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What Facebook’s News Feed Changes Mean for Your Association

Mark Zuckerberg revealed that in an effort to make Facebook more user-friendly changes were to be made to the algorithm. But what does that mean for your association?

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Just a few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg released a post that sent all businesses and public media into a frenzy. The CEO revealed that, in an effort to make Facebook more user-friendly, users would “less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media. ”Essentially, Facebook wants to encourage more person-to-person interaction. On top of that, Zuckerberg claimed that any public content being shown on Facebook should “be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

This is one of the biggest algorithm changes Facebook has seen in years. Its promises have lead to talk of a decrease in traffic on public pages, which has also induced fear in brands and publishers alike. With Facebook’s old algorithm, associations and nonprofits alike were able to read up to 45% of Facebook users that were not already following the page. Similarly, nonprofits were reported to only reach 8% of their audience without promoting a post using Facebook’s promotion options.

If your association is one of many who have legitimate concerns about Facebook’s major News Feed changes, fear not. There are ways to still make your association’s content shine on Facebook’s News Feed. The key to mastering Facebook’s new algorithm is to learn as much as you can about it. If you know the in’s and out’s of the new Facebook News Feed, you can learn how to create content that will measure well and show up on your audience’s pages.

Let’s start with the first question that’s on almost everyone’s mind.

“Why is this happening?”

Facebook’s algorithm seemed perfect. Businesses were able to market towards new and current audiences, and audiences were still able to see personal posts.

So, why would Facebook decide to change their algorithm altogether? What sparked this movement? The new algorithm is based around Facebook’s News Feed Values. While these values are not new (they’ve been around since 2016), they’re seeing more of an emphasis in the new News Feed changes. So, what are these values?

What does Facebook think is most important? Well, overall family and friends come first. According to Adam Mosseri, “Facebook was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family.” The social media platform wants to make sure people can connect with the ones they care for most, and never miss out on a personal post.

Another big belief Facebook stands by is the ability to create ideas that generate a positive experience. They want to deliver people the content they’d most like to see. They also want people to feel safe and comfortable on their platform- this is enforced by their Community Standards.

Last, but certainly not least, they want content that generates authentic communication. They don’t want their News Feed to feel like a constant commercial break. They also don’t want their platform to be used for spreading false information. With all of this in mind, it might be tough to see where your association’s content fits into these values. You’re not a family member or a close friend with your audience, but you create essential ideas and information for them. And so, this moves us to our next question.

“Will my content show up at all?”

With the new algorithm update being announced, there is a lot of talk about public content being moved out of the News Feed and onto the ‘Explore’ page of Facebook. However, Facebook confirms this is not the case. Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s News Feed, reassured concerned businesses about their content. He claims that despite Facebook’s recent tests to put public content into the explore page, this will not occur. All public content will still appear in the News Feed, however there will be less of it.

Although this is good news to hear, it begs the question: “What next?” Will your content reach your current audience? If not, how can your association work around that? Let’s answer that with another question.

“How will anyone see my posts?”

Fortunately, there will always be a way for members and potential audience’s to see the content your association creates.

According to Facebook’s Newsroom, people who want to see your content will find a way. Anyone that follows your association’s page can choose an option called ‘See First’ on your page.

Found in the ‘News Feed Preferences’ section, this button ensures audiences will have their favorite content show up first on Facebook's home page. That being said, your association can stay ahead of the changes by encouraging all current and potential members to check this option on your Facebook page. You can also give them a step-by-step guide on how to see your posts so they don’t get confused. Once you’ve made sure your audience knows how to directly reach your posts, it’s time to think about your current Facebook content strategy. Will it work with the new algorithm changes? Or will it get lost in the sea of content?

“What does this mean for my content strategy?”

Yes, your content strategy will probably have to be rethought.

Think about it this way, you never want to be behind any new changes or advances in the social media world. This is how businesses fall behind in the content marketing game. The same idea goes for Facebook’s News Feed changes. If your association doesn’t reformat the way it thinks about Facebook content, it will have a harder time adapting to the changes for public content.

Think about what the most important values to Facebook are: meaningful engagement and a positive experience. These are both things your association can provide to audiences through its content, regardless of it being public or private. Switch up your Facebook content strategy to include posts that share general awareness on important topics. You should also be creating content that will create positive feedback within your association’s community. Then, once your content reflects these values, it’s time to get people talking. Strike up a meaningful conversation within your post’s comment section. Involve your community and encourage them to have discussion about what your content provides. Start an original comment thread of your own. Or, for extra member engagement, you can reply to one of your member’s comments. Let them know you’re listening and you like the conversation they’re starting.

Form your content strategy around Facebook’s new changes. This way, you can worry less about posts being pushed under the ‘public content’ rug.

Is there an upside?

While it seems like businesses are going to have to do a lot of work for little gain, there is a positive side to these new changes.

Yes it’s true, Facebook’s new algorithm could and probably will lead to less exposure for your association in the long run. However, what it also does is cut down on meaningless exposure your association has gotten in the past.

While your Facebook content was able to reach more people, it may not have been reaching those that matter. With the new algorithm, your association knows the people it reaches will be meaningful connections.

Your association will be able to find a specific, engaged market audience that are more likely to become members. While the new Facebook changes may mean more strategic moves from your association, they will not end of Facebook engagement altogether. Don’t let the news scare you away from a new opportunity to market.