Navigating the Major Facebook Changes

Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media giant will be rolling out some major changes. Advertisers in particular will see affects in the News Feed functions and how content is prioritized. Here’s what business owners, marketers, and Facebook advertisers need to know.

  1. The platform will refocus on social interaction now, rather than displaying “relevant content.” Mark Zuckerberg announced a shift in focus from sharing relevant content—including content produced by brands, media, and businesses—to the encouragement of “meaningful social interactions.”
  2. These changes could hurt businesses that rely on Facebook traffic. The shift in focus will have a negative impact on publishers who heavily depend on Facebook traffic. Users will see less public content.
  3. Facebook understands that these changes will affect the company’s core metrics. Zuckerberg stated that he is aware of the business pain this shift in focus could generate, but he believes it’s the right move. He stressed that the value of time spent on the platform will go up, even if the time spent and certain measures of engagement take a hit.
  4. Publishers should share content with an eye to meaningful interaction. In his statement, Mark Zuckerberg stated that the public content businesses, media, and brands share should be held to the same standard as other forms of content; namely, the goal of encouraging meaningful interactions.

Keep Your Content at the Top of the News Feed

You can keep your public content ranking high in the News Feed by prioritizing meaningful interaction. Content that Facebook will prioritize in the feed includes content that encourages and prompts users to interact with one another and to discuss the topic in question.

Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:

  1. Do NOT use engagement-bait tactics. Engagement-bait tactics include vote baiting (i.e., “Vote on your favorite True Blood character!”), tag baiting (i.e. “Tag your true friends!”), react baiting posts (i.e. “Like this if you are a cat lover!”), comment baiting posts (i.e. “Comment ‘NO’ if you agree that this politician should not hold public office!”), and share baiting posts (i.e. “Share this post with 5 friends to be entered in the sweepstakes!”). Facebook does not consider these types of posts “meaningful,” so even if an engagement-baiting post has high rates of interaction, they won’t be prioritized.
  2. DO share posts that prompt comments—especially long comments. Posts that promote genuine, thoughtful interaction will rank higher in the new News Feed algorithm. This is especially true for posts that encourage longer comments, according to Social Media Examiner founder Mike Stelzner in an interview with Boss magazine.
  3. DO explore ways to interact with Facebook groups. Data trends show increased use of the community-centric “groups” platform on Facebook. These types of closed circles often generate the most content and activity. Posts that are shared in Facebook groups will receive prioritization in the News Feed. Marketers need to explore ways to utilize Facebook groups in a way that creates real community and conversation.
  4. DO share news content that sparks conversation. The new algorithm will focus on the stories that people actually talk about and share with family and friends.

Lessons for the Future

These changes are to be expected. Facebook is a massive social media platform and, with two billion users and counting, it will always have value to offer advertisers. Marketers need to be aware of how this platform grows and changes. It’s important to never get comfortable with any digital marketing strategy or platform. Always be willing to adapt and evolve in order to stay ahead. This won’t be the last time the rules change. Be ready to learn, unlearn, and relearn—and you won’t get left behind.