016_Unlock Facebook Part 1

Unlocking Facebook for business

Unlocking Facebook for Business

Understanding changes to the News Feed feature


In a bid to make the News Feed on Facebook a more “personalised newspaper” experience, Facebook has very recently rolled out some changes to the way this feature works – changes which any business wanting to unlock the power of Facebook for business needs to understand. In this blog I take a look at what these changes are and how they will impact on your Facebook content marketing strategy.

How Facebook News Feed has changed
There are three key changes to how the News Feed now works that are worth mentioning;

  1. Multi News Feeds; a Facebook user can now use a drop down feature at the top of their News Feed to hone in what stories they are viewing. This includes News Feed from categories such as ‘all friends’, ‘music’, ‘close friends’ and ‘most recent’.
    What does this mean for your business? Even if a person ‘likes’ your Facebook Business Page, with the new multi News Feed feature, they can now choose who they are seeing News Feed content from and, this may mean you are frozen out.
  2. How you now show up in News Feed has changed; if someone now ‘likes’ your Facebook Business Page, rather than your logo appearing in their News Feed, Facebook now shows your cover photo.
    What does this mean for your business? You need to make sure your Facebook Business Page cover photo tells a story about; who you are and/or what you sell and/or what your business is about.
  3. More visually-centric; the Facebook News Feed now favours visually engaging content more than ever before. In fact you will notice that images and video content now display much larger in the News Feed.
    What does this mean for your business? Visual content is king when it comes to Facebook! More on this later…

How Facebook decides what stories News Feed shows
As Facebook pointed out only last week when they announced the changes to the News Feed, ‘…every time someone visits News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow and Pages for them to see, and most people don’t have enough time to see them all.’ And, this is why Facebook uses an algorithm that defines for each person what, when and where stories appear in their News Feed. This algorithm recently changed. Let’s not get caught up in the techy stuff! The important thing to know is that this defines how stories (or posts / content) appear in a persons timeline. And, these are considered the key deciding factors;

  1. Last Actor; Facebook now looks at the last 50 people a person interacted with and shows them more of their posts in their News Feed
  2. Story Bumping; conscious that there are so many potential stories that can go through an individual’s News Feed on any given day, Facebook has introduced story bumping. This basically bumps stories that a person might have missed back to the top of their News Feed. Facebook suggests that this feature has increased engagement. Apparently, people are now 8% more likely to engage with a Facebook Business Page as a result of story bumping.
  3. Public Popularity; like with the old EdgeRank algorithm, the new one favours stories that get more likes, comments or shares. The more of these a story gets the greater the chance is that it will show up in a persons News Feed.
  4. Post Type; finally, Facebook tracks the type of content a person interacts with and as a result shows more of this type of content to them in their News Feed. So, if a person interacts more with video – they’ll be shown more video stories in their News Feed and so on.

How to optimise your business posts to satisfy the new Facebook News Feed features

  1. Content, my friend, remains king! However, in the case of Facebook – visual content has become king.
    If you want to engage with your fans and their friends on Facebook you need to be creating interesting and valuable content that is visually driven in order to gain visibility in the News Feed.
  2. Focus on your customers and building likes, comments and shares with them. As stories can now be filtered it is highly likely that your stories will not be seen by friends of friends. So, you need to engage with your customers so that they choose to share your content – then it will be seen in the ‘friends only’ News Feed which will increase your exposure and the reach of your content.
  3. Another tip that HubSpot recently provided was to encourage your fans to use the ‘check-in’ feature on Facebook. This is really only going to work for B2C company’s that have a physical outlet (in my opinion). The idea is that you incentivise your customers to ‘check-in’ on Facebook when they are on your premises. Where they are currently located then appears on their News Feed and provides another opportunity to get your business in front of a wider catchment on Facebook.

Understanding how News Feed works and utilising the tips above will certainly assist a business in better using Facebook for business, however it is worth bearing in mind that this is not an exact science! Experiment with different techniques and content, measure the results and in that way you will discover what will work best for your business.

References:
Facebook (6/8/13): News Feed FYI: A Window Into News Feed
Hubspot (August 2013) Free Download: Crash Course on the Facebook News Feed – NB: this is an awesome crash course / go-to-guide to check out for more information on this topic.