In the past few years, Facebook has revolutionized the social media experience. Websites like Myspace, which came before Facebook, have all crumbled and disappeared, unable to contend with the brainchild of the infamous Mark Zuckerberg. The youngest generation has heard of these networks only in rumor, while everyone else only has a distant memory of the world before Facebook. Yet Facebook, the foremost of all social media networks, did not get to be where it is now by being lucky.
Facebook is constantly being updated by a team of professionals in order to ensure that they have the upper hand over their competitors, a feat they have managed to succeed at since their conception. When Facebook adds or changes features offered to its members, it does so based on extensive research into what users are looking to get out of their Facebook experience.
Recently, Facebook has come out stating that, while text statuses from friends are well received, the same cannot be said about text statuses from company pages. In fact, their studies have shown that the more your friends post text statuses, the more likely you are to do the same. But for statuses from Pages, text statuses do not receive nearly as many views, shares and likes as statuses that contain images, videos and links.
A Suggested Solution
The same study also revealed that pages should not be embedding links into text statuses, but including them instead as a link-share, which presents an image or video clip from the linked website within the body of the status. These statuses, Facebook states, are much better received, and they are more in line with what Facebook members are looking for when reading their newsfeed.
So what does this mean for businesses? Unfortunately, it means a lot. It’s one thing if Facebook was offering friendly advice to companies that make use of Pages by telling them what sort of statuses will be better received, but Facebook has gone a step past that.
Reinforcing the Problem
Due to a new algorithm on their website, Facebook is able to push text statuses from Pages lower down in people’s newsfeeds, making it so that many will go unseen. While this may be good news to the Facebook users who are uninterested in their newsfeeds filling with spam, it’s bad news for the business owners looking to post updates, sales and coupons in order to draw attention to their business from Facebook followers. Businesses that are in a complicated or unfamiliar vertical like construction software sales or website design often rely on text statuses to provide relevant industry news and updates to their customers.
Now, businesses will have to limit their statuses to links, images and videos in order to remain in a visible place on their followers’ newsfeeds. While some may be good at doing this, creating statuses in this way takes a lot of time, and it limits the ability to post quick updates.
Facebook has not been shy about its desire to be more than a social media network, eventually becoming a substitute for a newspaper. Facebook’s goal is for the newsfeed to become a place people go to scan for information. And, even now, this has already started to happen. More and more people are posting articles and viral information, and many users will happily admit that they get most of their information from Facebook.
Yet, if the goal of Facebook is to become a source of information, it seems odd that they would be crippling businesses’ abilities to do just that: inform. Without being able to publish text statuses, much of the information companies wish to impart will be lost.
It’s too early to tell if Facebook’s algorithm is here to stay, but it seems safe to say that businesses are either going to have to play by their rules and post “member-friendly” statuses or move their online marketing to a different site.
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