Big changes are underway for Facebook pages in 2018. The ranking algorithm that Facebook uses to choose how content shows up in user’s feeds, or News Feed, will now focus on personal interactions. Page interactions and posts from businesses, brands and public figures will be demoted. We’re delving into why these changes happened, what it will look like in upcoming months, and how your business and brand page can still succeed on Facebook.
What led to these News Feed changes?
Facebook wants to return the platform to what it was originally—a space fostering personal connections and meaningful social interactions. In his Facebook post announcing the change, CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited feedback from the Facebook community that said posts from businesses, brands and media were crowding out posts from friends and family. Zuckerberg also touched on research showing social media can be good for our well-being when used to connect with people we care about. However, passively reading articles or watching videos appears to negatively impact our emotional well-being. The adjustments, Zuckerberg says, will likely decrease the time spent on the platform but make time spent on Facebook more valuable. “That will be good for our community and our business over the long term, too,” says Zuckerberg.
What content will be negatively impacted?
Any content from pages will be affected negatively. “Person-to-person [interactions] will be more valuable than person-to-Page,” said Mark Hull, Facebook’s director of product management, in a video release. In addition, interactions like watching a video or reacting to a post will not carry the weight they once did, whether the post is from a page or an individual. Posts with links to external pages and “engagement baiting posts” will be down-ranked, too. Even posts within a group will be affected, as groups are also subject to the News Feed algorithm.
How will this change to News Feed affect the performance of a page?
Any brand, public figure or business page will experience a decline in organic reach, or the number of people who see a post through unpaid distribution. With our clients, we began to see the News Feed changes affect reach in mid-March. Pages should also expect to see a decline in engagements as organic reach declines, although the overall engagement rate should likely remain steady. Businesses and brands should have a new baseline for what their page’s organic reach will look like in about 3-6 months.
What can your page do to succeed?
First, accept that organic reach will not be what it once was. Success on social media now rests on incorporating paid advertising into your strategy. Paid ads are shown based on Facebook’s ad auction and offer a guaranteed way to reach people.
Second, learn how to create posts that foster conversations in the comments section. Facebook Live videos and posts that ask thoughtful questions are a good start, but you’ll have to test what works best with your audience.
Third, respond to the comments from Facebook users. Although page-to-person interactions won’t be weighted as highly as person-to-person, a conversation between a brand and a person should give your page a small boost in organic reach. Plus, it will help your page’s overall engagement rate and provide a favorable impression to the customers you’re engaging.
Facebook’s News Feed will look very different by the end of 2018, but that doesn’t mean businesses, brands and public figures have to give up. Focusing on engagement with users and incorporating paid advertising will yield results even as the News Feed changes affect organic reach. Have more questions about how to succeed on social media? Contact our social media manager today.