Facebook's Focus on Friends & Family

As most of you have probably heard, Facebook's News Feed algorithm has changed significantly. On January 11th, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that it is Facebook's mission to bring people closer together. The new approach is designed to get away from passive consumption and to focus more on personal posts that generate discussion.

"Facebook will prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people," said Adam Mosseri, Facebook's Vice President of News Feed (isn't that an awesome title?).

What does this mean for businesses who are active on Facebook?

  1. Facebook will show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses. You probably have noticed that your News Feed now only contains advertisements and content from your (Facebook) friends. Watch this short video on how you can still see the posts of your favorite Facebook Pages in your News Feed.
  2. Due to this, pages will most likely see their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease. It's true that people can go to the "Explore Tab" where the content from pages will be shown, but if I may put my two cents in, this is an extra step that not a lot of people will take.
  3. You'll see less video in your News Feed. Adam said: "Video is, primarily, a passive experience. You tend to just sit back and watch it. And while you're watching it, you're not usually liking, or commenting, or speaking with friends."
  4. Links to external pages (like your website or blog) will get less visibility.

Don't think that this is just applicable to Business Pages. Adam Mosseri said in Facebook's News, Media, & Publishing group, that the update applies to all post types, from pages and people... (so using your personal profile for your business is not going to do the trick to go around the new algorithmic changes). 

The big questions is: what is going to define the ranking of posts? 
Posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people will be prioritized. This means that comments are more valuable than likes, and long comments are of more value than short ones. So if you want exposure on the News Feed, a real dialog between people is crucial (emphasizing between people, not pages and people).

How to redefine your strategy:

  • Focus on creating thoughtful content that sparks conversations between people. If you use "engagement bait" (posts that encourage people to comment or engage in another way) think twice. Facebook will demote these posts in the News Feed.
  • Frequency doesn't equal exposure anymore, so scale back on the number of posts.
  • Look into Facebook Live. "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," said Adam Mosseri.
  • Master the art & science of Facebook Ads. This is one of the only reliable ways to show up in the News Feed and it gives you the ability to drive traffic off of Facebook (to your website, blog, etc.). Keep in mind that more companies are going to do this, so the price for ads will most likely increase (is my humble opinion).
  • Get familiar with the possibilities of Messenger Chatbots: moving conversations into Messenger and using bots will be a huge trend that will allow you to nurture leads and sell (I admit that I don't know enough about this, but I will make sure to attend sessions about this subject at Social Media Marketing World next month).

I'm very interested in what your plans are! Are you going to change your Facebook strategy? Will you increase paid promotion of content? Produce better content to cut through the noise? Are you going to look into new channels for content distribution and advertising? Or something else? Let me know by leaving a comment!