Facebook rolls out Pages Feed. How will it help businesses?

Another month, another Facebook Pages flop….

As anyone who has been on Facebook for more than a day will know, many, many business pages are re-posting that viral statement about how “only 10% of our audience is seeing our posts”, etc, etc. Following a heavy dose of negative press on the issue from some of the more influential social media bloggers out there, Facebook appears to have come up with a solution. Or, shall we say, a convolution?

Introducing Facebook Pages Feed. On the left-hand side of your News Feed, buried amongst all the other links you never look at – below your Favorites, perhaps above your Groups, somewhere near your Apps – there is a new link titled “Pages Feed”. Clicking this link will bring you to a news feed that is dedicated to all the Pages that you follow. Unfortunately, this page is not organized chronologically and the jury is still out about the completeness of the posting history of your Liked Pages that is represented here.

I’m guessing that Facebook probably views this option as an olive branch to business page owners who have been negatively affected by the mass reduction in views of their posts. But, in reality, this is more like the branch that your hiking partner pushes out of the way only to let it snap back and slap you in the face. Does anybody at Facebook HQ not remember “Interest Lists” and the mass success failure of that little initiative?

There are several points to make about this whole Facebook conundrum:

    1. If you are using Facebook as your primary content delivery system, you are putting yourself at the mercy of the social media giant’s whims and fancies.

    2. Due to the recent changes, you are already missing out on a ton of potential user engagement due to Facebook’s ever-changing EdgeRank algorithm and the myriad variables involved in optimizing your position within your fans’ News Feeds.

    3. Speaking of EdgeRank…Google it. Learn it. Make it work for you or risk sinking into the News Feed abyss.

    4. For those fans who made the effort to select your page to view in their normal News Feed, this will not affect their ability to still do so.

    5. EdgeRank continues to be a fluid, evolving algorithm that, like it or not, you are going to have to figure out how to work with. That means tracking your key indicators, making notes of what types of posts track well with your audience and altering your posting habits to make the most out of these factors.

Facebook is an excellent example of evolutionary formatting from a service-provider standpoint. Unfortunately, they tend to light fires before making sure there’s enough water to put them out and their response to obvious formatting mistakes has been historically slow. This puts Facebook business users in the position of needing to really spend more time on page management which potentially detracts from other essential business time. After all, which is more likely? That you will spend more time trying to get your content in front of your fans or that they will spend more time trying to reach your content amidst the plethora of other posts, comments, likes, photos and sponsored posts that are also being tossed at them every minute of the day?

About the Author: Jeremy Jones is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his nine-year-old son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.

Best brand advocates? Your own employees!

Walmart has an image problem. I know that’s not much of a newsflash but the point remains. Lately, the most vocal group of Walmart haters has not been the anti-China crowd or the anti-shuttering of Mom and Pop stores crowd or any of the myriad other normal detractors. No. Lately, it is Walmart’s own employees who are slamming the mega-chain’s mere existence. So united are they in their negative feelings of the company that thousands of employees are threatening a national strike on Black Friday.

In the marketing world, we talk often and loudly about “brand advocates” – that is, those happy customers who are so smitten with your product or service that they tell everyone they meet about you and your organization. We court them, we cater to them, we bribe them with baubles (admit it, you do) and we pray that they will speak on our behalf to all who will listen.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to an old friend about his work. He never really talks much about what he does. His Facebook profile isn’t saturated with each minute detail of his exciting days at work as so many of my other “friends”‘ pages are, and his eyebrows get this particular furrow whenever the subject comes up. On this particular day, however, I pressed him on the issue.

“Man,” he said, “I hate that company. They suck. I wouldn’t wish that place on my worst enemy. Don’t ever buy from them.”

I was shocked. I always thought he loved his job. Was the product bad? Nope. Were the services sub-par? Never. Were shipments to customers routinely delayed? Not at all. Well, what was it that made this company so bad that his strongest advice to me was to not ever buy from them?

He didn’t like the way he was treated.

Word of mouth from customers is vital to growing brand awareness, to be sure. But in your search for advocates, don’t forget the one group of people who can be particularly powerful in both positive and negative ways – your employees.

I’ve had service personnel come out to manufacturing facilities where I’ve worked to repair equipment. These are workers who are sent out into the field to represent their company to their clients and yet, for some reason, as soon as they have an ear to bend, they unload about how awful their employer is, how little their engineering department knows, etc. Always kinda’ leaves me scratching my head wondering why I’m hiring this company and its personnel if they’re really as inept as their own employee says they are….

On the other hand, I’ve had site visits from personnel who can’t talk enough about their employer – in good ways! Now, I consider myself to be pretty in tune with the particularly odiferous presence of a fresh load of you-know-what. So I can usually tell when someone is blowing sunshine just to keep me happy or is genuinely in love with their work. And when you have someone in front of you who is elbows-deep in ink and grease repairing a busted drive union on a 30-year-old printing press while raving about his company and the work he does, well…that’s just bomber (as my 9-year-old would say). And, the next time an employee puts a wrench through a pair of impressed cylinders, I’ll be darn sure to call that same company back to repair the damage.

Not every organization needs to worry about their employees’ personal feelings making the headline news. However, understanding that sometimes employees are just stuck in the whole “grass is greener” mindset, it still cannot be denied that your workers are your first line of ambassadors when it comes to your organization’s image, brand and reputation. Court them. Cater to them. Find a culture that respects their efforts, rewards their successes and fosters personal investment in the organization and you’ll have your own personal team of brand advocates doing your marketing work for you. Win-win for all!

About the Author: Jeremy Jones is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his nine-year-old son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.