ESM Digital's Higher Ed Marketing Blog

The New Facebook News Feed: Is It Time to Panic?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement that the company would put more focus on individual person-to-person interaction and less importance on business page posts in the Facebook news feed has sent social media marketers into a frenzy. Will this be the end of the organic page post?

To put it simply – no.

This marketing worry is comparable to the fear felt by email marketers when Google announced Gmail tabs. Many professionals cried that the creation of the Promotions tab in Gmail was the end of email marketing. Yet, years after the change, we now know that it had very little impact. In fact, research shows that read rate for the Promotions Tab is 19% while the Primary tab is only 3% more at 22%.

While Facebook’s announcement is by no means good news, it isn’t a reason to panic and lose faith in the platform. Just like email marketing survived the introduction of Tabs, social media marketing will continue to thrive.

Facebook has long pushed the pay-to-play game for business pages. Organic reach has steadily declined for Business pages over the last seven years following the integration of machine learning with their newsfeed algorithm. This algorithm adapted to individual user preferences, so if a user never interacted with your page’s content – even if they liked the page – the page posts would likely not appear in the newsfeed.  This, coincidentally enough, was also when Facebook started offering more advertising options to businesses.

With the push to spend more advertising money also came the knowledge of what type of content produces the most engagement and features that make posts more visible like the ‘See First’ option, the Explore tab, and the Pages Feed. These resources and information helped marketers to better leverage their content and increase their dwindling organic reach.

While the past seven years hasn’t just been about generating ad revenue, which Facebook has done pretty successfully, it’s been about improving user experience. So, what does that boil down to for social media marketers?

Give users the content they want!

The Facebook New feed algorithm means it’s time to take a good hard look at your social media strategy. Your content needs to be even better and more targeted to your audience. The important point to remember is quality over quantity. Yes, as marketers we need to continue to be active, sharing and posting to our business pages, but we don’t need to have a strict schedule with 1 or 2 posts every day.

Content needs to encourage engagement, without specifically asking for it. Posts that encourage engagement between people, or fans, are more important than ever. An engagement with your page, in the means of a like or a lone comment, is less valuable than a share or a back and forth conversation within the comment feed of your post.

As Facebook continues its focus to improve user experience so do we as marketers – if our fans and followers don’t get  value out of our presence on Facebook, well then, our Facebook existence will be dead.

If you need help developing your social media strategy speak to our experts at ESM Digital.

Marcy Ansley