On Jan. 11, Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Facebook, announced a Facebook News Feed change that will affect anyone who uses the platform. The News Feed, a collection of posts, photos, and videos from a Facebook user’s friends, family, and the pages they follow, will go through a significant change over the next few months. Zuckerberg wrote to the Facebook community that this change is meant to help Facebook users have more meaningful social interactions. “The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups,” Zuckerberg announced. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.”
This change means that marketers and business owners who depend on Facebook to advertise and promote their brand will need to make major adjustments to the way they approach posting to the popular social media platform.
According to an article posted in the Facebook Newsroom by Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, Facebook will now “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people” and “will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content.” He also wrote in the official Facebook statement that as the updates are made, “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.”
Although this change will cause a major headache for marketers and business owners alike, there are ways to treat this as an opportunity, rather than a threat. As the new change rolls out, marketing experts, including our team here at Pulse, have been analyzing the statements released by Zuckerberg and Mosseri and picking them apart to come up with a list of methods that will hopefully maintain businesses’ reach and engagement.
Ask your followers to click “See First”
First, you should reach out to your Facebook followers and let them know about the change. If you already have an engaged audience that loves interacting with your posts, asking them to take one simple step to keep you top-of-mind (and top-of-Newsfeed) should be simple. According to Mosseri, “[p]eople who want to see more posts from Pages they follow can choose See First in News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages.” Simply asking your Facebook followers to do this may not be as effective as offering them something in return if they do. Try creating a short video that shows your Facebook followers where they can find the “See First” option on your page and ask them to leave a comment on the video once they’re done taking that action so they can be entered to win something from your business. You’ll even be able to tell how effective the post was because you can view who has chosen the “See First” option on your page. This won’t be effective for all businesses, but it’s certainly a great first step to take, and a great way to gauge your audience engagement. For an extra push, try boosting the post. You might even get a few new likes out of it.
Strategize based on engaging content
Second, you should rethink your social media strategy. Mosseri announced that “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.” In other words, try out live video, post relevant updates, and take advantage of letting your followers know about events at your business.
Boost and advertise on Facebook
As a third step, you should make room in your budget for advertising on Facebook. Various marketing experts have coined this News Feed update as the death knell for organic posts on Facebook. However, you should continue to update your page regularly with organic posts in order to keep it fresh, especially for those users who will search for your business and land on your page. This will show that you are listening and paying attention to the users who visit your Facebook page. To ensure that you reach people who are interested in your business, boost posts and try out Facebook ads. Take a hard look at your target audience and make any necessary adjustments to get the most out of your ad. At Pulse, we spoke with a Facebook representative about the Facebook News Feed change. She indicated that boosting a post every day will help maintain engagement and reach, and perhaps increase it. Your budget doesn’t have to be huge to do this. Try out $5 per day and see how it works, and then adjust if necessary.
Finally, you should aim to be authentic. This update is all about prioritizing meaningful content, which means you should avoid “engagement bait” at all costs. Henry Silverman, Facebook Operations Integrity Specialist and Lin Huang, Facebook Engineer, wrote an article about engagement bait in mid-December that explains how the algorithm has already changed to fight “engagement bait.” “People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions,” the article reads. “For example, “’LIKE this if you’re an Aries!’ This tactic, known as ‘engagement bait,’ seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.” Try your best to foster meaningful conversations. The article explicitly states that Facebook “will demote posts that go against one of our key News Feed values — authenticity. Similar to our other recent efforts to demote clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences, we want to reduce the spread of content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading in order to promote more meaningful and authentic conversations on Facebook.”
This Facebook News Feed change is a big deal in the world of marketing, and it’s a huge deal for the businesses that use the platform to promote their brand and sell their products. Knowing that it’s being implemented and taking steps to adjust are the most important way to ensure that Facebook remains a viable marketing solution.
If you need help with your Facebook strategy, give us a call or send me an email. We offer free 30-minute consultations and we’ll be happy to help!