What Does Facebook’s News Feed Change Mean for Pages?

by aschmidt

Breaking: Facebook recently announced an update to the social media platform’s News Feed feature.

Read time: 3 minutes, 45 seconds

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, threw users a curveball on Thursday, January 11 when he announced an update to Facebook’s News Feed. In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said, “(…) We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. (…) But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

“It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in the News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do – help us connect with each other.” (Read his full post here.)

Research shows that using Facebook to connect with friends, family members, co-workers, etc. is actually good for our overall well-being. On the other hand, using the popular social media outlet passively, i.e. scrolling through updates, reading articles and watching videos, may actually be harmful to our overall health. So, what does this mean for businesses, brands and the media? Let’s take a closer look.

What’s changing?

  • More Posts from People: To put it simply, users will start seeing more content created by other people, and less content created by businesses, brands and media outlets. This could be in the form of a friend asking for recommendations, sharing a video, etc.
  • Meaningful Interactions: Facebook will look for posts that it thinks will interest you and encourage you to react. These posts will appear higher in your News Feed. Keep in mind, engaging posts created by friends will receive priority over public (business, brand, and media) posts.

What does it all mean?

Until the update is rolled out in full, social media gurus aren’t exactly sure. However, as many marketers know, Facebook has been making shifts in this direction since last year, so it isn’t necessarily surprising to hear that the changes will continue into 2018. In the meantime, businesses and marketers will have to continue to test and evaluate their strategy, and make adjustments as needed.

How can businesses cope?  

Marketers may want to consider adding the following ideas to their strategy to further their reach:

  • Go Live: Take advantage of Facebook Live to give followers a behind-the-scenes view of your business, share news, show demonstrations, and so much more. Not only is sharing live video a great way to engage with users, but research shows that live videos receive 6x as many interactions as regular video. That being said, using Facebook Live for every piece of content you want your audience to see is not recommended.
  • Create Engaging Content: This may seem like a no-brainer, but when developing a strategy, it can be easy to forget that content is meant to be enjoyed by humans. So, make sure you’re creating posts that are educational, inspirational, helpful and entertaining. Ultimately, the goal is to create content that encourages users to comment and start a meaningful conversation with others.
  • Avoid Creating Engagement Bait: This may seem contradictory to the last bullet point, but late last year Facebook announced that engagement baiting – vote, reaction, share, tag, and comment – will be demoted in the New Feed and should be avoided.
  • Explore Groups: Create a Group built around helping your current and potential customers. This may take a little brainpower to pull off effectively, but it can be done.
  • Experiment with Messenger: Whether you choose to operate Messenger through the help of staff members or bots, it is an effective way to communicate with customers.
  • Consider Facebook Ads: To reach your target audience, you may want to consider running Facebook ads to reach your target audience, especially since there is no indication that ads will be impacted by the update at this time.
  • Encourage See First: Creatively remind followers of the See First option. This feature allows users to choose to have your posts appear near the top of their News Feed.

At the end of the day, creating a positive experience for Facebook users is of upmost importance. It’s too soon to tell how the latest update will impact business, brand and media pages, but marketers should continue to focus on creating quality content that encourages engagement, and consider making tweaks as necessary.

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