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It’s only January but Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has just announced what could be one of the biggest social media changes of 2018. In order to promote more meaningful personal connections on the social platform, the Facebook News Feed will be prioritizing posts by friends and family over public content from brands, media, and businesses.

Zuckerberg stated that Facebook was built to “help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.” In recent years, however, its News Feed has been barraged by news stories that may or may not be real, as well as low-quality content such as quizzes and click-bait headlines.  This content is “crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” The News Feed change is intended to bring Facebook back in line with its original purpose.

Too early for long-term predictions

It was a significant announcement, and as expected, generated a wide variety of responses. Reactions throughout the industry ranged from “no biggie” to “we will all die!”

At this point it really is too early to tell what the long-term impact of this change will be on company pages. However, we do know that in the near future, both our organic and paid social clients will be affected in the following ways:

Organic reach of company posts will continue to go down—for some

The reach of organic social posts has been steadily declining for years. This update confirms the trend and its continuation, especially for pages with low quality content.  We contacted our Facebook Agency Partner to get his take on the change and he said, the “impact will vary from page to page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution.”

Number of paid posts will increase

There will be more paid posts as businesses look for ways to make up for the lower organic reach. Increased competition during ad auctions might potentially drive up ad costs (CPC, CPL, CPV, etc.). Want your content to be seen? You’ll need to pay up. However, don’t forget that ad relevancy, feedback from your target audience and an optimal campaign setup will also continue to contribute to paid success.

No changes to ad rankings

Our Facebook Agency Partner confirmed that “ads should see no impact from this change” since the ads auction and R&F tool “already optimize for user value.” He said that Facebook “systems will continue to take into account relevancy and feedback from the targeted audience to deliver ads to the right people based on your business objectives set at the campaign level.”

Boosted posts of low performing organic content will be negatively affected

Because organic reach will be lower, boosted posts will be negatively impacted in the ad auction. “If a page post is getting less organic reach due to this ranking change,” our Facebook Agency Partner said, “it may see a slight impact in the ads auction if ‘boosted’ from the page.” He added that it is important to note that “engagement is a very small part of an ad’s ranking–we rely on many other data points to determine what ads people see to ensure relevancy and value.”

Five Tips for Managing the Facebook News Feed Change

To minimize possible adverse effects the News Feed change may have on your social media marketing, we recommend the following:

  1. Elevate your content/creative strategy

One big positive to emerge from this change for users is that there will be an abundance of better content in the News Feed. Businesses that hope to stay competitive in the organic space will need to focus on creating high-quality content.

Good content has always been important for reaching and engaging visitors organically, but now it is vital. Posts that generate authentic conversations will appear higher in the News Feed. The stress being on the word “authentic.” Content needs to be valuable to the page audience.

  1. Avoid engagement bait

Spammy, “engagement bait” tactics such as posts that say, “tag someone who would love this product” will be negatively affected. According to a recent Facebook Newsroom article, these types of posts are already being penalized by the Facebook algorithm and being demoted in the News Feed.

  1. Consider live video

Live videos will become even more important for organic reach as they have an average engagement rate that is 6x than that of other content.  Live videos get people talking. Viewers “like” and comment on videos, share them, and engage in discussions about them.

  1. Don’t over post

Limit your Facebook posts to a maximum of one or two posts a day. Posting too much could lower engagement per post and negatively affect reach.

  1. Interact with your followers

Promote post engagement by interacting with your followers, responding to comments and answering questions. This is not only an effective way to increase your organic reach; it is also a powerful customer service strategy.

Keep in mind that this News Feed change is not the same as the recent tests that shifted page content completely from the News Feed to the Explore tab. With this latest update, page posts from brands, media and businesses will still appear in the News Feed, albeit there will be fewer of those types of posts.

Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform and its ability to influence behavior and attitudes is unique. While the News Feed change appears to have a noble motive, it could have widespread implications for advertisers and publishers.  Wpromote’s social media specialists will be keeping a close eye on how it may affect our clients so that we can make adjustments accordingly and take advantage of any possible new digital marketing opportunities.

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