How To Survive The Facebook News Feed Update
If you logged into Facebook this past week, chances are you saw media outlets or marketers freaking out about a News Feed Update Mark announced on his Facebook Page.
Facebook stock even dropped 5% after the announcement, shaving a few billion dollars in market cap for the company.
But, as we explain here, the sky isn’t falling. Yes, changes are coming. But Facebook News Feed changes aren’t new and we explain how you can successfully navigate this one below.
What The Change Is About
Mark was pretty clear on what his goal with this News Feed update is: Helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
Look at your Facebook feed right now, and you’ll notice that you’re probably seeing just as much, if not more, content from pages and news companies, than you are from your friends.
Facebook has rightly deducted that this is creating a passive content consumption experience (you watch an interesting video but just like it, or you see a funny meme and just tag your friends), and wants to move back towards you coming to Facebook to engage and talk with your friends.
We think it’s because Facebook knows passive media consumption can happen anywhere. You can watch videos on Youtube, tag people on twitter, or in the future, another social network.
Content consumption has always been disrupted and Facebook wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to them. They want to focus on being a community you depend on.
How They Are Going To Drive This Change
Today’s version of the News Feed works with a process called Ranking, which uses signals (how many people react to a post, shares and comments) to determine how high it will appear on your feed. Content with more of these signals are more likely to show up on your News Feed today - hence why you always come across memes on Facebook.
There are two types of changes to the new News Feed process: connection type and exchange type.
It looks like this News Feed Update will reward private connections and place less emphasis on showing you public connections.
Private Connections: Friends & Groups (connections you need to request)
Public Connections: Pages, Businesses, Brands etc. (connections you can join automatically)
The new News Feed is also going to prioritize posts that create meaningful interactions between people by predicting which types of posts will inspire long form, back and forth discussion in the comments.
Again, Mark was pretty clear on how he plans to execute this: with more public content in your feed than those from people close to you, Facebook is now going to show you more posts from your private connections or public exchanges that reflect more time and care.
Ouch. If you are reading this, you are probably one of these 3.
Posts from businesses, brands or pages that do make it on to the feed will have to encourage meaningful interactions between everyone involved.
Is My Facebook Page Done?
All it takes is one visit to Facebook’s News Feed FYI page for you to see that Facebook has done this before. They are always going after ways to improve your connectivity with friends and family and reduce what you see from public sources.
You just have to adapt.
How Your Business or Page Can Come Out On Top
Facebook’s underlying goal with this update is to make sure each post that does make it into your Feed is creating authentic engagement.
But how will you do that?
The Facebook team does drop a few gems, like when they went on to say that communities, live video and thought provoking or interested pieces do generate the type of meaningful conversations they’re looking for.
So if you haven’t already, it’s time to:
1. Start Investing In Live Video: Facebook Live probably hasn’t reached scale for most businesses yet, but with this change, it’s time you start investing in it.
It makes total sense on why Facebook is seeing a lot of meaningful engagement on Live Video. It’s almost impossible to find a live video replay on your feed after it’s done (you have to go to the Page that had the live video to find it), so if you tune into a Live Video you are obviously really interested in the topic.
2. Place More Emphasis In Your Group: If you don’t have a private group for your business or page, now is the time to invest in one. Unlike a page, where the owner distributes the content, people join a group to start and contribute to discussions amongst the members.
Groups become a meaningful way for you to not only connect with your customers or followers, but for you to build a brand community.
3. Have A Purpose For Each Post: One thing we know for sure with this update is that posting a quote or photo for the sake of being seen will no longer work in your favor.
Make sure that when you do post, there’s a purpose behind it that will drive engagement with those seeing it. If it’s a video, make it informative or thought provoking. If it’s a post, make it long form and valuable.
4. Focus On Instagram: One big thing we noticed is that Facebook didn’t mention any changes to Instagram, so this should be a big focus for your brand in 2018.
Start moving content that’s still part of your brand but you don’t think will get love on Facebook there, or start testing which posts get a lot of engagement on Instagram first.
With 300 million active watchers per day, also consider starting an Instagram Stories strategy to keep your brand top of mind.
5. Go Big On One-On-One Interactions: Facebook is going to take away your ability to broadcast to your followers, so invest time into learning how to interact with your community on Messenger. Start building out your sequences and getting your followers to subscribe to Messenger notifications from your Page.
How Will This Affect My Ads
Almost as soon as Mark posted this update, we called our Facebook reps over at HQ to figure out how that would affect our clients ads. Mine was pretty clear that this algorithm change wouldn’t affect ads from a page being served.
Other marketers within my community heard similar responses:
This makes sense, because Facebook relies on ad dollars for revenue. However, that’s not to say that ads on Facebook will be as effective as, say, ads spent on Instagram.
Facebook is pretty certain this will decrease the amount of time people spend on Facebook, which means that your ads could potentially get less impressions.