Since the new Facebook algorithm change, small businesses have been put on the back burner (Thanks a lot, Zuckerberg). In the social media world, small businesses rely on boosted posts and ads to get their content to more people. The new Facebook algorithm organizes posts in a way that is deemed most relevant to the user. Since people prefer to see posts from friends and family, the algorithm has shifted focus to community engagement and away from brand awareness. For the billion everyday Facebook users, this sounds like a reasonable way to keep social media for the people. The reality: big brands (5,000+ followers) can still pay their way to the top of your news feed. This leaves small businesses with an ultimatum: pay to play or get out of the way.

I’m a Small Business … what do I do now?

Small businesses used to throw a few bucks behind a post and instantly receive penthouse positioning on the news feed. The new Facebook algorithm requires small business to think more strategically. When you pay to position your ad closer to the top of the news feed, you need people talking about you (sharing + tagging) and engaging with you (commenting) in order to stay on top. 

Money = Better Results

You’ve got to pay to play, so If you don’t have a Facebook budget, now’s the time to update your business plan. Don’t break the bank with a social media budget, ESPECIALLY as a small business. There are other avenues that need equal attention, but if you’re only boosting $5 here and $10 there, consider beefing up the budget to keep up with the new algorithm.

Then strategize how much and how often you are paying. Have clear goals so you can allocate your social media budget strategically. From our research, we can average that on a “successful” day, $5 on Facebook will get around 1,000 people to see your post (maybe 1 max page likes) and for Instagram $5 gets around 300 people to see it (with no follower increase).

Know your audience … like, really know them.

The better you know your audience, the easier it will be to double down on connection and engagement (that’s the point of this whole algorithm shift, isn’t it?). People are great at identifying fake, insincere or otherwise “salesy” posts. When they see posts that are tailored to them, they feel a genuine connection.

Let’s say you have a sunglasses company and your audience mainly consists of 23-year-old, Drake obsessed college graduates living on the west coast. To an outsider, your audience may not seem diverse at all. As the business owner, you should know your audience so well that you fully understand the diversity within this group. That’s the start to relevant, compelling content. If your audience is casual, be casual. If your audience is a bunch of new moms, don’t use language that makes motherhood seem like a breeze (that’s just rude). Be authentic and use different strategies to achieve several goals at the same time.

Create Kick Ass, Engaging Content

If a bigger budget allows you to play, engaging content keeps your business in play. Strategize a marketing plan that prioritizes evocative, relevant content. All content should be tailored to your diverse audience. Post about how your business gives back, what makes you the best in your field, and what matters to you (aside from your brand, of course). Social media was made for engaging with people all over the world. Think about if your content makes someone want run and tell their friend. 

If social media marketing is a main part of your overall marketing plan, uses these 3 strategies to get the new algorithm working in your favor.

13 Strategies to Work the New Facebook Algorithm in your Favor (and nudge you to the top)

1. Recognize what kind of company you are.

Are you reaching a localized audience or national? These factors will contribute to your social media budget.

2. Strategize a plan.

How much monthly will you spend on boosted posts? Campaigns? And why? Without strategy, this will seem like your stuffing money into a leak in the roof of your business. Lay out a posting schedule, and prioritize where you’re money is going.

3. Give Ad Grader websites a go.

Though we suggest finding one that is not directly affiliated with Facebook or Instagram, to keep things unbiased.

4. Focus on quality over quantity

… But quantity is important too. Your audience wants to see posts that seem like they were made just for them–and they want a lot of them. Focus on giving your audience what they want. Share and repost relevant and interesting articles, highlight a service you offer once a week, post content that encourages an interaction.

5. Track their evolution.

Knowing your audience also means knowing when and how often their taste and expectations evolve.

6. Understand your audience’s habits.

Do they work 9-to-5’s or do they work in the service industry? Are they brunch people (and do they post about it)? How often do they check social media?

7. Analyze and adapt.

Look at your analytics to make informed content decisions. What do they like to see? Post more of that content!

8. Interact strategically.

Schedule time to interact organically with your audience. Like their posts, respond to comments, create a genuine relationship.

9. Don’t be spammy.

Just like your mom would say, if you have nothing to say that contributes to your audience, don’t say it.

10. Invest in professional photos.

Social media is a VISUAL platform, stop taking photos on your IPhone 4 and invest in some quality stock photos, this goes a long way.

11. Know your competition.

now what businesses in your field are posting and be different. If there are 10+ businesses like yours, why should your audience follow your account?

12. Be there.

Respond quickly to messages and comments, and make sure you’re ONLY posting high quality content that is particular to your audience. Otherwise you can wave farewell to any chance of engagement, and you can kiss winning goodbye.

13. Break the rules.

Online connection isn’t so black and white, so go ahead and push some boundaries once in awhile. Take some risks, track them, and adjust accordingly.

Curious about changes to Instagram? Check out our updated Dos and Don’ts for a successful Instagram.