It’s a lovely Friday morning in January. January 12, 2018, to be exact. You have slept well because your social strategy and all the hard work you’ve put into building amazing content is paying off. You have great engagement. People like you. They interact and share your posts. You are getting leads. All is well. You grab a coffee and sit down ready to take on the challenges of the day. Then, it happens. Breaking news goes wild; Facebook has rolled out a new plan for News Feed, giving preference to friends and family and less to businesses, brands and media.
You suddenly feel like you have a rock in the pit of your stomach as panic sets in. You have so many questions that remain unanswered.
“What does this mean?”
“How will this impact our presence on Facebook News Feed?”
“What about our paid advertising campaigns?”
Organic Facebook content reach has been in decline for some time now, as more organizations have taken advantage of free promotion through their own pages that show up in News Feed. There is simply too much content because of that, (one of the reasons) resulting in changes like this.
Over the last five years, Facebook has been continuously fine-tuning their algorithm to filter and serve what is most desirable to individual users with signals such as likes, shares and the content behind clicks users watch and read. Essentially, users tell Facebook what they like and what they don’t with every engagement, and News Feed is tailored and personalized based on that feedback.
Advertising on Facebook is served to an audience using similar signals that personalize News Feed, and additionally through the information individuals willingly share with Facebook when signing up and building a profile. This is what enables advertisers to accurately target the right group of people with messages that speak to them. When you’re paying to get in front of those individuals, you’re seeking people who already fit the profile of who you want to engage with, and they are more likely to want to engage with you as well. This can actually help your reach with organic content that you aren’t paying for, by building an audience of fans who want to hear from you and will continue to engage with you beyond your advertising messages.
The good news? Facebook is not only interested in helping users have more meaningful social interactions on their platform—they also have an active interest in protecting and preserving advertising revenue. Check out this story from Reuters, where John Hegeman (VP of Product Management for News Feed at Facebook) states advertising will be unaffected.
In summary, unpaid organic posts through your Facebook page could be impacted by reaching fewer users with the Facebook News Feed update. People that are engaged with you—they “like” your page, they “like” your posts, they share and/or comment on your content—will continue to see your organic posts as they engage with them. Best practice to stay relevant organically is to target the right audience with advertising that captures the attention of people that are most likely interested in you. With a solid mix of strong organic content and Facebook Advertising, you’ll hold their attention continuously by producing and posting really good information that matters to them.
This isn’t the first News Feed update Facebook has made, and it certainly won’t be the last. Education marketers should sleep well at night knowing you have the right strategy and tactics in place to handle the ever-changing landscape of Facebook, with these, and other best practices. Want more information on how EDU marketers should be approaching the Facebook updates? Stay tuned for a follow up on tips to optimize your organic Facebook strategy. Coming soon.