Warning against shouting into the Facebook ‘void’

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BUSINESSES have been warned that they may be losing touch with their customers because of changes in the way that Facebook operates.

Experts from Fareham-based communications consultancy Polymedia say firms and organisations may be ‘shouting into the void’ because they are not aware of changes that are limiting how often their posts are seen by followers.

Companies have enjoyed racking up fans over the last few years as Facebook has allowed them to communicate directly with their customers for free through their news feeds.

But the social media giant has now introduced changes which limit how often people who follow companies, organisations and brands can see their updates.

Polymedia senior consultant Graeme Patfield said businesses needed to be aware of how the ranking changes affect them to avoid ‘shouting into the void’.

He said: ‘Up until very recently they have been able to access huge numbers of followers while spending very little – but it looks as if those days are gone forever.

‘Facebook has been particularly clever in that it has allowed businesses to build up huge audiences – and now it is asking for payment to get access to them.’

The changes are aimed at encouraging brands to pay for ‘boosted posts’ for customers to continue to see their content.

Facebook now uses a complex and constantly-evolving algorithm – an updated version of a system previously called EdgeRank – to decide which posts appear on users’ news feeds.

The result is that organic reach – how far a brand’s post can reach without being paid for – has plummeted for most organisations since the rules were changed.

Mr Patfield said: ‘It’s no longer enough to go after “likes” and “shares” and let Facebook do the work for you.

‘For social media campaigns to be successful, organisations need an approach that combines clever, eye-catching content with a paid-for strategy to ensure that their voices continue to be heard.

‘The good news is that with the right approach and advice, it is possible to devise innovative and eye-catching campaigns.’