For our trending assignment in COM 627: Social Media for Communicators at Newhouse we were tasked with giving our own assessment of the recent news from Facebook that they will be changing the news feed algorithm so that people are more likely to see posts from their friends instead of business pages. There’s two viewpoints to look at for this: A person’s and a business’. As I’m currently a social media coordinator involved with managing three business pages, this is particularly timely and important.
Facebook released a news release for the announcement, and digital media publications featured it across their headlines. According to the release, “Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships,” and with the update “we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”
From a general standpoint this is important as Facebook, like Google and other search engines can directly affect what content you see when using the platform. With a reported user base of over 2 billion active monthly users, this news affects a lot of people. Meanwhile, people who want to see less “Fake News” may have had their wish granted.
The main take away as a business owner or social media employee, is that content will need to be more engaging, to encourage shares by people, but they should still expect a dip in engagement. When preparing goals for the 2018 year, that dip should be considered. A small business may also look to encourage employees to share content to their personal timeline. We are trying to help this by utilizing Bambu, a platform which pitches itself as “Easier Employee Advocacy Platform.” Bambu allows one department to announce news to employees with appropriate content included, which can help if employees aren’t sure what exactly to say about a topic. This way they know the messaging is already approved and ready to be shared.
Facebook tries to appease businesses by stating “People who want to see more posts from Pages they follow can choose See First in News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages,” but it’s hard to imagine people doing this, let alone knowing how to do it. Facebook is still the best social media platform for many types of businesses, but this just goes to show that the only thing you can really control as a business owner is your website. I wonder if businesses that use Facebook as a defacto-website will decide to go traditional after this news.
As a personal user of Facebook as well, this new strategy is good in theory. For the most part people joined Facebook to interact with others, not to get the latest update from their local pizza chain. I do wonder how necessary it is though. I haven’t noticed recently a large amount of business posts in my news feed. Facebook does probably feel pressure to change things, as other social platforms continue to grow at a high rate. Facebook is already working on getting the Facebook Watch platform to a level that can begin to compete with Youtube. Facebook surely did plenty of research to find ways to turn active monthly users into active daily users, and hopefully this change helps.