Sharing is Caring: Facebook's News Feed Algorithm Update
In a post to the Facebook blog on Wednesday, June 29, 2106, Facebook announced yet another update to their ever-changing News Feed algorithm.
As much as Facebook has grown in the past years it has struggled to find a comfortable balance between its business/advertising sector and users.
We've reported on the changes Facebook made to the organic reach of business pages in the past. This time around, Facebook is making the organic reach of business page's even more dependant on the amount of shares it receives.
Lars Backstrom, Facebook's Engineering Director, had this to say:
"We’ve heard from our community that people are still worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about. For people with many connections this is particularly important, as there are a lot of stories for them to see each day. So we are updating News Feed over the coming weeks so that the things posted by the friends you care about are higher up in your News Feed."
Facebook has always stated that its goal is to help people keep in touch with their family and friends. Their priority has always been to keep you connected to the people, places, and things you want to be connected to. Still, people are worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about says Facebook.
If you weren't aware before, the Facebook News Feed has two overarching goals:
1) To inform. People expect to see updates that are relevant to them whether it be about friends or family, or current events. This of course varies from person to person, but the News Feed is constantly trying to figure out what news is relevant to you.
2) To entertain. Facebook tries to sprinkle in updates that are entertaining to you. For some of your friends that might be news about a celebrity or a brand, or an exciting live video. But entertainment will always be behind updates from your personal network.
How will this affect your Facebook business page?
Over the coming weeks Facebook anticipates that this update may cause the reach and referral traffic for business pages to decline (once again). But this depends on your page's audience composition. For example, if a lot of your referral traffic to your website comes from your audience sharing your content and their friends liking/commenting on it then you shouldn't see much of a decline.
In other words, Facebook encourages Pages to post things that their audience are likely to share with their friends.
What is Facebook's reasoning behind this change?
If people aren't able to rely on Facebook to keep them updated with friends and family then they might switch to a platform that will. Snapchat is certainly biting at their heels.
How can I prepare my Facebook Page for this change?
First I'll say that if you've successfully adapted to Facebook's algorithm changes thus far you don't have too much to worry about. If you're seeing a decent amount of engagement — sharing being the most important — then you shouldn't see much of a change.
Take the time to audit your Facebook Page's past posts to see what kind of content has received the most engagement. Note the type of content, format, visuals, length, time of day, etc — and build on top of those successes.
If your posts haven't been seeing much engagement lately definitely don't expect to see any improvement going forward with this new update. There must be an even greater focus on driving traffic back to your own website and building your email list.
There must be an even greater focus on growing your own assets, like an email list. A few ways this can be accomplished is:
- Social contests. Fun and engaging, social contests like, vote contests, photo contests, Instagram hashtag contests and others are a great way to collect leads through social media. Social promotions are still one of the most effective way of capitalizing on a large social media audience.
- Lead generation. Employ tools like popups or landing pages on your website to capture visitor information through the use of lead magnets. Traffic that moves from your Facebook page to your website can be captured and added to profit-generating email lists.
Going forward, Facebook's relationship with businesses is looking a little cloudy in my opinion. The social media giant is still trying to figure out how to keep their users connected while balancing it with advertising.
We've all been witness to the evolving and pivoting nature of social media and it's an important reminder that relying on third party platforms can be risky. The way these platforms deal with businesses and advertising can change in an instant and leave you with a 3% organic reach.
How have you been feeling about Facebook marketing lately? Is it still a viable channel for your business?
Leave a comment for me below and give me your opinion — I'd love to hear about it!
Check out the following resources to improve your Facebook marketing strategy: