A couple of days ago Facebook announced that the News Feed will show even less content from publishers and brands while it will push content from your friends, family and groups due to the News Feed being overflown with promotional content published by Pages.
That’s all cool, we all hate advertisements, right?
Well, guess what…
These changes will not be affecting Facebook’s advertising system, they will be affecting Pages that you actually liked. These are not forced on to you. You chose to follow them and to see the content they publish. While marketers will be paying, you’ll still be bombarded with their ads.
So how will this then actually help us, the Facebook users?
It will not! It will only make us more exposed to advertisements as there will be less noise by the Pages posts. Even as it is, Facebook is showing an advertisement after every 4th post!
So, on my News Feed, out of 20 posts I see, 4 are an advertisement, but there’s no space on the timeline to show posts from Pages I liked?
I call Bull****.
At least by “liking” the Pages, you have the control to see what you want.
And what about the advertisements?
You can’t control these, Facebook simply pushes them in the News Feed and you only have a choice to hide the advertisement after you already saw it. However, that will not stop other advertisements from showing. Sure you can use adblockers but that’s not the point. The point is what Facebook actually is…
You can expect to see less posts from Pages you like and more posts from your friends and family and the same amount of annoying commercials.
How does that make any sense?
The way I see it, Facebook came up with one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of the Internet.
Facebook has used all those Pages to grow the number of people using Facebook and now, when it has enough users, it’s time to scam the Pages and force them into paying to be seen.
It only wants to make sure that your precious focus doesn’t get ‘wasted’ on posts from Pages that reach you organically for free, so that you can notice those advertisements that Facebook is making money with easier.
Of course, most probably they would never admit this and after all I am only speculating. But I think that it’s quite obvious what is happening.
If they would have an honest intent to make the user experience better, they would not be showing an advertisement after every 4th post and I would not be fed with posts like “John commented on this post by XYZ” from a year ago on a content that I don’t even give a crap about, like football or politics or another vegan post making me feel like garbage for eating meat.
What does this mean for many small longboard businesses who are already struggling to get noticed in an ever more busy Facebook News Feed and what will happen to the big ones? What about all those longboarding related pages that share your videos, and what about your pro-rider fan page?
Let me tell you a joke…
A little girl asked her mother to give her some chocolate. The mother then told her to first wash her hands and then she can have the chocolate. The girl then said; But mum, I don’t have hands. Well…No hands, no chocolate, the mother said.
So, you wonder how does this sick joke relate to Facebook?
It’s known that Facebook will push the posts users are engaging with more, meaning that the post will have a good reach if the users like it, share it and comment on it.
Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses. ~ Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed
As I mentioned earlier, many small brands, like core longboarding brands you love, will actually not even get a chance to get noticed. If their Pages will not be receiving enough engagement during the next few months when Facebook will be ranking them, they might even be ignored and eventually abandoned and forgotten. Big media feeding you with bullshit has money to pay for advertising, so you’ll be seeing them for sure.
In Facebook’s scenario, the Pages should be producing content that the users will engage with; discuss about it. While that’s all right, you should know that this is extremely hard to achieve unless you post something that triggers user’s emotions, like a post about an animal being abused or Trump tweeting from his shithole.
You can actually expect to see more of the stuff that you hate, just because you’ll be responding to it and interacting with that type of content. You can for sure expect to see less from your fellows board makers, event organisers and longboarding media hubs just because they’re not posting much stuff that will shock you, so you will not be commenting, sharing and liking.
Facebook has been doing this noticeably for more than a year now. It’s nothing new, but their latest announcement points out that they will be cutting the Pages’ reach even more.
So, back to the chocolate…
New pages and pages with a small amount of followers will basically have no chance of growing, unless they have something revolutionary to show and their post goes viral. Even then, the Page Likes are not guaranteed, and even if they were, what’s the use of them, when Facebook is heavily limiting its reach, showing the content to only less than 10% of those followers. When starting, they will have no followers, no engagement, no comments and likes… They are doomed right from the start. This way it will not make sense creating one except for the purpose of posting paid adverts.
So, there you have it…No hands, no chocolate.
What can longboard brands, media and community pages do about it?
If you’re running a Facebook page, it’s time to reconsider how you’re spending your time. Is Facebook bringing in new customers or are you in the bubble, constantly showing your content to the same people? How many new followers does your page get every month? Is it between at least 200 – 500 new followers every month? No? Then forget about it, you’re not reaching enough people and you’re doing “Sisyphus work”.
It’s time for you to wake up. Some brands have already adopted new practices, basically almost completely quitting Facebook and actually making progress with their business.
Many brand owners will feel as if they may have to start from scratch, but considering what Facebook is doing, they will soon be left with no other options than paying for advertising or ending their business.
