In January, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some big updates to the Facebook News Feed algorithm. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” he stated in his Facebook post announcing the changes (and then the marketing world yelled a collective “YIKES!”). But have no fear, fellow Facebook page managers! There are some silver linings to this announcement and positive ways you can respond to the Facebook News Feed changes.
This update to the Facebook News Feed algorithm is perhaps one of the biggest shifts in a while, but changes like this to social media platforms are not new, rather, it’s part of the essence of social media. Good marketers are used to rolling with the punches of ever-changing algorithms and adapting client’s strategies to ensure good ROI. This change is no different. Organic reach has been declining for pages for quite a while, so if you haven’t started to pivot your strategy, this Facebook News Feed algorithm change is the match that will start the fire.
Synopsis of Changes in the Facebook News Feed Algorithm
Take a deep breath – this isn’t the beginning of the end of the world of Facebook marketing. While the update will require digital marketers to make some changes to the way they reach their audiences, the platform will still feature quality, engaging content – even more so than before, which is good for users. And ultimately, what’s good for users is what’s good for marketers!
The Facebook News Feed algorithm will now prioritize:
– posts and shares from friends and family
– public content with friend and family comments or interactions
– posts seeking advice or recommendations from friends and family
– news articles or videos that naturally prompt discussion and encourage interaction (likes, shares, and especially tagging friends in comments)
– posts that encourage long and thoughtful comments and replies.
– (added 1/29) local news and posts specifically from ‘trusted sources’
This favoring of person-to-person interactions means the News Feed will de-emphasize “public posts” from Business Pages. It will also put low priority to all “passive content,” or videos and articles that user can passively scroll through or view without engagement.
Marketing Tips for Facebook News Feed Change
So what exactly does the Facebook News Feed change mean for marketing your business online? Well, in a lot of ways, it means keep doing what you’re doing: putting out awesome content that fosters lots of comments and engagement.
Here are specific ways you can respond to the Facebook News Feed changes:
1 – Automation is for the Birds (and not the good Twitter kind)
If you have been auto-posting, STOP! Automated posts from Twitter to Facebook, or Instagram to Facebook, are not the same thing as crafting a platform-specific post to engage your audience (otherwise, what’s the incentive for someone to follow you on multiple platforms?). Social media marketing has always been a game of quality > quantity, and now even more so. Posting less frequently, but with better content and more engaging copy, may help your engagement rates increase, and thus your organic reach increase. According to the News Feed update, posts that receive little to no engagement will actually hurt your chances for organic reach, and automated posts can very easily fall into this category.
2 – Engage Brand Ambassadors and Influencers
Ensure that everyone involved with your marketing campaigns understands the importance of these changes. Brand ambassadors and Board Members should be accepting friend requests (use lists if concerned about privacy) and then regularly sharing page posts to their personal profiles, commenting on page posts, and tagging each other in the interactions. You can also ask partner pages or specific people to share content from your page, or post and reply to comments – initiate these interactions by liking and commenting on their content. Be selective so no one gets annoyed and turned off, of course, but now is the time to engage or up your communication with those who already love you.
3 – BE the Page You Want to See
There are a few ways to be sure you’re putting your best page forward for the highest engagement rates, without falling into the “engagement-bait” trap (don’t ask outright for likes and shares!). Post at high-traffic times with content that encourages interaction in the comments (including replies from the page. Touch on trending topics as much as you can while still being brand-relevant. And of course, post a selective mix of entertaining, educating, and storytelling content. Remember, social media is not about you, it’s about your audience.
Luckily, we already know what audiences want more of – videos! The rise of video marketing is helping to combat the fall of organic reach on Facebook, and over 75% of marketers say that video has increased their traffic and sales. But not all videos will come out on top of the News Feed. Good videos with lots of engagement will still perform well. And since Facebook Live videos get further reach and an average of 6 times the engagement as other types of posts, you should take advantage of this option.
4 – Get Involved in Your Community (Management)
Posting awesome content already? Good. Think that’s it? Not so fast. Your community management game has to be on point to get organic reach with these News Feed changes, which emphasize interaction. Not only should you reply to all comments on your posts as soon as humanly possible, you need to initiate interaction, too. Comment on posts that you would normally just ‘like’, and interact with others in the comments by providing resources, asking questions, or thanking them for engaging. Also, consider the universe beyond your page: authentically interacting more as your page on other page’s posts and adding genuine value to the conversation will help your page’s reach. Just don’t be spammy.
Also worth considering is Facebook’s Groups for Pages functionality, and showing your community how to follow your page and select ‘See First’ for your content. But these two examples are not overall solutions and best made as asks to specific people, privately, offline.
For those of you whose pages are trolled – hard – now would be the time to consider any hide/delete/ignore policies. With Facebook’s algorithm change emphasizing interaction, replying and reasserting control over the conversation may be the way to go.
5 – Up the Ante on the Ads
No surprise here, when organic reach declines, your ads budget should increase! Not only will the News Feed changes make ad space more competitive (aka cost per click or view or conversion will go up as more brands compete for fewer spots), but it also means that more content will need ad $ behind it to get those eyeballs. Step up your ads game by auditing previous ad analytics, fine-tuning your targeting, and increasing the budget on your most important content. Stay away from that “boost post” button and utilize all the features in Ads Manager to really drill down what audiences are best for your brand.
Keep on the Sunny Side of News Feeds
There are plenty of ways that your brand content can still reach your audience with the recent News Feed updates. In addition to reviewing your balance of organic and paid content and mastering community management and creating high-engagement posts, social media isn’t a stand-alone solution. Your ads and content will perform best if your website is the best it can be, with content optimized for search and user experience.
The sky is not falling when it comes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm changes. These marketing tips for Facebook’s News Feed change will help your brand be the best that it can be, and that goes back to basics: creating meaningful conversations with potential customers. Provide content that your followers WANT to engage with, and leave the sky is falling panic to Chicken Little.