For those of us who have been with Facebook from the start we have all longed for the "good old days" when we were able to just interact with our family and friends. It was a happier Facebook time with no ads, videos, memes and the attack of the media that somehow made it's way into our daily lives. Could it be that Facebook was actually paying attention on how their social platform was shaping modern day society?
On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm to prioritize content from “friends, family and groups.” What? Did we hear that right? Could we have the good old days once again?
“As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg wrote, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” Wow! Meaningful interactions between people, Mark why the sudden about face?
Zuckerberg cites “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being” as justification for the change, admitting that businesses are going to have to work harder than ever to gain their customers’ attention on the platform. If you rely on Facebook as your method of reaching your customers, it's going to be a new Facebook to navigate. Some have already noticed the removal of ads, repeating of miscellaneous junk, videos, memes and business postings!
As the changes roll out over the next few months, businesses will most likely see a significant decrease in organic reach. Users will also probably spend less time on Facebook, though Zuckerberg hopes the time they do spend on the platform will be “time well spent.” This means news feeds will likely start to show more pictures of your uncle’s dog and fewer Buzzfeed articles. This piece is very interesting in that Facebook expects to see less time spent on their social network. Which means your business page information is not going to reach your customers as it has in the past.
While nobody knows exactly what the impact of the news feed changes will be, there are certainly ways for businesses on Facebook to work with the new algorithm and continue reaching their customers through “meaningful interactions.”
TIP: Continue posting engaging, quality content that prompts comments
According to Zuckerberg, “meaningful interaction” means comments, comments, and more comments. The game has been upped, time needs to be spent on placing value on your posts and once again, the word "engagement" is important.
In his announcement, he wrote that “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.” This new approach is going to help remove all the meaningless posts or the posts for the sake of posting. Quality is going to be the key as you move forward.
This means businesses should create quality content focused on sparking conversations between users. Try including questions in your posts, or write about timely, relevant topics that users are sure to have an opinion on. The key: Users will be more likely to see your Facebook posts if their friends and family are commenting on it.
TIP: Don’t fall into the “engagement-bait” trap
It might be tempting to try and hack the new algorithm by asking your audience to “COMMENT on this post if you like ice cream!!” or something similar. But don’t be that business. It’s spammy and users don’t like it. Plus, Facebook says, “Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote this type of post in News Feed.”
TIP: Encourage customers to follow your Facebook page
One thing that’s not changing about the Facebook news feed is the ability for users to make sure they always see posts from their favorite pages by choosing “See First” in their news feed preferences. This means you shouldn’t be shy about asking your customers to follow your page on Facebook. You could even remind your loyal followers about the “See First” option.
If you want to talk about more about the recent Facebook changes, please let me know. While it might be a bit concerning at first as we have come to rely on Facebook for so much, in the long run it may be a positive change. Time will tell! If you also want to discuss moving to another social media platform, such as Twitter or Instagram, let's chat. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will schedule some time.