You may have heard that the Facebook news feed is changing, and that if you’re a business with a Facebook page, you’ll be impacted. Facebook pages have become a staple in the repertoire of businesses looking to connect with and engage their customers, and for good reason: 1.37 billion people log onto Facebook every single day worldwide.
Here’s everything you need to know about the changes to the Facebook news feed and what it means for you.
Why is Facebook Changing the News Feed?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook wants to change the balance from your feed being dominated by professionally made content from brands, businesses and the news media to posts from friends and family, as well as Facebook groups of which you are a member.
Zuckerberg says Facebook has studied academic research and concluded that social media is only good for users’ wellbeing if they use it to “connect with people we care about”. In November, the company published a post that claimed “passive” social media use could be harmful, arguing instead for a more active and communal approach to the site.
There’s also the small matter of the public relations disaster that was the United States Presidential election. By diminishing the influence of news media, it may be able to avoid a repeat of the bad press it received during the 2016 US election when it became a breeding ground for “fake news”, helping spread stories that misled millions.
Changes to Facebook’s News Feed
Organic reach continues to dwindle.
If you’re already on Facebook, you’ll probably have noticed that organic (non-paid) reach has declined significantly over the years, causing engagement to fall even when you post awesome content. This means that your business page may not even be seen by the people you’d like to target, and leaves you feeling frustrated. The changes to Facebook news feed means that this is not likely to improve for business anytime soon.
The first and most unremarkable change is that Facebook prioritises pages that have paid for advertising over those that don’t. This has been happening for some time, and will continue.
It may be time to think about an advertising budget for Facebook, which does remain one of the more budget-friendly and effective methods of advertising.
The News feed and the Explore feed.
You’ll now see two feeds options; an explore feed (designated by a new rocket icon) and a news feed.
The news feed will now be limited. While you’ll still see original posts from “friends” on this feed, a lot of information has shifted to the explore feed, including the pages that were shared by friends. However, the news feed will include sponsored posts, giving businesses the ability to pay their way into this coveted space, but decreasing the chance they will end up there organically.
Facebook’s desktop interface makes organic reach even more challenging, as the explore feed button has been relegated to the left sidebar, and will primarily go unnoticed by users.
Meaningful discussion will be prioritised.
In a post titled “Bringing People Closer Together,” Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Head of News Feed, outlined the changes in greater detail. Instead of prioritizing posts based on comments and shares, Facebook will now push content to the top of your News Feed that its algorithms predict will spark meaningful “back-and-forth discussion.”
“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”
The limited spaces in the News Feed now afforded to businesses will be given to those whose content sparks the same meaningful engagement that inspired this change in the first place. High quality content is once again king, which means businesses will need to get creative about how they reach out to customers.
With that, here’s what you can do in order to start, maintain, or grow your business’s marketing presence on Facebook in a post-News Feed world.
What you can do with the Changes to the Facebook News Feed
Create organic content that is meaningful and valuable
This drastic shift is in an effort to improve the quality of the content shared on Facebook by significantly reducing quantity. Brands sharing “engagement-bait,” superfluous listicles and the like, are going to fall by the wayside in favor of those who consciously decide to create content that truly makes people’s lives better.
Public content—posts from businesses including yours—that encourages positive discourse among Facebook users will be algorithmically rewarded with coveted spaces in people’s News Feeds.
Get into groups
Facebook will continue to show content to users who are part of specific groups. Facebook groups are an under-utilised feature of Facebook, wherein people who share common interests come together. These groups have never been about hard advertising or spamming, but they will reward members who share meaningfully and helpfully. Think about which groups you might be part of, and how to can contribute to its members.
Create an advertising budget
Advertising on Facebook does offer highly targeted opportunities for your business, and is affordable. Plus, you’ll get lots of data from each advertising campaign that will help you shape future campaigns. You don’t need a large budget – even allocating $50 a week can give your business a boost.
The evolution of the Facebook news feed continues to reward high-quality content, which means you may need professional help with your social media strategy. To get started on a Facebook advertising campaign, contact us today. We love to help businesses grow.