Facebook News Feed Updates

In January, Facebook announced they would be “fixing the product” in regard to personal news feeds that were crowded with posts from “businesses, brands and media”, restoring the “personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

So, what exactly does this mean for brands? It’s a great opportunity to adjust how brands are handling their social posts on Facebook, making it possible to remain relevant in a space that may be closing its doors slightly to organic content from brands and businesses.

Some History on Facebook for Businesses

Facebook has historically been friendly to businesses, but in the past few years has been shifting their news feed algorithm making it more and more difficult for brands and businesses to find their way into their customer’s news feeds. There are a couple of quick ways to overcome that problem, but only slightly:

  • Make sure that your business page is verified
  • Pay to sponsor your content

One of these solutions is free, and while it can be a little complicated, is worth the time investment.

Verifying Your Brand Page

There is no question that you should go through the process of verifying your business’ brand page(s) on Facebook. While it can be unbelievably frustrating at points, it’s worth the time investment simply because of the immediate organic payoff that a business receives in their customer’s news feed.

Prior to verification, a brand with 100 likes might only reach 4-6 people who have liked their page with a post, and that’s if all best practices of social posting on the Facebook platform have been followed. As future post performance is heavily weighted and influenced by post engagement by users, following those best practices is a must, but reaching beyond that requires good engagement with users.

After going through page verification, that same brand might be able to reach 8-12 of their users, given the same scenario. If that brand continues posting using best practices and can encourage good brand engagement on their posts, over time they might reach as many as 20 of those users directly, and then the posts can carry on further engagement virally.

If you’re having issues verifying your brand page, GRIT can help.

Why Is Facebook Making These Changes?

Facebook announced they are making these changes, in part, to combat much of the fake news and foreign influence. The state goal of prioritizing content from friends and family, while demoting the presence of content from brands, business and media publishers – which is typically public, organic content posted by brands.

This did raise some concerns from marketers and businesses, as well as industry analysts who expressed concern over whether or not this would in-turn amplify a bit of the “echo chamber” effect on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg did state he anticipates “some measures of engagement will go down” for brands. This can be a bit concerning for businesses, as much of their brand interaction relies on engagement from brand followers.

In fact, critics and skeptics, including Kevin, GRIT’s Digital Marketing Director, surmised that what this really translates to is an ad dollar grab on the part of Facebook while giving all the appearances of “community benefit.”

What Options Do Businesses Have?

Given all of the conversation and concerns raised about this move, Adam Mosseri stated in “News Feed FYI” that businesses do have some options for maintaining their news feed presence. He noted, as we know well at GRIT, that “page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” Given that, it’s a pretty clear statement from Facebook that brands need to focus on shifting how they communicate with their followers and be far more intentional about generating conversation and unique engagement. Some options for this are:

  • Look at creating Live Videos
  • Ask meaningful questions of your followers that are relevant
  • Don’t post “I’m here” content, post content that is relevant to your industry and your followers
    • A bad example is a brand that posts only on major holidays, or comments on major news stories
    • A good example is a brand that talks about shifts in the industry, and talks to their followers about how that is changing the business, then asks questions of the followers to stimulate conversation on the post

What If I Need Help?

Good social media takes effort, time and practice. Your brand must be committed to regular posts of meaningful content, and one of the easiest approaches to this is by using a simple content calendar to help build out a good baseline for quality social content.

Look, we get it, this can sound incredibly complicated and time consuming. But that’s part of why we do what we do – we love engaging with people on social media, and we’ve been doing that for clients in Central PA for a long time. If you’re interested in taking your Facebook or social media game to the next level, GRIT can definitely help you elevate your content.