Facebook is changing what users see in their News Feeds, and for small businesses, non-profits or other Page owners who rely on the social network for marketing, it’s a scary time. Don’t worry. We’re here to look at the changes and offer some suggestions on how to keep your Page’s content in the News Feeds of those who matter: your customers and your supporters.
Yesterday Facebook announced that it’s changing the algorithm that determines who sees what in their own news feed. We’ll break the announcement down chunk by chunk below but the quick version is: in its News Feed, Facebook will prioritize posts from people in your network over posts from Pages.
The organic reach (that’s the number of unique people who see a post through unpaid distribution) of content from Pages will drop. There are ways to help ensure your Page’s content is still seen.
But first, let’s see what Facebook had to say about this change:
“With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”
What does this mean?
It means that Facebook is focusing on user-generated content that will create dialogue or evoke some conversation. It’s going to be more person-to-person, rather than Page-to-person. The change to the algorithm will push the posts made by your friends and families to the top while making the posts made by brands through their Page less visible.
“As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.” (The bold is ours.)
What does that mean for a Page?
It means that if you passively post things that aren’t meant to engage, you won’t get seen. It’s likely that your pure promotional pieces will see a decrease in News Feed distribution, but your more entertaining posts are likely to keep people interested and engaged.
“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”
Facebook recognizes that video is engaging. People like to see it, especially live, so will continue to display this media in the News Feeds. Again, it comes down to providing your audience with content they actually want to see.
“Using “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”
Engagement-bait is the content people create to try to take advantage of Facebook’s News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. It’s the posts that say things like “Like this post if you drive a car or Love this post if you drive a truck!” or “Tag a friend who you’d take on vacation with you!” Facebook doesn’t like this. (People generally don’t like this.) Don’t do it.
“Does this mean you are eliminating Page content from News Feed?
No. This update is not the same as the recent tests where all Page content was moved to the Explore Tab. Page posts will still appear in News Feed, though there may be fewer of them.”
Whew. So, they’re not getting rid of Page content from the News Feed entirely. You just have to make sure that your content stays visible to the people who already liked your Page.
Shareable, relevant content remains key. Your Page needs to share content that’s engaging to your audience. Your content should get people talking and foster conversations within the comments. (You’ll also want to make sure your Page participates in these conversations, too!) Your content should be the stuff that your fans want to share with their own network.
Facebook advertising will be unchanged, also. While some are bemoaning that this is just Facebook monetizing their service even more, we’re firm believers in the power of advertising on this platform. You can target the people who are most interested in your product or service, spend a relatively low amount of money to reach them and then monitor and adjust your campaign on the fly. Unsure about how to maximize your paid advertising on Facebook? Contact us! We’re more than happy to help.
Really, this announcement from Facebook will hurt a lot of us who have Facebook Pages as the site moves back to its social roots and away from its news/business slant. At least at first. In the longer run, it might be the kick that brands need to create more engaging stories and content to share with customers.