Last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced he is ready to make Facebook better for users’ “well-being.”
The social media giant is recovering from a year of claims that Facebook delivered inauthentic news and advertising that may have negatively influenced millions of users. Indeed, public content dominates the News Feed — viral videos, news articles, blogs and advertising are favored in Facebook’s algorithms and drive the user experience.
No more. On Thursday, Zuckerberg announced a sweeping change to News Feed algorithms, placing more importance on friend and family interactions than public content. Moreover, content must be meaningful to be successful. Posts that generate authentic conversation with users will appear more frequently.
This unfortunately means in the short-term that Facebook post reach for businesses and organizations will likely decline. But as we learn more about Facebook’s new algorithm at P&P, we are developing new strategies that will be more beneficial for our clients.
Here are the things we’ve learned so far:
Facebook is placing priority on posts from friends and family, as well as posts that generate conversations and meaningful interactions between people.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg wrote in his announcement post. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
This means Facebook will show more posts from friends and family and fewer public content posts, placing priority on those posts that are engaging people in authentic conversation. Having a large number of likes and shares will not increase your reach, nor will sharing links, images or video.
This is the most alarming statement we read in the announcement, and something businesses and organizations should expect in the next few months: “As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.”
It’s about quality, not quantity.
It appears that news organizations and online publications that frequently post links to content will suffer greatly from this change. The message we are hearing is that posting less frequently with more meaningful and engaging content is going to be key to visibility.
Your content isn’t going to disappear. But new strategies are necessary to make sure people are seeing it.
Facebook Live videos and paid content are going to be two of the most effective ways of reaching your audience. It will also be important to ask followers who want to see your content that they set their notifications to see your updates first.
Developing new content strategies that engage users will be necessary for success in the News Feed. From a brand message standpoint, we feel this will be a challenging, but positive, change. If you are focusing more on your message and how to interact with your followers, you could stand to gain significantly from the content they choose to share with you. There is NEVER a downside to learning more about your followers and engaging with them. It just takes a little time and strategy.
Scheduling in advance is no longer favored.
Using social media scheduling tools (potentially even Facebook’s native ones) could negatively impact your post performance.
Engagement bait is HEAVILY discouraged.
If you’re considering a like, comment and share promotion for your organization, our best advice is don’t. These types of posts are now categorized as “engagement bait” and will count against you in the News Feed.
Finally, and most importantly, don’t put all your eggs in the social media basket.
This change has been a great reminder for us that even though social media has been a wonderful branding and communication tool, it shouldn’t be the only (or even the primary) method of getting a message out. Take this opportunity to look at your communication strategy as a whole and see where you can strengthen your efforts. Building and growing your e-mail list, for example, is an excellent way to reach your audience digitally that isn’t algorithm-dependent.
Stay tuned for updates about this change. Have questions about how this affects your business or organization? We’d love to chat with you about ways you can maximize your Facebook experience.