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5 Ways To Survive Facebook's Algorithm Update For Direct Sales

5 Ways To Survive Facebook's Algorithm Update For Direct Sales

The Facebook apocalypse is now underway.

… Just kidding, but it’s not getting any easier for you to reach your customers on Pages and in Groups.

In years past, you could make a post - any post, in your Facebook Group or Page and at least have a respectable amount of reach on your customer’s news feeds.

We thought it was well worth our time to create a Facebook Group for our direct sales LuLaRoe business, invite friends and family, and reach our customers through that channel, but we were wrong in building our entire online business on Facebook’s platform.

Here’s my reason why…

It’s almost impossible to appease Facebook’s algorithm longterm if you’re promoting direct sales products and services.

Facebook’s share of external web traffic to publishers & businesses declined to 24 percent in January, down from nearly 40 percent this time last year, according to new data from Parse.ly, a digital analytics company.

If you’re using Facebook as your only marketing channel, business is going to be even more difficult in the near future.

Facebook announced January 11th that the platform will begin to promote posts from friends and family even more than it already is.

Zuckerberg said Facebook users should now expect to see less content from businesses, brands, and media and more from friends, family, and groups. Factors such as the number of people who react to, comment on, or share posts will be less important than the content’s success at sparking a conversation. It was just months ago that we were told to get our group members to engage with our posts, right?

So what can you do as a retailer in light of this trend?

Start building an email list

Having thousands of people in your Facebook group or on your Page doesn’t really matter much when your organic reach is less than 2 percent. For this reason it can’t be true that having thousands of social media followers is really an “asset” that pays you 5 to 10 years from now. The problem is that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram own your audience, not you, they can make changes that affect your ability to reliably communicate with your followers.

There are ways to “own your relationship with your audience.”

Besides a website or blog, an email list is one of the few digital assets you can own as an online direct sales business.

When I tell people that email is the number one contributor to the growth of my businesses, the typical response is usually “Really? That’s so boring.”

Truth is, people still check their email - A lot.

In fact, 39% of people check their email 1 to 3 times per day according to a survey from Blue Hornet. 33% of respondents said they check their email throughout the day, and only 1.6% of respondents said they never check their email.

Brands are making billions of dollars each year sending emails to their email lists, and no social media channel can control them.

If you’ve ever wondered why you still keep getting those pesky emails from Gap and Old Navy, it’s because they just flat out work. In fact, email contributes to over 30% of annual sales for many big box stores (that’s a lot of dough for these companies).

Although you won’t be doing those kinds of numbers at first, starting an email list is really simple, and something I highly recommend because I’ve seen it work for my direct sales businesses.

… And I’m not talking about generic emails asking your customers to shop with you. I’m talking about intentionally designed emails that you create using editors like MailChimp’s to include photos, images, and your brand. Think of the emails you get from big brands and emulate them (with your branding).

If you want to see what I mean, head to our home page and sign up for the mailing list. We send branded emails promoting our sellers each week!

Move your point-of-sale and marketing channels away from Facebook

Back when we started with LuLaRoe, we were doing “live sales” & “album sales.” A live sale is where you use Facebook Live to sell your products, whereas an album sale is where we uploaded our inventory photos to Facebook albums inside Facebook groups.

Our mistake is that we did everything on Facebook. When an algorithm change happened, we felt it. Back then, other consultants were getting thrown in “Facebook Jail” (their accounts were locked) because they continued posting at a high rate to multiple groups. Luckily, we avoided this because we moved our point-of-sale to a new platform, Shoppe, which allowed us to post less to Facebook, automate the sales process, and avoid upsetting Facebook’s algorithm and being thrown in Facebook Jail. It also allows us to invoice through LuLaRoe’s back-office system, Bless, because it doesn’t collect payments from customers, but passes them through. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial and check it out by clicking here!

Facebook just revealed that they are going to discontinue showing posts from brands and publishers in favor of posts from close friends and family. This means that posting multiple times a day in your group is probably not worth your time and you should be doing something else more productive, like building your lists.

