Don’t Give Up On Social. FaceBook’s News Feed Update Is Actually A Good Thing

facebook news feed change

Last month, January 11, 2018, Facebook revealed changes that impact businesses, and organizations everywhere. Here’s an overview if you missed it:

Imagine the News Feed you know now, but a lot less over-saturated. The constant drove of memes, brands overselling products, articles from well-known publishers, and more, will likely come to a halt under this new change.

In a post on the company’s blog, Adam Mosseri, Head of Facebook’s News Feed team, shared more insights, which I have gathered for you below, to elaborate more on the company’s decision:

Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships. One of the ways we do this is by connecting people to meaningful posts from their friends and family in News Feed. Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.

So what does this mean exactly?

Well, the brands that you see constantly now, will begin to fade, if not disappear from your feed altogether. This will allow you to connect more with the people that you actually care about (the premise of Facebook). Instead of a feed bursting with information that depresses, drains, or distracts you, users will be able to get back to the people that matter most to them, or at least that’s the main objective with this decision.

Hopefully you’ve made such an impression on your fans, that they vote to keep you in their feed, or check on your page from time to time (fingers crossed).

More on what this means for brands according to Adam Mosseri:

Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed.
With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to — whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.
We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content, consistent with our News Feed values.

What this means for brands’ in a nut-shell:

Basically, if you aren’t offering much value to your fans, yes that includes memes, you can pretty much assume that your content/page won’t be served to fans in this new & improved News Feed. If your organic reach (think of this as how visible you are to fans) is not that great, and you aren’t experiencing engagement that could help you rank well in the eyes of Facebook’s algorithm, it is now an insurmountable feat to connect with your customers.

Adam Mosseri expands more on what this means for brands:

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.
As we make these updates, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. 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.”

What this means (literally)

No more click-bait ; you shouldn’t be doing this anyway. And if you even try, you can expect a swift demotion by the algorithm. And yes, this includes spam, links to low quality sites, mis-leading posts, links that appear to be hacked, or a cause for concern among users.

This improved News Feed prioritizes people, so if you haven’t been focusing on community, influencing deep conversations among your followers, hosting group initiatives, or offering any sort of value at all, you can probably kiss your page’s reach or influence goodbye.

Conversations revolving around videos, celebrities’ posts, private groups and other valuable, local news, and highly interactive post types will be among those highlighted on the new News Feed. I guess it was only a matter of time right?

We knew something like this was coming, as we witnessed organic reach fizzle out across the board.

So what can brands do to try & cope with such a loss?

  1. Start a FB group — Groups are valuable digital spaces for community on Facebook. Depending on your product, you can see this change as the push you need to really drive customer relationships home. Starting a group could in fact be the right move for your brand, especially if the content you create, is valuable, educational, & fosters a strong communal space.
  2. Invest time into your content strategy, and use social media for what it is, a place to be social — I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out, all is not lost. Sometimes you have to go back to things you started, take them a part, and re-build. Why? Because things change. Times change. People change. And most of all, strategy changes. Don’t let your strategy fall prey to what I call the time capsule effect, where marketers or businesses have a hard time acknowledging change over time.
  3. Pretend your customers aren’t online — Personally, I find that people are more receptive to you, if you pretend they aren’t there, and the same can apply for digital marketing. This simply means, you use social as your customer would. Talk about yourself or brand. Tell, visualize, and live stream your story. Show everyone what you’re up to. Offer value, and new insights that people find rewarding.

My biggest issue with social media marketing is that everyone wants to play the field, but most people aren’t willing to put in the time to do it right. Small businesses, companies, non-profits, etc are human too, so it’s understandable that there is a need for instant-gratification, and insta-results, but if it wasn’t clear before, I hope it’s clear now, community is key.

Social media was created with the intent to unify, not the intent to intrude, and sell sell sell. That’s where us marketers, the small businesses, the non-profits, etc come in. Now we are coming full circle again, because the people have spoken, and been heard.

So what will you do?

If you have questions about community, creating valuable content, or you'd like to chat, Email me, and I'd be happy to help.

You can read the full announcement from Facebook here or watch this quick video: