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February 14, 2019

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What Facebook’s News Feed Change Means for Communication Leaders

February 6, 2018

 

Is there anyone who is not on Facebook ? Although it has become less exciting because of its overuse, it is still relevant to each organisation needs. It’s clear that social media platforms, particularly Facebook, have greatly influenced how the communications industry has both pursued news leads and dispensed narratives to the public.

 

Effectively using social media as part of a PR strategy has become inevitable. There’s even pressure surrounding producing a story that has a high social media sharing ability.

 

After a tumultuous year for Facebook who has been blamed for the widespread of fake news particularly during the U.S.'s more controversial elections and the Brexit referendum, CEO Zuckerberg did some "soul-searching." And in January 2018,  Mark Zuckerberg pledged to spend the year “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”

 

A week later, he would announce a significant change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm that would prioritise “meaningful social interactions” over “relevant content.” The change promises to help Facebook users connect with each other better with services that “aren’t just fun to see, but also good for people’s well-being.”

 

Zuckerberg intentions seem to be honest, and many users of the social media platform look forward to seeing Facebook return to its roots. However, the announcement has caused a stir with businesses and communication agencies who have long been leveraging Facebook to meet their digital marketing goals and communicate with the public.

 

The purpose of the change is to rid Facebook of negativity, and there’s been no secret that the transition will affect brands. The official statement reads: “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.” They go on to say, “Page posts will still appear in News Feed, though there may be fewer of them.”

 

How does Zuckerberg’s promise to give Facebook users “less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media” affect organisations who use Facebook to communicate with stakeholders?

 

What can communication leaders do now?

 

With the Facebook algorithm geared up to change the way people experience their feeds, communication leaders are forced to adjust their strategies and think of creative ways to deliver their messages.

 

Make more Facebook Live videos
 

Pre-recorded social videos that were created with the purpose to elicit comments, likes, and shares will be affected by the change, no doubt. For the communication departments, an alternative would be Facebook Live which actually receives higher levels of engagement than recorded video.

 

Continue posting engaging and quality content
 

Creating content that sparks debate and encourages readers to participate in a discussion is paramount. The new Facebook algorithm will reward posts with comments more than those that have been shared. This is a tremendous change considering that shares were once a high indicator of a post’s success.

 

Invest more time in Facebook Groups
 

Organisations should look into new ways to engage stakeholders and clients with Facebook groups as those provide more personal engagement. The majority of business pages on Facebook lack the type of engagement organisations seek, such as likes and comments that fuel the discussion. This is where Facebook Groups succeed. The right discussion can really flourish because it’s not as intimidating as a business page.

 

Time will tell how the new Facebook algorithm will affect how communications leaders will be forced to change their strategies. It may require organisations to relearn how they use the platform to collect and disperse their stories. One thing is for certain; it is an opportunity to take responsibility and put the widespread of fake news to an end and bring back a sense of community to social media.

 

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