What the Facebook Apocalypse Means to EDU Marketing

When I wrote my last blog post for the good folks at Selling To Schools, I had an editorial calendar laid out for the next 3 or 4 months. I was planning to go over some Social Media for Educators 101 content with you. I had it all ready to go. 

Enter Facebook. The. Very. Next. Day.  

As you may know, Facebook has been making statements for a while about changing their algorithm. Truth be told, they have been changing the algorithm regularly for years now. They have always made changes to the way businesses can approach customers on Facebook. The difference this time is that they've been clear(ish) about what the changes are and how they will impact businesses. And this time, it appears to be making an immediate and drastic change to results. 

Here are the quick facts about the changes to the Facebook News Feed.

  • Facebook is altering the way users interact with business pages.
  • The goal is to show LESS business content and more from friends and families.
  • This means we will all see an even smaller organic reach for each post. 

So what does this mean? Is Facebook dead? No. But the times they are a changing. We all have to do better to get better results.

My recommendation to our clients has been, first and foremost, do not panic. But more specifically, do not panic because we have all been through this before. Whether you have been in EDU marketing since "Direct Mail is DEAD", since "Email is DEAD", or since "Web Ads are DEAD" - you've done this! It's rarely an on/off switch. Platforms change, opportunities change, results change. As marketers, our job is to focus on knowing our audience and use a cross-channel approach to providing them with the information they need. 

Now, there is a very real issue with reach right now. We've seen as much as a 70% reduction in individual post reach since February 2 but some posts are still performing quite well. Let’s just say I am not concerned…but I’m not not concerned either. 

I believe we are in for some growing pains. Here are a few things you can do to help your page while Facebook adjusts the algorithm.

  1. Resist the urge to post more and more often. Quadrupling your daily posts won't give you 4x the reach. In fact, it may decrease your total reach. Focus on quality. Now is the time to look at what has worked best in the past - what types of posts have gotten people engaged with your content?
  2. It's time to roll up your sleeves or find someone who loves Facebook Ads Manager. You're going to have to know how to create audiences, boost posts, create ads and keep on testing.  
  3. Let's hope you didn't bank on Facebook as your singular channel. Make sure you are spending the right amount of effort against your other channels. Even the famously not dead email. 
  4. Facebook said it a year ago and they meant it. Video. Live or canned, video makes the Facebook world go 'round.
  5. I said this in my last post but really, seriously, stop trying to grift the algorithm. There is no need for gimicky titles or "videos". Be authentic. Be honest. Be positive. 

That goes as much for Facebook News Feed as it does for life.  If you're still feeling uneasy about what the Facebook algorithm changes mean for your social strategy, or have questions about how to build your social media momentum, I'm happy to share what I know. Now, let's go out and do some good today, shall we?

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About the Author

With several decades of digital marketing experience under her belt, Becca has seen and adapted to the many major evolutions in how we communicate with each other, and she has used each iteration to advance the goals of her clients and their businesses. She has worked with education companies, nonprofits, service organizations, authors and Fortune 100 companies, as both a digital strategist and project manager. She currently runs a social media marketing agency of her own, EMC7, where she focuses on doing well by doing good.

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