new ones and showcase their goods and services to the communities they built. A single post on a user’s News Feed could increase customer engagement tenfold thanks to a quick share.
But those days might be over following the social media giant’s decision to change their News Feed page into an ‘Explore Feed’.
What is the Facebook Explore Feed?
Facebook’s new Explore Feed, which was originally tested on mobile and has now been rolled out across platforms, has been designed to let users find more content across Facebook’s network.
Unlike the traditional News Feed which would link users to posts from friends and liked pages, the new Explore Feed will include suggested posts that correspond to the user’s interests made by pages they have not yet discovered. The move has been made in the hopes that readers will spend longer on the site exploring more pages. Users will still be able to access their News Feeds, but these will now be almost exclusively posts from friended users, any posts from pages will be limited to those who have paid to appear there.
Does this mean the end for small businesses on Facebook?
The new changes will certainly make it more difficult for pages to enjoy organic reach but it is not the end of world for small businesses. Facebook changes are constantly rolling out with less fanfare, and companies have always managed to adapt. While this change might seem like a more direct challenge to small businesses in particular, it makes it more important than ever that the content you offer your followers valuable and able to compensate for a lack of News Feed presence.
What other platforms should we be looking at for small business?
The Explore Feed’s implementation serves as a good example as to why businesses should have multiple channels for customers to engage with. It’s not just brands that are multi-channel - the average social media user has five accounts. So even if Facebook’s new feed is limiting your page reach, there’s every chance your followers will catch your updates through another channel like Twitter.
Twitter-using businesses can also benefit from ‘business hours’, identifiable by the corresponding hashtag. These set times will let your brand post with a hashtag that lists you along with other local businesses, and for a set hour each week, your city or county’s businesses can enjoy 60 minutes of spotlight among Twitter users. Not only is this great for promotion, it’s also a fantastic chance for networking which can be very useful during the festive seasons.
Instagram is another social media channel you should definitely be using to promote your business, especially if your business offers something that really lends itself to some killer photography. A hairdresser making clients look fabulous, a shop selling beautifully designed products or a café able to upload drool-worthy snaps should all be sharing their talents on Instagram. The social media platform, which back in 2012 was purchased by Facebook when it had only 13 employees, has exploded in recent years and now has roughly 14 million users in the UK alone, and over 500 million worldwide, with no signs of slowing in popularity. For businesses, the visual nature of Instagram, as well as the sales-driving power of the hashtag, means customers can be won in a single glance.