Facebook's Doing What?

Since the now infamous Facebook post from Mark Zuckerburg on January 10th the latest change coming to the Facebook news feed has taken of the news.  From criticism to confusion, who should really be concerned? 

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Let's break down the Facebook news feed for starters.  You have three kinds of posts you will encounter at any given time in the news feed.  The first kind are posts from friends and family.  These are from anyone that is considered your friend on Facebook.  Either you accepted a friend request from them or they accepted one from you.  The second kind of posts are those from pages you follow.  These are typically business pages, either private or public that you have chosen to follow.  When they post updates to their timelines a certain percentage of followers will see their post chosen by Facebook's complex algorithm, but most having to do with the post engagement.  The third kind are sponsored posts.  These are from businesses that pay Facebook to show their advertisements in front of people that the business chooses through Facebook's targeting.  Facebook has to constantly balance their algorithm so keep people engaged and logging in as many times of day as possible.  

The latest change to the Facebook news feed will affect two of the three types of posts mentioned above.  Posts from friends and family and posts from businesses you follow.  Here's what Zuckerberg said in his post:

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other."  (see the full post here)  

Out of this change Facebook is shifting their algorithm to give greater exposure to posts from friends and family.  The only way to give greater exposure to one of the three kinds of posts is to give less exposure to another.  Well Facebook certainly is not going to show less paid advertisements so what will potentially take a hit are the business pages that you follow.  If you have a business page (which most reading this post will) you will potentially see less reach on your posts.  This is similar to the change Facebook made a couple years ago which was to give more room for sponsored ads.  At the time Facebook needed to bring in more revenue.  

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Before going into a panic we certainly want to wait and see what happens as this is implemented.  Continue to monitor the reach of your organic posts for a decline in reach.  Most likely publishers posts with lower engagement will take the biggest hit.  Facebook said the reason for this change was from a study where they found people who aimlessly scroll through their news feed without interacting with the content walk away feeling unfulfilled and that they wasted their time.  

As a business what you can do to limit the effect?  Post highly engaging content.  Do not just post to post.  Make it count.  Maybe this means posting less, but posting more high quality content.  As much as Facebook needs to make money, they have always valued engagement as the highest priority.  Businesses should shift their focus from getting as many eyes as possible to posting something their followers will truly want to engage in.