SEO

Today, Facebook has announced changes to its News Feed which may affect the way that you post content on the social network.

You can read Facebook’s full announcement here. It’s worth noting that, though they appear to be taking a relaxed approach, Facebook are typically quite blasé about issues that are actually really important, so it’s worth taking note.

To help you get your head around the changes to the News Feed, we’re put together this simple guide to how it will affect your business:

Facebook News Feed Changes #1: “Link Baiting” = Don’t post updates which explicitly tell people to like, comment or share as a response

Any time you post on Facebook, your audience has the opportunity to ‘Like’, ‘Comment on’ or ‘Share’ what you’ve said. These ‘engagement’ signals are used as part of Facebook’s algorithms and dictate in part how high up the news feed the post will appear. So posts with lots of likes, comments or shares will appear higher.

This means that there are some cases where businesses try to falsely inflate the number of likes, comments or shares they have by encouraging their audience to take those actions in response to the post. For example, Facebook used this post which asks people to click ‘like’ if the rabbit is their favourite animal, ‘comment’ if they like dolphins, ‘share’ if kittens are their thing and ‘ignore’ if their favourite animals are insects:

facebook news feed changes

Image taken from http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/04/news-feed-fyi-cleaning-up-news-feed-spam/

In this particular example, the audience has no choice but to use the ‘like’, ‘comment’ and ‘share’ buttons if they want to get involved in the conversation, and thus the page in question in coercing their audience into a certain behaviour to falsify perceived engagement.

Other examples would be those Facebook posts which say things like ‘Like if you agree’.

What this means for your business is that you need to ensure you are not being seen to be falsely inflating your engagement statistics by pushing your audience into a certain behaviour. So you cannot:

  • Ask people to ‘Like to Enter’ on a Facebook wall post
  • Ask people to ‘Like if you agree’ on a Facebook wall post
  • Ask people to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ as an indication of agreement or disagreement – e.g. ‘We love the sunshine. Share this if you agree’

Of course, any of you who have been along to our social media training events will know that we often encourage you to let people know what you want them to do in response to your post – e.g. let us know what you think in the comments. This is still OK, because it’s not falsely inflating engagement, rather encouraging people to get involved if they want to. In the example above, the only way to state that cats are your favourite animal is to ‘Share’ the page, and this is the difference.

Facebook News Feed Changes #2: “Frequently Circulated Content” = Don’t post the same content again and again

Facebook’s own research has shown that content which is posted again and again loses engagement and value the more it is posted.

The update to the News Feed will keep an eye out for you posting the exact same content multiple times.

This means you should:

  • Post a variety of content to your wall

This doesn’t mean you can’t use the same piece of content multiple times, but that you should vary the post you write to accompany it and ensure you post plenty of different content too.

For example, let’s say we wanted to post this particular article multiple times on Facebook because it’s likely to be of value to our Facebook audience. We could post the article today, with the description “Facebook has made changes to its News Feed. Find out what this means for you here”. We might choose to post it again next week, perhaps on Wednesday, when we might say “Want to know what Facebook’s recent changes to its News Feed mean for you? Read our guide, here”. We’re using the same article, but we’re changing the way we use it and not simply posting the same thing again and again.

Facebook News Feed Changes #3: “Spammy links” = Don’t pretend to post one thing that turns out to be another

This update is about user expectations. If you say that clicking on the link will take people to a great article about Facebook competition rules, and what you actually send them to is a page with adverts for companies that will set up competitions for you, you’re misleading your audience.

To put it simply, be honest about what you’re posting.

Will the Facebook News Feed Updates Affect Your Business?

The chances are, these changes won’t affect you. The majority of businesses using Facebook are doing so honestly and ethically, and these rules simply weed out the poor content that sometimes makes its way onto our News Feeds.

By following these simple guidelines, your Facebook page can continue as usual. If you’d like to talk to us about Facebook marketing, the News Feed or your wider marketing strategy, give us a call on 01159480123 or use our online contact form.

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