How to Work with the Facebook and Instagram Changes

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The hottest topic in the past few weeks has been the changes on Facebook and Instagram. It only makes sense we explore it, especially because a lot of accounts are still experiencing glitches and that’s quite confusing for most business owners. Let’s explain exactly what’s going on and how to work with these changes.

What’s Changing on Facebook

Facebook has gone through a tough year, having to answer to Congress about the huge Cambridge Analytica scandal and a lot of other private info leaks and breaches. These are the main reasons why Mark Zuckerberg and co have decided to turn their back on permanent content in favour of temporary posts, i.e. Stories. In a few weeks from now we expect the whole timeline, as we know it, to disappear. We will see 4 sections — Stories, Videos, Groups and perhaps ads, or marketplace. If you ask me, this isn’t great for business. But now it is a matter of utilising all of your resources into the creation of visual content — attractive and entertaining images, short punchy messages that can go on your stories and of course, videos! Your best strategy for higher engagement would be to produce educational (how to) videos, behind the scenes and interviews. Whenever you create content for Facebook, think about how it serves your audience. Does it bring any sort of value to them? If it doesn’t, then you can’t expect high engagement rates or reach, for that matter.

Pages and Groups Reach

Speaking of reach…once again, the algorithm update is slashing the organic reach of both pages and groups. The maximum organic reach for groups is expected to be 6.5%, and for pages only 2–3%. Clearly, this is terrible for getting your message across. So, is Facebook still the place to be doing business? Yes! But you need a new strategy. If before we were constantly telling clients to post on their business pages as frequently as possible (meaning daily), now we are advising to get the activity down to 3–4 times a week, but make sure they increase the use of Stories. Stories are now gold for your page’s reach and engagement rate! Users can now share a Story on their timeline, react and comment on it! Finally, something that indeed, helps reach! Having said that, whether we like it or not, we are forced to use more paid ads on Facebook. Note I said ads, not boosted posts. There is a clear difference between the two, but I will explain further a little later in this article.

Changes in Messenger

The integration of Messenger and Whatsapp is definitely happening and Facebook has announced that the conversations on Messenger will be secured with end-to-end encryption and users will have the option to make all private communication temporary. Again, this isn’t good for business, having in mind that a lot of small businesses use Messenger to communicate with their customers and there is important order or client info that needs to be saved. In addition, it may be more difficult to settle disputes between sellers and buyers via Messenger if the chronology of the chat disappears. This means two things — get your filing game on point and start using emails. Screenshot and store appropriately (in accordance with your privacy policy and GDPR) all information that is essential for business. One good thing about this change is that it may help you build your email list quicker and easier. Request that your customers on Facebook give you their email address to ensure seamless communication with them at all times and protect their interests, as well as your own. Never think of breaching the GDPR rules in your communication with clients. If you decide to send marketing or promotional content to their email, you must ask for permission in writing to do so before you do it!

Whatsapp has been testing a payment system in India, which has worked just fine so far, so this feature is rolling out to more countries around the world. This can be both great and not so great for your business, but we will know more about it once we see it in action in the UK.

Changes in Pages and Content Quality

Have you noticed that Facebook is a lot more picky these days about the things they allow you to post? That’s because they’ve decided to tighten up the quality control on all content across the platform. Pages are expected to add a verification tick, in order to be considered genuine by Facebook. The process isn’t too difficult, but you may experience a problem if your registered company name is different from your trading name, like in our case. The verification tag can be added through the page general settings. You will need to provide company registration documents or utility bills. For admins, Facebook may require identity verification, which means they have to provide a scanned copy of their passport or ID document.

Facebook has decided that transparency is now their priority, so users will be able to see a lot more information about your pages, which was previously not so easily accessible or invisible:

  • creation date and any changes of the page name
  • the ads that are currently running on the page
  • the admin team and page’s main location/s, based on the primary location of the admins. So for example, if your page has two admins — one lives in the UK and the other one in Spain, the page will display two locations — UK and Spain.

Female nudity is strictly forbidden, as well as anything that can suggest a naked nipple, except in the context of breastfeeding or cultural publications about indigenous people.

Tobacco products and those associated with them are not allowed in both organic and paid promotion.

Essential oils take the hit in some publications, written in languages different from English, because they are somehow linked to cannabis oil and opiums.

Any sort of violent and explicitly sexual content is taken down from timelines and groups! Admins of groups will be notified by Facebook when a member of the group regularly breaks the rules and posts content that breaches the community standards of the platform.

Read the full list of forbidden and restricted content for ads and the updated community standards on Facebook.

All this tight control on content is good in a way — ensuring high quality content being shared on Facebook, however it may also be a threat to the level of information we receive and our freedom of speech. And it’s great that Facebook is trying to tackle issues with violence and improper content for children, but when are they going to introduce proper regulations and monitoring for racists, homophobic and other discriminatory content that is overflowing non-English speaking groups and user accounts? We wait and see.

Changes in Facebook Ads

As I just mentioned, the control on the quality of content…[Read more]

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