Facebook News Feed Overhaul:
How Your Nonprofit Can Prepare
By John Haydon
Well, we all knew this day was coming.
Facebook has finally decided to pull the plug on almost all types of public content from pages.
The News Feed’s goal is shifting from “helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
How is the News Feed changing?
To inspire meaningful conversations, the News Feed ranking will now prioritize:
- Posts from friends that spark back-and-forth conversations.
- Videos and news articles that spark back-and-forth discussion.
- Posts from friends and family over posts from Pages.
- Posts with longer comments over posts with shorter comments.
Facebook will continue to reduce click bait, engagement bait, and other types of passive content.
Less Buzzfeed quizzes and more posts from mom needing help with Facebook.
Why did Facebook make this change?
First of all, this change shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Pages that don’t engage have had diminished exposure in the News Feed for years.
And I’ve been writing about it for years:
- Is Your Facebook Page Publishing News Feed Spam?
- OMG! You Won’t Believe What Facebook Just Did To Click Bait!
- Facebook is Changing How Your Website Looks – Are You Ready?
- Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Will Kill Your Bad Memes
- What’s the Difference Between Likes, Comments and Shares?
- How Does the Facebook Newsfeed ACTUALLY Work?
The bottom line is that without happy users, Facebook can’t sell ads. If your posts don’t inspire, Facebook won’t put them in the NewsFeed.
What does this Facebook News Feed change mean for your nonprofit?
First of all, don’t freak out.
Nonprofits have a clear advantage over consumer brands and businesses. People talk more about the causes they care about more than the clothes they wear.
All these changes to the News Feed require a shift in your nonprofit’s Facebook strategy.
Here are just a few recommendations:
- Stop posting passive content: Stop posting content that doesn’t engage. For example, links to your latest blog post, event announcements, or pics from your board retreat (yawn).
- Inspire meaningful conversations: Posts that ask followers to share their advice and recommendations will naturally spark more meaningful conversations than that link to your latest blog post. Keep in mind, your followers are waiting to share their own stories, their journey. For example, diabetes organizations should publish more posts that encourage followers to share their own diabetes experiences and tips.
- Focus more on Facebook Groups: Be helpful, put the members first, and create meaningful conversations between members. And if your Group is public, make sure it’s connected to your Facebook Page.
- Put your Page first: Make sure supporters who want to see your posts see them first in the News Feed. Especially core supporters who might worry about missing posts from your Page.
- Mix email and Facebook: If you have an email newsletter, you’re ahead of the game. On a regular basic, feature your most engaging post from the previous week. Invite subscribers to join the conversation by commenting on that specific post. Also a great way to grow your fanbase.
- Use Facebook Live to generate massive engagement: Facebook Live video is the #1 type of content on Facebook, getting 6X more reach and engagement than videos and pictures. During your live broadcast, get people commenting by asking for their tips, stories, advice. Read this post for more on getting started with Facebook Live.
- Invest in Facebook ads: If you don’t have a Facebook ad budget, you’re really not serious about Facebook. Start investing more in Facebook ads to give your most conversational posts more exposure.
- Create content designed to make your fans look awesome: People share content on Facebook, whether it’s a video from your Page or a blog post from your website, because they want to appear entertaining, informed, connected, etc. to their friends. Creating content that helps your supporters achieve this goal leads to more engagement and organic reach.
- Share news your people are already talking about. Create meaningful conversations around trending news your community might already be talking about. It’s much easier to join a conversation than it is to start one.
Facebook will always put friends and family first when it comes to the News Feed. The more you adopt the same mindset with your strategy, the more successful you’ll be with Facebook.
John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.