Facebook has done it again.

The social media giant will soon pinch business with changes to its news feed. It will remove unpaid promotional posts that mimic advertising.

Ouch!

Business operators have become accustomed to writing status updates to push sales, two-for-ones, specials, gift cards, and discount offers. Facebook has allowed such content to flow through the news feed up to this point, but rather sparingly. Earlier in 2014, it made wholesale changes to the algorithm, resulting in suppression of some content to as little as 2% reach.

Ouch again!

Reports have noted that new changes affecting Facebook will occur as early as mid-January 2015. Buying quality reach has usually come at a price. Those who have sold or bought traditional media know this. Facebook is running a business and declared advertising as its major revenue stream. They have your audience and now they want you to pay to reach it.

So what’s a digital agency to do? After all, creating and fulfilling social content is a big part of the business. Understanding how to influence and reach people is the key. Here are nine ways to do just that.

  1. Don’t panic. You’ve built great account relationships. You deliver huge value, regardless of current or future algorithm changes. Use your relationship to create alternate solutions to recent changes.

  2. Continue to deliver great content. Facebook can’t diminish its value. It can only suppress it from the organic news feed. Re-purpose content and execute it across other channels. Great content is great not because it’s organic or paid; it’s great when it reaches the right audience at the right time.

  3. Consider investing some budget. That’s right, you may have to buy some reach to engage your Facebook audience. Currently, rates are affordable, but that could change in the future.

    If you decide to go this route, establish campaign metrics and objectives ahead of time. Understand what you’re buying before you pay for it.

  4. Social media is all about being social. Folks join Facebook to socialise, not to receive advertisements. Sure, friends refer and recommend businesses, services, and products to other friends offline. But if your real-life friends lay down a sales pitch non-stop, you might want to start looking for some new buddies.

    So just as in real life, the best in the game craft winning social by staying connected and driving influence and loyalty, not just driving sales.

  5. Invest in channels you control. Great content deserves an audience. It should be an audience you control. It shouldn’t be just the cheapest audience you can buy. Or the only one you use, just because it’s free.

  6. Your content has a home with e-mail marketing. You control the right message to just the right audience. They’ve invited you into their inbox. Be sure to track your open and unsubscribe rates. Set tipping points to determine which campaigns are relevant and which need tweaking. Don’t blast – target!

  7. Google loves content. Consider adding a blog or news section to your Web site. Optimise for SEO. Rotate topics that set your business apart as the expert.

  8. Online PR builds brands. It can be executed through a local site with native ad options. Or jump into a provider offering local targeting of native content across a broad selection of site titles.

  9. Search. Start where people look to connect with Internet content. Now’s the time to clean up or devise your search strategy. Begin by understanding the hottest key words for your business.

Driving the best business results is why your accounts hire an agency. You are the expert and using Facebook may be only a part of the solution.

Use the buzz surrounding newsfeed changes to lock up more account budget. You get what you pay for. Great content and quality reach shouldn’t be free. Fear of loss is a powerful motivator.

Remove the pain for your agency accounts. Leverage Facebook changes to your advantage.