January 11th, 2018. The day that Facebook changed forever. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some monumental shifts for the platform through his Facebook page yesterday evening. Facebook also released a blog post that dove deeper into Zuckerberg’s announcement.
We recommend reading both posts in their entirety, but for a TL;DR version: in 2018 you will begin to see Facebook showcase your friends and family much more while pushing public content from business Pages away from the spotlight. Facebook is also planning to better promote “valuable” content, or posts that encourage engagement and dialogue between you and your friends.
If you’re a social media marketer or a Facebook Page manager, this news should come as no surprise. For years, Facebook has been pushing to stay true to its News Feed values: putting family and friends first. However, with the issues Facebook has dealt with lately, including but not limited to its influence in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, it’s fallen upon Zuckerberg and all of Facebook to take a good hard look at how it operates and what changes need to be made to keep its users happy. Their finding? Zuckerberg wrote:
“The research shows 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.”
So, the News Feed is changing. Big time. This is likely to hit brand and business Pages harder than ever before. You may already be seeing major drops in engagement, video views, page visits, etc.
What can you do to ensure that your Page’s content is still seen by your followers and still discoverable by others? Here are our suggestions:
Choose Who You “See First”
Consider informing your followers about this upcoming change to the News Feed and that in order to keep your posts from getting missed, they should change their News Feed preferences.
The Facebook blog post outlined, “People who want to see more posts from Pages they follow can choose See First in News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages.”
You can access this by selecting “News Feed Preferences” on desktop, or “Settings → News Feed Preferences” on mobile. You will then be able to select the pages and friends you want to see higher in your News Feed.
Adjust Your Social Media Budget
This may go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Facebook has become a “pay-to-play” arena where the content that has more $$$ behind it will get seen more. Having a monthly social media budget for boosted posts and Facebook Ads will help your brand stay top-of-mind with your customers and drive more traffic and engagement to your content. Now with the News Feed changes, it’s more important than ever to evaluate your budget and decide if it’s necessary to adjust it so your content can continue to be seen. We recommend keeping a closer eye on your Facebook Insights in the coming weeks and months as these updates begin to take effect and start exploring new ways to converse with your audience.
It’s All About the “Value”
The new updates will be focused on the person-to-person interaction. Facebook wants friends to have a dialogue over what interests them and will predict what they’ll find worthy of engaging with. If your content doesn’t fit that mold, it will be pushed farther down the News Feed.
To combat this, the solution is simple yet potentially challenging: transform your content to be more “valuable.” Don’t post just to post. Instead, ensure that your Page’s content is what your followers are interested in seeing and what they’ll turn around and share with their friends.
What kind of content would work best? Facebook provided some suggestions in its blog post:
“… Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Test
These changes will affect every Page differently. While we don’t believe certain Pages will dissolve into social media obscurity, we anticipate Facebook users’ tastes of what they would like to see more (and less) of will evolve. This is a great opportunity to test what content performs best for your brand and what will gain greater reach and engagement. Whether you decide on A/B split tests for your Facebook Ads or simply boosting between videos, blogs and photos, you can’t go amiss.
Still worrying about what these changes mean to your business? Or are you struggling in general to get your social media marketing off the ground? Our social team at Commit Agency is here to help! Contact us today to see how we can create incredible brand experiences for your audience and amplify your influence.