Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, announced last week that he will be implementing Facebook newsfeed changes so that Facebook becomes more focused at connecting people with their friends and loved ones, like it was designed to be in the social network’s very beginning. He plans to achieve this by giving a lift to posts by friends and reducing the number of posts by pages in your newsfeed.
Currently, there is more public content – posts from businesses, brands and media Facebook pages – than there are personal posts, which results in personal posts being crowded out. Facebook plans to readjust this imbalance and add more value to the time you spend on Facebook so that you see more personal posts from friends. Mark Zuckerberg fully expects people to spend less time on Facebook as a result, but he believes that the time spent will result in connecting people which will be more meaningful and valuable.
In his post, Mark Zuckerberg specifically refers to the impact that Facebook has with regards to the mental health of its users;
The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.
We can all agree that improving the mental health of the population is indeed a step in the right direction.
Facebook page owners will need to readjust the way they are currently using Facebook.
As a Facebook page owner, you have probably noticed a decrease in engagement on your posts over the past year or so. Unfortunately, with Mark Zuckerberg’s recent statement, it would be reasonable to expect that this decreasing engagement trend will continue and may in fact reach zero for the majority of your posts.
So what should a Facebook page owner do? First thing is first – don’t quit! Yes, things are changing with the new Facebook newsfeed changes, so you will just have to be flexible and change along with it. Page posts will still appear in newsfeeds, but we will see much fewer of them, so you will need to adjust your posts to ensure that they fit the criteria that Facebook is looking for. Here are a few suggestions that might help you to get visibility and engagement on your Facebook posts:
- As soon as possible, set up a post to ask your followers to list you as a “See first” page. We included an image as an example of how to show your followers what to do, but an even better tactic would be to turn this into a video. Videos are given priority on Facebook, so more of your Facebook followers will get a chance to see your message. By clicking on “See first”, this will ensure that your new posts appear at the top of the viewer’s newsfeed. You probably won’t get a ton of people who will take the time to do this, but those who do are definitely your most loyal followers and you can probably expect more engagement from them. You may even want to send this message out to your email list.
- Pay for advertising or boost some of your most valuable posts, and target them wisely. Facebook is a public company so it needs to make money and advertising is a great revenue generator for them. My assumption is that you won’t be the only one that either starts to advertise on Facebook or increases its level of advertisement in this medium, so there will be a lot of competition between Facebook advertisers from now on.
- Remember about 8 years ago when many companies had Facebook groups but then pages came out and we were told that we would get more out of pages, so we all switched to pages? Well, it’s time to start groups again on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg specifically mentioned that we can expect to see more posts from our friends, family and groups on Facebook. Groups are an excellent way to communicate with the more engaged members of your Facebook page. For example, you might want to set up a group that specifically focuses on a small project together, or you might want to set up a group that acts as a focus group panel.
- Some posts naturally get a lot of engagement. Those posts will be perceived as valuable by Facebook and as such will continue to be seen on followers’ Facebook newsfeeds. You must strive to create valuable posts that will attract a lot of engagement. Gone are the days that you use Facebook just to announce your new blog post link or to ask for engagement. Facebook will penalize you by giving those posts even less visibility in newsfeeds. Know your audience and give them what they want. Hitting the mark once won’t be enough. You’ll need to do this over and over again. You might want to use your groups to inform members of special posts and hope that many of them will engage with the post thus increasing your chances that the post will be seen by others who may also find it valuable.
- Live videos will most likely continue to be prioritized despite the new Facebook newsfeed changes. In your content calendar, include as many opportunities as possible for a live video. Identify several members on your team who do well in front of the camera and start taping more live videos.
- Promoting local events on Facebook should also continue to be seen in newsfeeds. You can find the Facebook Local app on Google Play or on the App Store.
- Build and continue updating your own email list. If it is your email list, you own it and you will be able to use it long-term (assuming your clients have a long-term lifetime with you)
- Have visibility on other social networks. Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.
- Use keywords and hashtags in your post so that people can find your content via the Facebook search function.
So there you have it! You and most Facebook marketers are probably feeling anxious about the upcoming Facebook newsfeed changes. Most of us will have to change the way we use Facebook, but it’s not the end of the world. Expect different results. Test with a few different ideas and styles. But don’t give up! As digital marketers, we just need to readjust the way that we promote on Facebook in such a manner as to help connecting people.