Changes to Facebook News Feed algorithm concern area small businesses

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Changes to Facebook concern local small businesses

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Many area small business owners are concerned about how changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm will impact their ability to reach customers.

On Jan. 11, officials with the social media network announced plans to prioritize posts from friends and family over posts from brands, businesses and media outlets.

"It's changing it's unfortunate," said Lee VanArtsdalen, owner of Zombie Dogz in Dayton. "It is our primary source of advertising and keeping customers connected with our business."

Zombie Dogz has just over 39,000 Facebook likes. VanArtsdalen worries the connection to those followers will be severed by the coming changes.

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Facebook is making the shift to put the "social" back in social media, according to James Haralson, Cox Media Group social product manager.

To cope in the new Facebook landscape, brands and businesses will need to create engaging posts that garner lots of comments, likes and shares -- and pay -- to boost posts, according to Haralson.

Research done by G2 Crowd and published at eMarketer.com in September found that 80 percent of small businesses use Facebook for marketing purposes.

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Facebook users who don't want to miss out on updates from their favorite businesses can use the "see first" menu option.

"It will put every update from that local business at the top of your News Feed," Haralson said. "You can also subscribe to notifications."

Facebook user Anna Haynes of West Carrollton has mixed emotions about the News Feed changes.

"Sometimes I get a little irritated with all of the business stuff, but on the flip side of that you find out about a lot of new businesses or places that you might want to visit," she said.

VanArtsdalen said she is going to wait to see how the shift plays out, but in the meantime she is looking into other marketing and advertising options.

"We have to get creative," VanArtsdalen said.

Facebook has yet to announce a date for when the News Feed changes will take effect.

ExploreNews Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray

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