Ready or not, here they come! Facebook has once again made tweaks to their News Feed algorithm which will probably annoy you... a lot. One of the changes seems pretty harmless but raises post structure questions while the other is sure to make community managers everywhere annoyed. Before we dive into these changes, it is important to realize that these things are good in the long run as it helps Facebook understand what people really want out of the platform. I would imagine that they have the foresight to monitor reactions and sentiment about applied changes. We have to hope so at least. I can't sleep at night thinking that Darth Zuckerberg is out to get us. Anyway, here are the two Facebook News Feed algorithm changes you need to know about.
1. More relevant articles in the news feed
This update is an attempt to provide people with the most relevant, high quality articles possible. Apparently they are going to pay more attention to what makes up high-quality content overall and how often articles are clicked on from the News Feed (as per their Newsroom Post). In short, users will notice more links to articles in their feeds, especially on mobile. Their goal is to be able to know the difference between a great blog article getting clicks and a cute cat picture being hosted somewhere else. Facebook will also be showing users articles that are similar to ones they have just read, therefore keeping the relevancy. To keep the engagement with the articles, an update has been made to their Bumping feature to showcase articles that are receiving comments and engagement. This seems like a pretty decent update, especially if you pump out a lot of blog content and share it to Facebook. There are no reports if marketers will be forced to use the link preview feature or if they can post photos with links and still receive "credit"? Time will tell.
2. You now need engaging posts AND advertising
Piggybacking on the previous point, Facebook had been encouraging administrators to utilize strategies that leverage great content as well as paid advertising. Well, now it's official. Facebook recently announced on their Facebook for Business page that with all of the competition for real estate in the News Feed, page owners will start seeing a decline in organic reach. To add insult to injury, they expect this trend to continue as they "focus on quality". So what does this mean exactly? Essentially, organic (free) reach will start getting bullied down due to the paid reach of other pages. Unless you invest a bit of budget into advertising products, you will reach even less of that community that you have strived to build. So, what can be done? I recommend investing a small budget to ensure growth of your community and post promotion. Ideally your strategy would be built on the paid, earned and owned media pillars. Unfortunately, we are going to have to get off of the wallet a bit to reach more of our audiences.
By now you are probably either sad, mad or a combination of both. Have no fear! At the end of the day, content makes the social world go around. As long as you keep generating content that resonates with your community, you should be fine. It doesn't hurt to fiscally invest in your Facebook presence. Just for the sake of thoroughness, let's review what Facebook says you can do to ensure that your content is on par with what they are looking for:
- Make your posts timely and relevant
- Build credibility and trust with your audience
- Ask yourself, "Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?"
- Think about, "Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?"
What do you think about these recent tweaks? Sound off in the comment section!