Update to Facebook Newsfeed

Facebook announced a major change to its Newsfeed algorithm in January, stating the changes would ‘be good for our community and our business.’ Now the dust has settled on the announcement, let’s take a look at what this means for brands using the platform, and what needs to be done to keep content visible.

What’s changed?

Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement states very clearly that Facebook will place more focus on serving its users with meaningful content – specifically from family and friends. Why? Because, after doing a ton of academic research, Facebook discovered that ‘strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.’ Who knew, eh?

The research showed that ‘when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos – even if they’re entertaining or informative – may not be as good.’

In a nutshell, Facebook feels that Page content is ‘crowding out’ our posts from family and friends. Zuckerberg claims the fix for this will focus on ‘helping [users] have more meaningful social interactions.’

The network started making changes last year and we should see them reflected in its products over the course of this year. As the changes roll out, we’ll see less public content from Pages and more content from personal profiles and groups. Hmmm, am I a cynic for thinking that this change equates to brands paying, even more, to be seen in this space?

What do brands need to do?

  • Be more creative with platform features – round up the gang and brainstorm ideas, once a month is achievable for most businesses.
  • Ensure everything you post is genuine and useful to your audience – if you wouldn’t want to read it yourself, ditch it.
  • Interact with your followers – Zuckerberg mentions that posts ‘should encourage meaningful interactions between people’. If your posts don’t invoke a reaction from the audience, test out new content ideas until you find a topic that resonates.
  • Retire black hat tactics – we already know that Facebook hates click-bait, and this new update takes that even further by reducing the reach of posts that instruct you to ‘comment yes if you like pancakes’ or ‘share if you would give this puppy a home’. Shares will only be worth something if a user includes a unique comment when sharing – which comes from genuine engagement with the content.
  • Include live video in your marketing plan – Zuckerberg spoke of removing ‘passive experiences’ and also mentioned high engagement on Facebook Live video posts.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – Facebook isn’t the only social network out there and your audience will change over time. Check out Instagram and Snapchat, which brands are having current success with.

What’s next for your Facebook posts?

Understand that engagement and reach is about to take a dip. New KPIs and benchmarks will need to be set and you should revisit your Facebook strategy. Look at your paid support strategy too, and keep a close eye on the results for the next quarter. No paid strategy? Now’s the time to create one.

Think of ways to encourage your current audience to use the ‘see first’ feature (this can be enabled using the three dots to the top right of any Facebook post or by clicking the follow button on the brand’s Facebook page). I expect to see a flurry of tactics for achieving this over the next couple of months.

Still don’t have a clue?

If you need help with managing your social media content or don’t have a digital strategy in place, drop me a line to discuss how I can help your digital marketing flourish

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