In short, yes, the new Facebook algorithm is hurting your business. It’s going to hurt if your business depends exclusively on Facebook . Based on recent metrics, the algorithm is influencing post reach and engagement across the board. But is it affecting your business?

Many businesses use Facebook as a primary means to connect with their customers. It’s free, it’s simple to post photos, video and other content right from your phone or computer. But, in light of the recent Facebook data breaches, the downward trend of user habits, they’ve prioritized posts between people, not between brands (pages) and people. So this means you’re unlikely to see posts from brands. And this all adds up to a big problem for small businesses who have relied on the service to build awareness for their businesses.

You’re probably seeing a downward trend in the number of people viewing your live video or interacting with your posts. Some customers might say they never see anything from you anymore on Facebook. If you download your Facebook data (personally) you’ll see often hundreds of pages YOU have liked that you never see content from. Likely some aren’t around anymore, but some may be posting – you just never interacted with their content so Facebook stopped showing it to you.

What next?  Instagram? Whoops, no, sorry, that’s also owned by Facebook and they also indicated all their platforms would be affected by this change.

YouTube? Pinterest? Email? (gasp!)

Building your business using free social media platforms is like building on rented land. You’re not in control of it. As the platforms and services change, your interaction with your users will also change.

What should I do?

We get this question a lot among new clients who are frustrated with their previously easy and free marketing with Facebook.

Fortunately, there are options to boost your reach and engagement (even on Facebook’s owned media). We recommend your strategy would be to spend more time (and money) on these things:

And spend some time marketing off Facebook, too:

  • Pinterest (hint, it’s a search engine!)
  • YouTube (also like a search engine!)
  • Email – the only thing you actually own (besides your web site)

But the bottom line, for success with any of the media above, you need:

Content that engages and encourages discussion among users.

If you share a post on Facebook featuring content that engages and encourages discussion, Facebook rewards that content by showing it to more of the people who like your page. If they share it in Messenger with their friends, ding! Another reward. If they comment on each other’s post, ding! Another reward. The bottom line is developing good content that engages and encourages discussion and interaction is what can boost your interaction with your customers, and boost your business.

It can be any kind of content – live video, recorded video, blog posts, photos. Some things, like live video, do work better than plain old text posts. But good content that your audience wants to see is the way to boost engagement and your business on Facebook.

At the end of the day, the new Facebook algorithm doesn’t have to hurt your business. You’re smarter than social media so use it wisely, not exclusively.