You can still take action.
Here are some of the options you’re left with…
Buy comments, likes and shares (not recommended)
Well of course, a businesses will be able to buy comments, likes and shares as usual. When used smart, this services can help their content go viral, especially when it’s something really interesting to see. That’s how it’s often done. However, this will only work for content that the general public will be interested in, for example, a crazy driver doing crazy stuff on the road…We can all relate to that, because most of us are drivers ourselves and seeing this makes us angry or shocked so we’ll respond to it and share it.
For a longboard brand this method will not help unless they publish a video of their team rider getting almost hit by a car, which would shock everyone and they’ll be sharing like “Look at this crazy bastard”. So nothing really good would come out of that for the brand. And if they will post a standard raw run video as they usually do, this will not resonate with the general public’s interests.
Just to make it clear, I do not recommend buying followers or likes…
Continue to grow the number of your flow team riders which you can exploit as your personal “share army”…business as usual
One thing that longboarding brands can do is to continue growing their flow team and build their personal “share army”. More team riders means more people who will share and comment on their posts.
It already feels like everyone “skates for some brand”, basically working and providing promotional services illegally. There’s almost no skate videos without some brand being tagged. And that’s how together with Facebook, the longboarders unintentionally actually killed the longboarding media sites and forums.
Instead of those having a role of providing a platform for the community, news sharing, rider features, brand promotions, the users have taken over the role of promotors.
That’s all still good…but now the time has come when Facebook will make an end to it and make the bubble we are in even stronger, meaning that we will be promoting to each other (limited to our friends and family) until your sponsors realises that you’re not reaching new people who will become their buyers.
Because, for example, you have 300 friends on Facebook and you’ll be limited to that group of people and their posts, unaware of many other things that are in your interest, not reaching new people as fast as your sponsors need you too.
Facebook Pages like Longboard Magazine are meant to be social media hubs where you can learn about new riders, gear, events and other longboarding related things, which are outside of your bubble (those 300 friends) and you’re not connected with.
We never charge for that, we do it for free so that the community would grow, businesses would be able to get new customers and the events would have riders. We are not selling anything… So, community builders like us, who spent almost a decade working on our Facebook pages serving others and mostly helping Facebook (in the beginning) to get people on it, can now shove it up their arse.
It’s our own fault. For many years we knew that this is coming, but we were all too hungry for attention, likes and shares… So instead of building our websites, we started wasting our time on building Facebook, which now has the agenda to put us out of “business”.
Think about how the longboard makers and event organisers feel when they’ve spent so much time and money on building their presence on Facebook, but now they will simply loose that, because Facebook betrayed them for the sake of their own profit.
We do recommend having team riders and making them aware of this problem and telling them to share your posts. But if that’s your primary reason for getting the riders, you’re doing it wrong. There’s plenty of those who are doing it and they look huge on Facebook while at the end of the day, their business doesn’t grow leading them to falsely conclude that there’s not enough consumers for their products.
Tell your followers to mark your page with “See first”
This option is available from the menu next to the “Like” button under the cover photo. People who want to make sure that they see the content published by your page can simply activate this and you should suggest them to do it because not everyone is aware of this feature.
Most important; focus more on your own websites, newsletters and do good SEO
Instead of feeding Facebook by publishing all of your content on it, you should focus more on building your own website, have unique and great content published there, build a newsletter list etc… and connect with other media sites in order to get relevant quality backlinks and expand your audience. Tell you riders to give some high quality unique content to media sites instead of posting it straight to Facebook. That’s how the content will reach new people, outside of the rider’s personal bubble, it will enable your business to expand its audience and grow.
So, don’t dump your content’s value by throwing it on Facebook as if it’s worth nothing. It will get some views and by the next day it will be forgotten. Make something special with it, write a blog post for the video, add some photos, put it on your website in the video section, make it easy for people to find it in one place…Don’t be yet another post in the timeline that got thousands of 3-seconds views.
Create good content on your website, provide value to the readers and they’ll stick around. If not, you’re obviously not having anything special to show and Facebook is probably right when it wants less of you in the News Feed. It may sound cruel but that’s how it is.
Make sure to do good Search Engine Optimisation, so that people can find your website in Google when they are actually searching for something like “buy longboard” and similar (you’ll need the backlinks for that which I mentioned earlier). This will actually help your business, not showing your videos to the same people over and over again who are not on Facebook to buy something, but just to spend time and see what’s up.
There… I have to stop somewhere, otherwise I could go on for ages.
What will you do about it?
Longboarding.co is a publishing platform that helps riders, brands, event organisers and other content creators sharing their news and media with the rest of the longboard community. Click here to subscribe to #LBMAGEU Newsletter.