If you have your ear to the ground on social media matters, you may have heard last week that Facebook announced they are making big changes to the content that displays in users’ News Feeds. This change would favor content that sparks engagement between people, while reducing the amount of content from pages, brands and publishers.
That’s right. Facebook will slowly be diminishing the amount of content from businesses and publishers over the next few months. This means that if you run a Facebook Page for your business, you may see a decrease in reach, video watch time and referral traffic, resulting in your content likely being seen less frequently by your followers.
Why in the world, you ask, is Facebook doing this? In a post made last week, the social media giant stated they’re making this change to content ranking, “so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.” You heard right--you might be seeing more of your crazy uncle’s political rants or your cousin’s 7,289 daily selfies.
If you remember, Facebook has been in the news lately for being a platform where misinformation can spread rampant among users, and even potentially influence a country’s elections. It seems the social platform is taking the concerns around what content is shared on their platform seriously, and reacting to prevent any future issues that result in poor experiences for their network of 2 billion monthly users.
This update features similar recent changes to the News Feed algorithm intended to combat the spread of clickbait and engagement bait content. In both statements around these types of content, Facebook cites their commitment to highlighting more authentic content and interactions for users as their main reason for updating the News Feed’s algorithm.
So does this mean as a business on Facebook none of your posts will show up in your followers’ News Feeds when they log in? “No,” says Facebook in a company announcement, “Page posts will still appear in News Feed, though there may be fewer of them.”
Given these updates, what can businesses do to keep their reach from diminishing?
Facebook states that Pages can still meet News Feed requirements through a few means:
Facebook noted that "Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed." So how does a brand generate conversation? Here are a few ideas…
- Ask a question. (Where do you want to travel next? What is your worst first date story?)
- Ask users to pick sides. (Pizza or Burgers? Raiders or 49ers?)
- Crowdsource for answers. (What’s the best way to get wine stains out of clothes? What’s are the best date night destinations in our city?)
Special note: be sure not to prompt answers by specifically asking for comments, likes, reactions or any other type of engagement. Facebook considers this to be Engagement Bait and suppresses this content.
Facebook has noted, “live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” The social network has also recently invested in tools for creators who gain value from sharing their videos on the site, so it makes sense that they’re promoting Live Videos to spawn real-time, authentic engagement with users.
Because this content lives at the top of users’ News Feeds, this makes it a great means in which brands can reach their fans. Facebook started rolling out this feature for Pages to publish Stories in October of 2017, meaning many brands are still getting up to speed on this content stream--a prime chance for brands to take advantage of the open landscape to connect with users.
Relevant Updates & Events
In their announcement, Facebook specifically called out the type of content local businesses can use to connect with communities--relevant updates and creating events. This means if you are sending out helpful post updates to your followers about your products or services (without being spammy) and posting Events on the site, your content will likely see more engagement, and therefore, more reach.
Yep, there was only a matter of time businesses could get away without paying for their content to be displayed on Facebook. The platform has now pushed businesses even closer to necessitating the use of paid advertisements to have their content or products displayed at all with these new changes. It may be time to pay up, if these recent updates say anything about where Facebook, as a company, is headed.
While these changes may cause panic amongst businesses who have invested a great deal of time and resources to their social marketing efforts, it could give rise to sparking better, more authentic interactions--brands included.
By focusing on what your followers want to see and applying more emphasis on connecting with them in meaningful ways, your Page may do just fine.