Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook announcement post coupled with the Facebook News Room blog post set the online marketing on fire on January 11, 2018. This News Feed announcement was yet another blow to the organic exposure Business Pages would be receiving in the Facebook News Feed.
There’s a lot of discussion that could be had about Zuckerberg’s alleged reasons for making these changes, what others think are the actual reasons, and what many users would really prefer to see (hint: it’s not what Zuck claims), but that’s not what this post will cover. This blog post will deal with Facebook moving forward. The organic Reach for Facebook Business Page posts was already severely restricted before January 11, 2018, so it’s hard to imagine how much worse it can get.
Ultimately, we can’t do anything about the state of Facebook, so we have no option except to figure out how to work with these new News Feed changes while strategizing further about our overall online marketing strategy.
Tips for Being Successful in the new News Feed, According to Facebook
In typical Facebook form, they are not very clear nor conclusive in their announcement blog post. We do know that just a few weeks before this News Feed announcement, Facebook told us that engagement baiting posts were now going to be demoted in the News Feed. These would be posts like, “Tag a friend who reminds you of this!” and “Click ‘like’ if you vote X, and click ‘heart’ if you vote Y”.
This new News Feed announcement post tells us this:
- Focus on posts that naturally encourage reactions in some way (comment, like, and share) because Facebook will take those indicators into consideration.
- Facebook will prioritize posts from Friends in our feeds (though that’s not really all that new…it’s been like that for a while now).
- Fewer “public posts” will be shown in the News Feed, which translates to fewer posts from Business Pages.
- Pages should encourage their current Likes to choose to “See First”. While, yes, this is something Pages can do, we need to be realistic about how much of a difference this will make. With the exception of your brand’s super fans, you have a very low chance of getting more than a very tiny amount of people doing this.
- Live video averages 6 times the engagement as other types of posts, so plan to publish more Live videos on Facebook.
7 Ways to Respond to the Facebook News Feed Change
- Post less instead of more Based on what we know from this latest News Feed announcement, posts that get little to no engagement will be more detrimental to any chances you have at getting future organic Reach. So unless you really have a deep bucket of super engaging content to use to keep up with a frequent Facebook posting schedule, you are better off posting less but making it count.
- Advertise your most important posts Having some kind of dedicated ad budget has been a Facebook best practice for some time. Ads will be even more critical but you’ll need to focus on making your ads the best they can be. We can expect that the costs for ads will go up in response to this Facebook News Feed change, and the way to get the best ad costs possible is to ensure your copy, media, audience, and ad objectives are as precise as possible. Take a look at your previous ads’ analytics and plan to do more testing to fine tune your future ads.
- Revisit your content mix to see if you should adjust it Here’s the thing…some of you may have weathered the previous Facebook algorithm storms just fine. You may have a strong feel for what type of content your fans respond to and may already have an engaged audience. I know that for many of my clients, we did and do. Now, the Reach we’re getting today is not the organic Reach of 5 years ago, but it’s far better than the average .5-1% that many in the industry have reported (and that average Reach number is from before this latest algorithm change).
- Repurpose your content If it’s more essential than ever to elicit a response from your Page’s Likes, figure out if you can simply modify how you present it for a better chance of getting the genuine reactions Facebook wants to see. Do some testing to see if changing how you phrase the text that accompanies a post makes a difference. Upload a photo to a new Facebook post, write a blurb and include a link in the text area instead creating the post like a traditional link post. Turn tips and factoids from your blog post into quote images. Turn your blog posts into videos using Lumen5. Make a slideshow video of images of the new products you just got in. The point here is that you might still be able to use most of the content you have already been using, but just in a different way than what you were before.
- Go Live on Facebook When you read through Facebook’s blog post announcement, it seems to contradict itself on the use of video. Earlier in the post, it specifically states that the decrease of Page posts in the News Feed will include video, but then later in the post, it says that Live videos average 6 times the engagement. Going Live really isn’t scary. It’s not that technically hard either. And once you start going Live, it gets easier and easier to make your future Facebook Live videos better.
- Diversify your online marketing mix It’s never been smart to put all your eggs in Facebook’s basket, but now more than ever, it’s critical to shift at least some of your time to other social media platforms or other online marketing tasks like email marketing and/or blogging for your business.
- Shift resources over to your website or blog instead of Facebook Tied into the last point, probably *the* most critical piece of all of this is the danger of what happens when any 1 business relies too heavily on rented land. Whether it’s Facebook or a different social media platform, you don’t ultimately control what happens. As we’ve seen time and again with Facebook, you can wake up tomorrow and the rules have changed. Your website and/or blog, for that matter, doesn’t change without you deciding to change it. Your website is your online version of a brick and mortar store. Instead of investing so much time and money into rented land, put money into making your website the best it can be. Start a blog if you haven’t already. Blog more often if you already do. Learn or invest in search optimization for your website pages.
Instead of fretting and fearing this change to the Facebook algorithm, use it as a stepping off point to building a stronger, smarter, and more diversified online presence.