Facebook Tweaks News Feed to Give More Visibility for Friends: 4 Ways to Maintain Brand Page Success

Facebook recently announced three new updates to its News Feed algorithm which are expected to provide greater visibility for posts from your close friends in the Facebook News Feed.

The updates are part of an ongoing effort by Facebook to provide a balance of updates from friends and public figures, publishers, businesses, and local organizations.

Here’s a closer look at the three updates:

1. Facebook will relax rules that prevent users from seeing multiple posts from the same source

This update is geared toward Facebook users who have kept their Facebook network small, and may not have a lot of content available to see.

In the past, Facebook restricted users from seeing multiple posts from the same source in a row. With the latest change, Facebook will keep users who are still interested in seeing more content from running out of fresh posts in their feed.

2. Posts from “close friends” will show up higher in the New Feed

According to Facebook, one of the biggest concerns they hear from users is that they are worried about missing important updates from friends they care about. To address this concern, Facebook will show posts from friends (photos, videos, status updates, and links) higher in the News Feed. The rationale behind this change is explained by Max Eulenstein, Product Manager and Lauren Scissors, User Experience Researcher for Facebook in a recent blog post:

“The goal of News Feed is to show you the content that matters to you. This means we need to give you the right mix of updates from friends and public figures, publishers, businesses and community organizations you are connected to. This balance is different for everyone depending on what people are most interested in learning about every day. As more people and pages are sharing more content, we need to keep improving News Feed to get this balance right.”

Facebook determines your close friends based on a number of factors, but if you have connections that you regularly engage with, this update will provide more visibility for their content in your feed.

This doesn’t mean that posts from Pages will completely disappear. Facebook explains:

“If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed. This update tries to make the balance of content the right one for each individual person.”

3. Stories about friends liking and commenting on posts will appear lower in the News Feed

Like the other updates, this change was made based on feedback Facebook received from users that said they didn’t enjoy seeing updates about the different posts their friends are interacting with.

Limiting the reach of these stories will provide more space in the News Feed for the people and Pages you’re actually connected with.

What do these changes mean for your Facebook Page?

This latest set of changes comes just a few months after Facebook began significantly limiting the reach of promotional posts from Facebook Pages and could, unfortunately, result in a decline in referral traffic depending on how heavily your business relies on Facebook to connect with your audience.

Through both updates, Facebook has remained consistent in explaining that the goal of these changes is to provide the best possible experience for users on the site. And while the possibility of further decline in organic reach could set off some alarms for some brands on Facebook, it also presents an opportunity to revisit your Facebook strategy to see if you’re providing an experience your fans would appreciate.

Consider taking the following actions:

1. Focus on providing content that’s interesting and relevant to your audience

Even with the latest changes, Facebook still wants to show people content that’s interesting and relevant to them — whether that comes from a friend or a business they support. To make sure your content resonates with the right people, remember to:

  • Pay attention to what’s working: Use the information you already have available to find out what your fans are most interesting in seeing. You can use your Facebook Insights to see which posts received the highest reach, and can also keep track of basic engagement metrics like comments, likes, and shares.
  • Understand your audience: All good things come from focusing on the people you want to reach and helping them become successful. To do that, there are a few important questions you’ll want to ask first. Who is the audience? Where are they spending time? What are they interested in? What do they love? What do they hate? When you can answer these questions, you can better understand the people you want to reach and provide an experience that keeps them coming back. Once you have a more comprehensive look at your audience, you can use the ‘Add Targeting’ ability to further refine your reach.
  • Keep testing: The constant tweaks and changes will continue to be part of life as a business on Facebook. Which means you need to keep a close eye on what’s working, what’s not, and what you can be doing to improve your strategy over time. Use your Facebook Insights to see how different types of content are performing. Test different times and different days. Experiment with different posting frequencies and see how your fans respond.

2. Move relationships beyond Facebook

Look for opportunities to move the connections you’ve made on Facebook to a place where you can build relationships with them on your own terms. If you have an email list, you can encourage fans to opt-in to make sure they don’t miss any future updates. That way, when you do have something to promote, you’ll know that these customers will see your message because it’s being delivered to a place they go every day — the inbox.

A great way to get people to connect with you outside of Facebook is to provide an offer or incentive. You can use a tool like Constant Contact’s Facebook Promotion campaign to offer an exclusive download or special coupon which fans can redeem by providing their email address. This will help grow your email list and bring new customers to your store or website.

3. Enable social sharing

Your existing customers, members, and supporters have always been your best source of new business. And in today’s online world, they are also a valuable source of traffic to your website or blog.

Make it easy for people to talk about your business and share your content on your behalf. You can add share buttons to your website or blog, and even include buttons to share in your email newsletters and announcements.

When people share your content, they’re close friends will see it — helping to increase your social visibility and generate word-of-mouth for your business.

4. Develop an advertising budget

If you’re going to make a commitment to using Facebook to promote your business, you need to be open to the idea of paying to promote your content.

An easy way to see a quick return on a limited budget is to utilize the Boost capability, which is available to pages with 50 or more likes for a maximum of 7 days.

This doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay to have every post seen by your fans. But when you do have something big to promote or want to get more exposure for something you have going on — you can use Facebook’s advertising tools to reach a wider audience.

Choose to use Facebook Ads to target existing fans or reach a whole new audience using Facebook’s targeting features.

We’ll have to wait to see how the latest set of changes impacts organic reach for Facebook Pages.

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