I am here to tell you: do not panic!
There are many other things that are deserving of your panic—an incoming missile notice via text, for instance—but this is not one of them.
You can read Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of it on his Facebook wall.
(Just don’t read the comments. Oy.)
Here’s the gist of it: your newsfeed is overrun with articles and videos and opinions of people you don’t know.
While you may very well read, watch, and listen to all of that, it’s not engaging.
Meaning, you don’t comment, react to it, or share it.
You scroll right past it.
Facebook wants to get you back to the social part of social media.
They want to put your friends, family, and loved ones back in your newsfeed (assuming you want them there).
Following is what you can do to ensure Facebook is still a viable source for your organization.
Facebook is a Social Network
They only way the algorithms can determine if your content is worth showing is if it has reactions, comments, and shares.
If you create content that is engaging and fun, your fans, followers, and friends will react, comment, or share.
I once asked on my personal page how many gallons of milk people go through every week.
The were more than 500 answers and, to this day, it makes me laugh.
These are the kinds of things we go to Facebook for—fortunately or unfortunately.
I’m not advocating your brand ask about milk, but I am saying it’s time to rethink your strategy to be more active versus passive.
Be Seen First
Along the same lines, how do you create content that people want to see first?
While we all have control over what we see and what we don’t, very few of us actually change our settings.
(Though I imagine the “unfollow” and “mute” buttons are pretty popular right now, what with all the politics.)
Because no one tweaks their settings or updates their favorites lists, it’s up to us to make sure the content is so good, people engage with it.
And that will ensure your updates show up in the feed.
Paid Becomes Even More Important
Facebook is a public company that has to show a profit every quarter.
The idea that brands will continue to have access to their fans for free is ludicrous.
They are not your fans; they belong to Facebook.
And Facebook will do whatever it wants with them.
Paid content will now have to be part of your revised Facebook strategy.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Video No More?
While it’s pretty clear in Zuck’s announcement that video will be de-prioritized, they’re not giving up on live video.
Watching a video is passive.
Live video is active—you react and comment as you watch.
Plus, they aren’t going to let Snapchat win at this game.
Consider how live video will help you with the engagement piece—and add it to your revised Facebook strategy.
You know how things you’ve already commented on or read and scrolled past continue to show up in your feed?
It’s because that content is so valuable to its viewers that they keep commenting on it—even days later.
As a brand, what kinds of content can you produce that will create that kind of conversation?
Which leads me to…
Consider a Group to Support Your Page
We strategically did not create a group for the PR Dream Team.
I find Facebook far too distracting to go on during the day.
Every, single time I go on there for a work reason, I look up 20 minutes later and have no idea why I opened it to begin with.
Don’t pretend that’s just me, either.
I know all of you do that!
That’s why we opted for Slack over a Facebook group.
But I will tell you from my own experience, the groups I do belong to (that I check in the evenings because I cannot be trusted), consistently show up first in my newsfeed.
Include in Your Revised Facebook Strategy
There is one little trick you can do right now, which I learned from watching Mike Stelzner.
Ask your fans and followers to click the “see first” button on your Facebook page.
Go to our page as an example.
See the “following” button below the cover image?
Click that and then click “see first.”
While you’re there, go ahead and click it so our stuff shows up first in your newsfeed!
Of course, this requires action from your fans and followers and that won’t always happen.
So the other thing to include in your revised Facebook content strategy is to be more engaging.
For us, we’ve learned questions work really well.
For instance, we asked last week how you get traffic to a brand new blog and people came out of the woodwork to answer.
Our blog posts (like this one), however, do not get any engagement on Facebook.
We’ll want to rethink our strategy on that.
Why You Truly Don’t Need to Stress
It’s good to have these wrenches thrown at us every once in a while—they keep us creative.
But you truly don’t need to stress and here’s why…
In June of 2016, the New York Times wrote an article titled, “Facebook to Change New Feed to Focus on Friends and Family.”
At the time, everyone freaked out and there was a bunch of hubbub about what that meant for brands.
We all adjusted and survived.
You’ll notice the news of last Thursday is pretty much the same as it was that 18 months ago.
You’ll survive this.
Just create content that is interesting and valuable—and your fans, friends, and followers will do the rest.