Facebook’s News Feed has recently gone through some major changes that will ultimately affect businesses, big and small. In a Facebook post dated January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg explained that he built Facebook as a way to “help people stay connected” but “public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
“At times, Facebook is looking like Myspace, as it’s overcrowded, and my guess is other internal metrics show that usage is not tracking the right way. The impact of the News Feed (algorithm change) will be positive for user experience but terrible for brands, publishers, and other third-party players.” – Chris Cunningham, President, Unacast
Zuckerberg agrees. He explained that the imbalance happened because brands create public content more often than people make personal posts — and he wants to change it. “The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups,” explains Zuckerberg. “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.” In other words, for public content to get the same News Feed ranking as personal posts, it will need to start conversations instead of simply generating likes or comments.
Stop Engagement Baiting
“Stop any engagement baiting in your posts now–the kind of posts that say, ‘Like this for yes, angry for no,’ and so on. They won’t work.” – Blaise Grimes-Viorrt, Chief Services Officer for The Social Element
The No. 1 thing you can do to slay Facebook’s new algorithm is to stop baiting engagement. Under the new News Feed, posts that try to bait followers into tagging friends or commenting will actually reduce the reach of your posts — and the lack of reach could be significant.
Instead, focus on content that actually connects people. This means shifting your focus from your brand — promoting your company and creating awareness — and on to your followers. Try to relate to the challenges your customers or followers face and how your products or services address those needs. Also, pay attention to what your followers do like to talk about. For instance, if you find that your customers love sharing tips or providing advice, ask for their involvement.
Start a Group
“Facebook is really building out groups. It’s almost building a new News Feed, a separate Facebook–[are] groups the next Facebook?” – Mari Smith, Small Business and Facebook Marketing Expert
One way to improve interaction around your brand is to start a Facebook Group. While a Group shouldn’t replace your Facebook Page or the importance of taking out ads from time to time, Facebook Groups should be a big part of your content strategy. After all, not only do Groups encourage interaction inherently, but they are going to receive a boost under the new algorithm.
“It’s no longer enough just to have someone share your post. Facebook will now favor shared posts that spark conversations among friends.” – Buffer Social
“Businesses will need to rethink their Facebook strategies for 2018, starting with reducing their post frequency to share only highly relevant and engaging posts.” – Kristoffer Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, SRAX
Under the 2018 News Feed, you are going to need to be more selective. Keep in mind that under the new algorithm, your content is going to be held to a higher standard, and it will appear in your followers’ News Feeds less frequently — even if it passes Facebook’s quality controls. The best way to manage the challenge is to focus on quality over quantity. The maxim will apply to both your content and your ads. Paid content, boosted posts, ads and regular posts should be limited to content that reinforces your key brand messages.
Ask to Be Seen First
“One thing that’s not changing about the Facebook news feed is the ability for users to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages by choosing “See First” in their news feed preferences.” – HootSuite
You should also know that while the algorithm that determines what appears in the News Feed is changing, the ability to “See First” is not. Your followers can still select to see your company’s posts first. Help make that a reality by asking your followers to see your posts first and giving them a reason to do so. When you stop posting engagement bait and start creating content that has a higher value to your followers, you will find that more people will be willing to see your brand first in their News Feeds.
Use Facebook Live
“Facebook is looking to lure advertisers to switch their marketing spend from TV to Facebook. Facebook’s goal must be to establish engaged communities who are watching and talking about the same events in real-time.” – Blaise Grimes-Viorrt, Chief Services Officer for The Social Element
The updated News Feed algorithm still puts an emphasis on video, but it puts even greater weighting to Live Video. According to Zuckerberg, Live Videos receive six times as much discussion and engagement as regular videos, so the feature is something the social media network wants to promote.
Use More Video
On average, brands that use videos to promote a certain product or service have 48% higher engagement than that of text. If you really want to break through the new algorithm, use videos to entertain, engage, inform and educate your Facebook fans. Work to implement best practices on all of your videos and you’ll be cutting through the clutter in no time.
Facebook’s updated algorithm for News Feed will change things from the way you are used to handling them — but it also presents some major opportunities. Be proactive in your approach to the new News Feed and you can slay the new algorithm like the boss you are.