If you really think about it, it makes sense why social media companies limit reach for brands. They are for-profit business and must make money to survive. In order to make money, they are able to monetize their platforms by offering advertising to brands. Since you’re a business owner, they want you to pay them to reach your customers and generate sales. Companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, & Pinterest operate as “middle-men” in this way because it’s a huge industry and business opportunity.

How do you cut out the middleman? Focus on collecting email addresses on social media instead of sales.

Using email lists allows you to reliably communicate with your subscribers and truly build a business asset for your direct sales company that pays you 5 to 10 years down the line.

How do you do it? If you currently use Facebook Groups or Pages, this means including “call-to-action” posts which allows your audience to opt into your email and text lists.

Now, instead of fighting the Facebook algorithm each time you post, when your audience is on your lists, you can easily send broadcast emails & messages that land directly in their inbox.

Create your own direct sales website and blog

If the Facebook apocalypse were to actually hit, where would that leave your direct sales business? Is your list of customers trapped in a Facebook Group that goes away if Facebook clamps down on you?

Think of starting a website like owning real estate. You purchase a domain and now own that piece of internet property. You benefit when interested folks pass through because you can turn them into customers (just like local businesses do).

Each time you make a blog post and submit to your site, Google “crawlers” will crawl your post to see if you have included keywords that related to popular Google searches in your niche.

Once Google locates keywords in your articles, you “rank” for those keywords in Google searches. This means people who Google search keywords that you mention in your articles have a higher chance of seeing a link to your blog posts in that search.

You don’t need to perfectly optimize everything on your site. For now, just purchase a domain (website) related to your business name, sign up for a blog hosting platform like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix, and start writing about things you like that are related to your business “niche.” Thinking “what would my customers search in Google if they were looking for my product” is a great way to come up with ideas.

Avoid using “engagement bait” phrases such as “Like and share to be entered into our giveaway!” in your posts

Engagement bait posts such as “Like this for a chance to win” aren’t going to perform as well as they did in the past because Facebook is clamping down on them. Any post where you ask your customers to perform an action in exchange for a reward is likely to go unseen.

If you’re not a close friend or family member to the people in your Group and who like your Page, Facebook says to expect not to reach them in the near future.

I mentioned earlier that I would focus less and less on making awesome social media posts every day and spend that time getting your audience to join your lists. This is going to be a much better use of your time because you can reach your audience with sale announcements, blog posts, and more anytime you want without worrying about being at odds with a social media platform that wants your advertising dollars.

Focus on live video

The one posting format that has seen huge organic reach on Facebook is live video.

Ever notice how you see live videos at the very top of your Facebook news feed? That’s not a coincidence, and you can use live to reach your audience too.

A lot of sellers from brands like LuLaRoe, Agnes & Dora, Lipsense, & DotDotSmile are using “live sales” as their primary online sales channel. This is because using Facebook Live allows you to reach the top of the news feed for your followers.

Conclusion

Facebook’s latest update is a key reminder that time is running short for you as a brand on the platform. Organic reach has consistently dropped over the last few years from over 80% to well below 10%. The best way to use Facebook is to promote awareness of your brand, then funnel customers onto your email, text, & messaging lists. Otherwise, you will continue to suffer from decreasing organic reach on Facebook.

What are your thoughts? Comment below!

statistic_id184541_daily-online-activities-of-adult-us-internet-users-2017-by-age.png

Brands are making billions of dollars each year sending emails to their email lists, and no social media channel can control them.

If you’ve ever wondered why you still keep getting those pesky emails from Gap and Old Navy, it’s because they just flat out work. In fact, email contributes to over 30% of annual sales for many big box stores (that’s a lot of dough for these companies).

Although you won’t be doing those kinds of numbers at first, starting an email list is really simple, and something I highly recommend because I’ve seen it work for my businesses.

… And I’m not talking about generic emails asking your customers to shop with you. I’m talking about intentionally designed emails that you create using editors like MailChimp’s to include photos, images, and your brand. Think of the emails you get from big brands and emulate them (with your branding).

If you want to see what I mean, head to our home page and sign up for the mailing list. We send branded emails promoting our sellers each week!

Move your point-of-sale and marketing channels away from Facebook

Back when we started with LuLaRoe, we were doing “live sales” & “album sales.” A live sale is where you use Facebook Live to sell your products, whereas an album sale is where we uploaded our inventory photos to Facebook albums inside Facebook groups.

