Back at the start of the year, we told you that Mark Zuckerberg had boldly announced a significant change to our Facebook newsfeeds
An updated algorithm would see posts prioritized by family and friends over public branded content.
I said it was bold.
Why the change?
This flip-reverse in direction has come out of a lack of mobile advertising inventory on Facebook, and a general dissatisfaction amongst users that the platform isn’t ‘very social’ anymore.
Just take a look at your own newsfeed and you’ll probably see post after post from brands whose Pages you follow, video content from media outlets or sponsored adverts, but you’ll also have noticed a few other posts sneaking in. I’m talking about posts your friends have commented on, or events they have expressed an interest in.
Facebook wants more of this kind of content. It wants to predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed.
What does that mean for branded Facebook Pages?
In short, it means that your content really matters.
What a brand’s Page shares will be scrutinised for engagement amongst its followers, and if the rate of reaction is low, distribution may be reduced.
In Facebook’s own words:
“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 update aims to show less public content to encourage more meaningful interactions between people, such as comments. In theory, users will be more likely to see your Facebook posts if their friends and family are reacting to it.
Brands will need to take action to understand who their fans are and what’s relevant to them.
Quick wins to action the changes
To note the change in the algorithm, we’ve updated the Smarter Facebook Guide, so here are a few quick wins from the guide to consider for your business Page.
- Continue posting engaging, quality content that encourages engagement. If your branded page is full of posts that are generally not getting any reactions, they won’t get much reach. Aim to create quality content focused on sparking conversations between users such as asking meaningful questions on posts, or write about timely, relevant topics that you think your users will have an opinion on.
- Publish less content. The old rule, “quality over quantity”. Post updates that are more relevant to the user rather than just pushing out lots of disengaging content.
- Stop ‘like baiting’. Although comments will help your chances of being shown, posts that simply ask for a user to ‘comment on this post’ will lead to the content being demoted rather than promoted.
- Use the ‘See first’ function. Facebook offers users the chance to customise their notifications so that your posts appear at the top of their newsfeed. In the same way that you might see an ‘add us to your safe sender list’ message on email communications, encourage followers to amend their settings so that they see the content from your page as a priority. Here’s a guide from Facebook to help you educate your page followers.
- Use the Facebook Live function more. Facebook has said that Live videos are totalling six times the interactions of non-Live videos, so if you’re after more engagement, that’s a great starting point. Remember to put a strategy in place first though including how you’ll use the Live facility, and the type of content you would like to share.
Although the initial announcement seemed like quite a change, it aims to create a better experience for Facebook users. The right approach can weed out poor quality paid posts to offer users more creative and targeted organic content that they really want.