Facebook just announced a dramatic update to the News Feed that is sure to get brands’ attention. In fact, some outlets are even asking if this is “the end of Facebook News Feed for pages.”
Here’s what’s happening, what you need to do, and why I think this is actually a GOOD thing for the platform.
What is Facebook Changing?
To summarize the announcement, Facebook wants people to see more posts from friends and family than they see from brands and publishers. This will be accomplished by giving more newsfeed juice to “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.” Here’s how:
“To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, also posted his own announcement via his FB page. Here are the key sections:
I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions. [...]
The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people. [...]
Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.
At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together -- whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world -- we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”
By the way, this all comes on the heels of Zuckerberg’s 2018 personal challenge to “fix” Facebook.
How Should Business Pages React?
The biggest reaction I hope we will all have is to finally ditch those lengthy content calendars. Posting an endless stream of meaningless filler content was never doing anyone any favors, and now you can say with absolute confidence that frequency does not trump quality. Instead, your posts need to focus on sharing high-quality content that leads to interactions (among users, not just with your page).
Also, check out the section in the Facebook announcement on what brands can do. Seriously, all of the answers are right there:
"Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues."
It’s also important to avoid “engagement bait” posts, as Facebook will now demote anything they catch asking directly for likes, tags, comments and shares. (Check out our most recent edition of The Social Updates You Need to Know for more info on the engagement baiting update.)
I'd also recommend upping your knowledge about micro-influencer marketing. If the pendulum is shifting toward Facebook users, their friend networks are going to be highly sought-after. This is common on more public platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and I expect to see more of this activity on Facebook with brands exploring every option to make up for their diminishing reach. This was an opportunity well before this change was announced - putting your brand in the hands of people who are better connected, oftentimes better at telling your story, and carry more trust with the people you want to reach.
Finally: paid. You gotta devote more of your social budget to paid distribution. The competition for organic attention is going to be tougher than ever, so any good social strategy really needs to have a paid component. This was true before this announcement, but it’s even more true now.
Ditch the filler content in your editorial calendar
Focus on high-quality content that leads to conversation
Do more Live Videos
Publish more Video posts
Create a Group community around your brand
Utilize Facebook Events
Share relevant News updates
Final Thought: This. Is. GOOD.
Take a deep breath...
Plenty of people will see this news, cry foul, and bemoan the end of Facebook News Feed. But I think it's actually good for the platform and will keep people engaged for years to come. This has not been a good couple of years for Facebook, and something had to give. This is a very real and meaningful step toward making Facebook a “social” medium above all else, and we should be happy about that.
Brands have to learn to play by the rules: Facebook’s rules and the rules of being a good brand. This is going to force us all to create even better content, and if all of this pans out the way it should, we will also be rewarded for it.
I'll end with this....We know (but don't always accept) the idea of not putting all of our eggs into one basket. While this is still true, in the context of "news feed 2.0," there's an additional lesson: Build and activate other channels, yes, but make the most of the attention on your website or emails by asking people to share your stuff with their friends on Facebook. It's time to share the mic.