By Jim Hennessey
Facebook announced in January that it will be overhauling its News Feed. It is a change that will once again shift the type of content users see first, and most often.
According to the official statement, Facebook will “be making updates to [its News Feed] ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about”—as in, their friends and family. The algorithm is being tweaked to “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people” and to “prioritize posts from friends and family over public content.”
Facebook has acknowledged the adjustments may lower engagement time on the platform in the short term.
The impact of the News Feed change will be a positive in the eyes of users, but it will present several challenges for brand pages—especially when it comes to organic content. At Event 360, we provide social media content and community management services to five national event series, so it is important that we have plans in place to address the News Feed change with the least possible impact on engagement.
Paid or promoted content on Facebook (advertising) will pretty much be unaffected by the change. If your organization boosts organic content, you may see a small impact if the content did not receive enough meaningful interactions before it was boosted. For many brand pages, paid placements will become the only way to get their message through to the broadest audience.
The News Feed changes will be implemented slowly over the next few months. Here are some tips for you to follow to stay ahead of the changes:
- Publish less content via your Facebook page, but focus on more meaningful content―content that will engage users or spur comments.
- Use Facebook advertising for awareness and promotions. That will allow your organic content to focus on meaningful interactions.
- Stop any engagement baiting in your posts―the kind of posts that say, ‘Like this for yes, angry for no,’ and so on. They won’t work.
- Go back to your community and produce content that encourages meaningful one-to-many discussions.
- Produce more live videos that tell your organization’s or event’s story.
- Look at setting up groups to build your community. Then link the groups you set up to your brand page.
- Using chatbots and messaging should now be a definite focus, alongside your Facebook brand page.
Jim Hennessey (LinkedIn, Twitter), is the Director, Consumer Marketing at Event 360. He leads the marketing and social media strategy for MuckFest® MS and works with other organizations including Bike MS, the Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival, and the MMRF Team for Cures 5K with digital marketing and social media strategies to support their peer to peer events and fundraising. Jim lives in Chicago.