On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be updating its News Feed algorithm to show more content from people in your network and less content from businesses and organizations you follow.
In Zuckerberg’s post announcing the change, he cited research that 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.”
In response to that research, Zuckerberg says that Facebook’s News Feed will change:
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
Zueckerberg himself predicts that this change will cause people to spend less time on the social media network, but the time they do spend on it will be more meaningful.
How the change will affect business pages
In a post on the Facebook Business blog on the same day, Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook, gave some details about how the News Feed update will affect businesses and organizations. He says that “as we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.”
Ouch. It’s clear that reaching an audience organically on Facebook is about to get more difficult. However, Mosseri points out that it won’t be impossible, because businesses that publish highly engaging posts will still be able to reach their audience, as long as that engagement continues. He writes:
Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect…Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.
In a nutshell, if the posts you’re publishing now aren’t engaging conversation, they’ll reach even fewer of your followers in the future.
A quick guide to creating engaging Facebook posts
If you want to continue reaching an audience as the algorithm change takes place, you need to be engaging your followers NOW. In the earlier days of Facebook, just posting an image along with an update helped engage more followers. Now, with images in practically every post, it’s just not that simple. For most Page owners, you’ll need to get more creative.
If it’s really valuable to your company or organization to continue to reach a large audience on Facebook without having to pay for it every time, the best recommendation I can make is to hire a social media team who can help you create, implement and manage a Facebook-specific strategy.
Beyond that, here are a couple ideas to keep in mind as you work on crafting engaging Facebook content:
- Use Video. Most of your followers probably clicked “Like” on your page because they either use your product, like what you stand for, or enjoy what you have to provide in one way or another. Creating an engaging video about what attracted followers to your page in the first place is more likely to be reacted to and commented on than a simple link or image update.
- Go Live. Live streaming is even more likely to be viewed than a regular video. What event are you going to? What exciting thing is happening at the office? Go back to the question of why people followed you in the first place and use that insight to create live video content.
- Become a Host. Fun and/or informative events are likely to garner interest on Facebook. This doesn’t have to be an in-person event – it can even be something digital. As long as it’s something people are interested in, it’ll work as an event. Create your event page on Facebook and promote it everywhere you can.
- Make it Matter. Whatever type of post you’re creating, think, “Does this really matter to my audience?” Think about what they care about – issues, burning questions, how-tos, whatever – and base your posts around that. Also, take extra steps to involve things that matter to your audience. For instance, maybe your audience consists mostly of animal lovers. So, host an event where donations go to a local animal rescue organization.
Need help updating your Facebook strategy to match these changes? Shoot us a message.