The Zuck announced big changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed yesterday.
While some are screaming that the sky is falling (it’s not), we’re going to cover everything you actually need to know.
Simply put, Facebook is changing the news feed to focus more on prioritizing meaningful content that generates discussion by friends and family. This means that normal users’ news feeds will become more relevant to the things users care about and less populated by Facebook Pages with which they do not engage. Every human being who has used Facebook more than 30 seconds this year knows that their news feed has turned into a virtual dumpster fire. Facebook’s aim is to change all that.
This is not speculative. Mark Zuckerberg (the human… not the machine), had this to say:
“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.” [source]
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
We believe this is actually a very good thing, but it all depends on how you use Facebook.
If you’re a business that puts Facebook on autopilot to regularly post automated, generic content, you’re out of luck. Facebook knows people are tired of meaningless content.
If you’re a business (like our clients) who spends time and energy on generating content that people actually care about and engage with, then you’re going to come out ahead when compared to your competition.
Honest and meaningful content is going to win out. Facebook is going to care less and less about businesses posting content like a random, generic graphics, videos, or links that has almost no relevance. (Regarding businesses in the medical profession this is a majority of the content we see posted by automated Facebook services.)
Facebook has been reducing the impact of business’s organic reach for years. This is just the next step. The simple solution could be that you have to spend money to boost your posts now, but that doesn’t fix the real problem. The actual solution is to stop putting out content that you know is irrelevant.
Bottom Line: If people aren’t interacting with your content, Facebook is less likely to show your content on people’s newsfeed. Facebook is trying to protect its users from spammy, meaningless content.
Does this affect Facebook ads or just normal posted content?
We don’t think it will have much impact on ads. This news feed change is focused on organic public posts. Consider this a signal, however. Facebook has been on the hot-seat for the last year due to political and public pressure to do something about how they validate, serve, and distribute ads.
Bottom Line: Paid Ads are largely unaffected… for now.
How should you respond to all of this?
While Facebook will never show all their cards and tell us exactly what this change means, they are strongly signaling that businesses who regularly create un-engaging content are likely to see the biggest impact in their feed distribution. This is some of the strongest, most specific language we’ve seen from Facebook in a very long time.
Things that fall into this category include generic content, automated posts, posts that feature the same content your competitors are using and spamming your Facebook page with things like recent client/patient reviews. These types of posts are likely going to have a cumulative negative effect on your viewership.
Bottom Line: Pages whose content prompts meaningful and legitimate conversations between friends will come out ahead. Pages that use terrible tactics and where no one really cares about what they have to say will see an impact.
Stop Engagement Baiting!
For years we have told our clients to use goaded interaction tactics sparingly. When done thoughtfully, the tactic can successfully spread a valid message, but businesses that rely on this tactic alone become obnoxious and quickly irrelevant.
To further prove this is not speculative, here’s exactly what Facebook has to say about it:
“People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions. For example, “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!”
This tactic, known as “engagement bait,” seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach. So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.” [source]
Bottom Line: Facebook has spoken clearly; people are tired of this. Until we see the full influence of their algorithm, consider cutting the habit of engagement baiting completely. To be clear, you will be penalized for this tactic moving forward.
How Now Shall We Live?!
If you haven’t thought about the validity of Facebook content in years, now is the time to start being intentional about what you have to say.
For years businesses have confused traffic volume with having an actual audience. The two are not the same, and we’re about to find out which businesses have an actual audience.
With that in mind, here are some simple actions you can take to come out on top with Facebook’s Newsfeed changes:
- Reconsider your content. Content is King. We’ve said it for years and now Facebook is officially favoring content that is thoughtful, relevant and meaningful. People engaging with your content isn’t a given, but now you won’t be penalized for it.
- Honestly reevaluate your automated posting services. Facebook is trying to eliminate meaningless automated content, especially content that is mass produced and could be word-for-word the same for competing businesses. Facebook knows if the same content is plastered across an industry. We see this having the largest influence on businesses in the medical field.
- Reconsider your volume. Spamming a Facebook page is likely only going to reduce your valuable engagement per post by spreading out your likes, comments and shares. What you share should be poignant. It’s likely that businesses that post multiple times a day with mostly irrelevant posts will see an impact.
ClearPG is a marketing agency whose focus is solely on the service industry. We’re dedicated to solving the unique human communication problems service providers face. We believe in the power of human connection. We focus on what makes clients unique while using award-winning media to form memorable online experiences. Our clients include some of the top medical, dental, orthodontic, and service industry clients in the country.