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Many business owners do not like Facebook’s change

Anthony Rome of Engage Media Strategies works with businesses on social media marketing and advertising plans including Facebook. Dave Wallis Forum News Service

FARGO — For many small-business owners, there isn’t much to “like” about Facebook’s recent News Feed algorithm change.

A Facebook representative explained in a blog post that due to the growth of the network, there is an average of 1,500 possible posts that could show up in a user’s News Feed each day. A change was necessary to “show the right content to the right people at the right time.”

According to the post, Facebook surveys showed what users valued most were relevant news stories and what their friends had to say about them, so they started looking at ways to make those posts rise to the top.

Posts by individuals and news organizations are now weighed more heavily than fan page updates unless a business pays to promote its post.

Many business owners have a different theory. They see the change as a way for Facebook to squeeze out free fan page announcements and advertising.

‘Liking’ not enough

Maria Bosak, owner of Eco Chic Boutique in Fargo, said she realizes there will come a day when Facebook requires businesses to pay to be seen at all.

Until then, she is doing what she can to make her posts visible in News Feed.

“We know that Facebook puts more weight on things when they’re shared,” Bosak said.

For a retail store, she said that means the post needs to be visually attractive or educational.

Ashley Morken, owner of Unglued in Fargo, agreed.

“I would say we function best when there are photos that can be used, so our (social media) focus is Facebook and Instagram,” Morken said. “Also, our goal is to inspire. We find you can inspire people easiest when you can visually show people what you’re talking about.”

Bosak said one thing users can do to guarantee seeing posts is to go a step further than “liking” a page. They can click “get notifications” on the fan page to get an alert when a new post is made.

She also said she is mindful not to post too much.

“You don’t want to blast people’s News Feeds. You really want it to matter and count and be interesting,” Bosak said.

Facebook professionals

People like Anthony Rome have made a career out of helping businesses stand out on social media sites.

Rome, director of marketing for Engage Media Strategies in Fargo, handles accounts for businesses such as Maxwells Restaurant and Bar in West Fargo and Aartisan Fine Furniture in Fargo.

He uses Facebook’s Power Editor tool to upload a client’s email database to create a custom audience for the client’s posts.

Rome said algorithm changes are common for Google and Facebook and are based on user feedback. He said the key is to understand those changes and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Rome cautions business owners who have been turned off by Facebook’s change to reconsider dropping the platform.

“Especially if their demographic is that 30- to 40-year-old female, you don’t want to turn that off because you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.”

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