For years now, businesses have been awaiting the day where Facebook finally announces that the company will be required to pay up if they hope to reach their audience's News Feed at all. Has that day come? Some seem to think so. As it is, Facebook Business Pages have seen a steady decline in the number of engagements per post due to organic reach dwindling throughout the years. Most businesses that are active on Facebook have, at the very minimum, a small budget dedicated to Facebook Ads so that they can reach their audience with relevant posts, promotions, and products for sale.
Facebook's official statement regarding the changes coming to the News Feed was published on January 11, 2018, directly on its Newsroom page. Mark Zuckerberg claims the reason for this drastic change is to provide a better experience from the user perspective, and dives deep into individual happiness and health. In his statement, appropriately written as a Facebook post, Zuckerberg states:
"Based on this, we're making a significant change in how we build Facebook. I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups."
Zuckerberg goes on to flat out say that users will see less content from business, brands, and the media. While this might be good news for users, it is devastating news for companies who regularly use Facebook to connect with their customers.
What Will Change?
This news means that users' News Feeds will be impacted immediately. It will be harder for public posts to make it onto the News Feed unless it sometimes sparks of meaningful conversation or provides a substantial enough value to users and has the engagement metrics to back it up. Regardless of this, however, content posted by your friends will always take priority.
There is a glimmer of hope regarding these proposed News Feed changes. According to the statement, Business Posts will be rated according to how well they perform based on Facebook's engagement metrics. Business posts that are rated higher will have a better chance to gain some organic traction still. This isn't news to most businesses as Facebook has previously stated that posts with higher engagement will have a better chance of showing up on the News Feed.
What Can Businesses Do?
If you have a fiercely loyal following or are a big brand, which has users visiting your Facebook regularly, you probably have nothing to worry about. But what if this isn't the case? Most users (even ones that follow you) don't usually visit your Facebook page. They most likely rely more on the content they see from your page directly on their News Feed. Zuckerberg said that he wants to keep Facebook a place where people can make meaningful connections, either with each other or with the content they are interacting with. With this in mind, businesses should keep content focused on this idea.
Photo credit: @hazelmaven