Facebook's at it again – changing up the News Feed algorithm that controls what users see and when they see it. In this case, it means more text status updates from friends and fewer from Pages. In the latest post from Facebook Newsroom, the social media giant explains:
Through testing, we have found that when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves. In fact, in our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends it led to on average 9 million more status updates written each day...
Over time, we noticed that this effect wasn't true for text status updates from Pages. As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends.
This makes sense, given that Facebook users certainly interact differently with their friends than they do with the brand and interest Pages they like and follow. This algorithm change will cater to that difference and show more text updates from friends and more visual content from Pages. But what does this mean for community managers, social media strategists, and brand managers?
- Expect to see a drop in reach (and therefore, engagement) for text-only status updates from Pages. Armed with this knowledge, community managers and social strategists can help to educate clients and partners about the best kinds of content to post to ensure that overall reach and engagement metrics are not affected.
- Use link-shares to add value to traditional status updates. According to Facebook, "The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share.... We've found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds."
- Focus on delivering visual, valuable content. Whether it's a photo, video, or link, the content posted to Facebook should be attractive, relevant, and timely. Use Facebook Insights to determine the best kinds of posts for your Pages (historically) and consider adjusting future content to fit the timing, focus, and type of your best-performing posts.
Ultimately, the text-only status update will not go away for Pages – but it's clear that other types of posts must be a key part of the content strategy in order for brand content to stand out from user content in Facebook's News Feed.