Change is to be expected. All social media networks are ‘always in beta’ and changing their algorithms or features to try to keep up with their ever-changing audiences.
What are the new changes?
This new change announcement reiterates that personal news feeds are going to be showing more of the content your friends are sharing. Although Facebook has come under fire recently for potentially suppressing certain types of news content in personal feeds, according to their News Feed Values statement, “It is subjective, personal, and unique — and defines the spirit of what we hope to achieve.”
So your personal choices of who you follow and friend directly affects what you see on your News Feed. Unless a person is friends with a diverse group of people, they will not get a diverse News Feed.
Lars Backstrom, Facebook Engineering Director, admits that Pages will be affected by the change, “Overall, we anticipate that this update may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some Pages.” That’s not a good thing for many brands.
Brian Barret of Wired suggests the new changes will have a major impact on news agencies since most people surround themselves with like-minded friends so it is even more likely that dissenting viewpoints will not get shared around the Facebook News Feed.
The reach of what publishers think is important will not be as far as they are used to and adversely affect their bottom line.
From a community management perspective, this means it will be harder to reach the customers that don’t already like your page or readily share your products via Facebook.
Company Pages will continue to get shown in the News Feed, but at a more limited rate if their quality of content is low.
Brands will need to be more creative and encourage actual engagement with fans instead of applying traditional marketing and advertising techniques in order to get their content seen. After all, there is only so much space available for paid content to be shared on Facebook’s real estate.
Instead of showing pictures of products, start conversations around them. Invite your fans into the feed by asking them questions or highlighting them instead of products. The more your fans share your content, the more likely it will be seen in the new algorithm. Most marketing firms aren’t ready for the engagement required to help their clients succeed in the new arena.
Engagement is hard. It takes time. It’s hard to measure quickly, but the results of increased engagement go beyond simply staying at the top of a news feed.
Once engagement goes up, Facebook will reward your Page with more earned views, and the quality of social intelligence goes up as well. Socially optimized companies will reap the greatest benefit from these changes. They will be positioned to develop better-engaged fans who will tell you what they like, or don’t like, about the products available.