Our mistake is that we did everything on Facebook. When an algorithm change happened, we felt it. Back then, other consultants were getting thrown in “Facebook Jail” (their accounts were locked) because they continued posting at a high rate to multiple groups. Luckily, we avoided this because we moved our point-of-sale to a new platform, Shoppe, which allowed us to post less to Facebook, automate the sales process, and avoid upsetting Facebook’s algorithm and being thrown in Facebook Jail. It also allows us to invoice through LuLaRoe’s back-office system, Bless, because it doesn’t collect payments from customers, but passes them through. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial and check it out by clicking here!

Facebook just revealed that they are going to discontinue showing posts from brands and publishers in favor of posts from close friends and family. This means that posting multiple times a day in your group is probably not worth your time and you should be doing something else more productive, like building your lists.

If you really think about it, it makes sense why social media companies limit reach for brands. They are for-profit business and must make money to survive. In order to make money, they are able to monetize their platforms by offering advertising to brands. Since you’re a business owner, they want you to pay them to reach your customers and generate sales. Companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, & Pinterest operate as “middle-men” in this way because it’s a huge industry and business opportunity.  

How do you cut out the middleman? Focus on collecting email addresses on social media instead of sales.

Using email lists allows you to reliably communicate with your subscribers and truly build a business asset that pays you 5 to 10 years down the line.

How do you do it? If you currently use Facebook Groups or Pages, this means including “call-to-action” posts which allows your audience to opt into your email and text lists.

Now, instead of fighting the Facebook algorithm each time you post, when your audience is on your lists, you can easily send broadcast emails & messages that land directly in their inbox.

Create your own website and blog

If the Facebook apocalypse were to actually hit. Where would that leave your business? Is your list of customers trapped in a Facebook Group that goes away if Facebook clamps down on you?

Think of starting a website like owning real estate. You purchase a domain and now own that piece of internet property. You benefit when interested folks pass through because you can turn them into customers (just like local businesses do).

Each time you make a blog post and submit to your site, Google “crawlers” will crawl your post to see if you have included keywords that related to popular Google searches in your niche.

Once Google locates keywords in your articles, you “rank” for those keywords in Google searches. This means people who Google search keywords that you mention in your articles have a higher chance of seeing a link to your blog posts in that search.

You don’t need to perfectly optimize everything on your site. For now, just purchase a domain (website) related to your business name, sign up for a blog hosting platform like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix, and start writing about things you like that are related to your business “niche.” Thinking “what would my customers search in Google if they were looking for my product” is a great way to come up with ideas.

Avoid using “engagement bait” phrases such as  “Like and share to be entered into our giveaway!” in your posts

Engagement bait posts such as “Like this for a chance to win” aren’t going to perform as well as they did in the past because Facebook is clamping down on them. Any post where you ask your customers to perform an action in exchange for a reward is likely to go unseen.

If you’re not a close friend or family member to the people in your Group and who like your Page, Facebook says to expect not to reach them in the near future.

I mentioned earlier that I would focus less and less on making awesome social media posts every day and spend that time getting your audience to join your lists. This is going to be a much better use of your time because you can reach your audience with sale announcements, blog posts, and more anytime you want without worrying about being at odds with a social media platform that wants your advertising dollars.

Focus on live video

The one posting format that has seen huge organic reach on Facebook is live video.

Ever notice how you see live videos at the very top of your Facebook news feed? That’s not a coincidence, and you can use live to reach your audience too.

A lot of sellers from brands like LuLaRoe, Agnes & Dora, Lipsense, & DotDotSmile are using “live sales” as their primary online sales channel. This is because using Facebook Live allows you to reach the top of the news feed for your followers. 

Conclusion

Facebook’s latest update is a key reminder that it's important "not to put all of your eggs in one basket" when it comes to social media. Organic reach has consistently dropped over the last few years from over 80% to well below 10%. In my opinion, one of the best ways to use Facebook is to promote awareness of your brand, then funnel customers onto your email, text, & messaging lists. Otherwise, you might suffer from decreasing organic reach on Facebook like we have!

What are your thoughts? Comment below!

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