Facebook algorithm changes and your West Coast Swing Event (March 2018)

In January, Facebook announced dramatic changes to the Newsfeed in order to favour content from friends and family, rather than posts from third-party publishers – those are your business pages.  In the days following Facebook’s announcement that its users would see 20 percent fewer posts from publishers’ pages in their news feeds thanks to a change in the Facebook algorithm, I speculated about what effect this would really have on the work I do at WestieMarketing.

I’ve waited two months to observe the effects of this change, and unfortunately, there is definitely a decline in both reach and interaction when it comes to Pages.  The silver lining, if you can call it that, is that reach and engagement on event-specific pages have only seen a small decline, so far.

Not sure what I am referring to?  On the left is the Liberty Swing Dance Championships Page and on the right, the Liberty Swing 2018 Event Page.

So, a ‘Page’ is losing its ability to reach its fans, with this new change, as I will demonstrate below, while event-specific pages have retained most of their traction with audiences.

Anonymous West Coast Swing Page – Example 

Post reach December 2017 into January 2018 

Reach is indicated by the numbers and orange boxes in the 3rd column, to the right of that is the number of interactions and comments.

Post reach February into March 2018 

As you can see, there has been quite a dramatic change in both the reach and the interactions on these posts.

While this is just one example, the results match up with what I am seeing across all of the Pages that I manage for both WestieMarketing, and my other business, Socially Good.

But there is better news, or at least, less bad news.

Reach and engagement of event pages has taken much less of a hit.  Here are a couple examples from West Coast Swing Event Pages I manage.

 

 

You can see just the smallest of dips across likes, comments, shares and posts.  Of course, engagement always increases closer to the event, and these events are not happening immediately.

What is the takeaway? 

Relying on Facebook to get the word out should not be your only method of reaching your audience.  Yes, it is still a great channel, do not stop doing it, however, be realistic about your expectations and expand into other methods to make sure you have your bases covered.

  • Check your own Facebook Insights
    Knowing how your own Page and Event Page is performing will help you make better decisions.
  • Consider adding some budget to pay for Facebook promotion
    Contact me if you want help to do this.  Facebook advertising can be incredibly effective, or a giant waste of money if you are not clever about what you are doing.   Having a goal that translates to your business goal, and targeting the right audience is key.   Pro-tip, ‘friends of people who like this page’ isn’t usually the right audience.
  • Make sure you are emailing
    If you don’t have an email list, get one started immediately by adding email sign up to your website.   Make sure you add your past event attendees to your email list.  (Important note: You MUST send them a reconfirmation email with the link to sign up in order to comply with the law if you did not collect their permission to add them to your email list at the time that you collected their email, read more.) Want to know why I think email is so important? Check out this blog post from a few months ago. 
  • Look at other channels of communication
    Who is your event audience?  Instagram may be a good channel for raising awareness about your event with a younger demographic, although it is not likely to create ticket sales, it does create engagement with attendees, which is very valuable for repeat sales in the future.Don’t forget your website!  Read more on why your event website is important.

There is a lot more to West Coast Swing Event Marketing than just putting posts on Facebook. The landscape digital is changing, and events need to change with it.  This article does not address how different content can influence reach and engagement, it only looks at how the Facebook changes are affecting reach and engagement.  Content is a whole other blog post just waiting to be written….

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