If a week’s a long time in politics, it’s a really long time at Facebook HQ. 2018 might only be 24 days old at the time of writing, but that hasn’t stopped Mark Zuckerberg throwing a lot of updates in our direction.
In fact, these updates are coming out so quickly that it would be easy to fall behind. So we’ve grouped together as many of them as we could find below – mainly for our own sanity, but hopefully they’ll be of use to you too.
The big one
Let’s start with the one you’ve probably heard the most about. After all, if you’re a page manager, it’s the one that affects you the most.
We’re talking, of course, about the 11 January announcement of changes to Facebook’s news feed. Changes that will see the organic reach of pages and publisher drop dramatically.
To be honest, there’s every chance it will kill that reach for some pages.
Now, this has been covered already on The Native in an excellent piece by our friend Matt Horne, which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.
The reason behind this change is Facebook’s desire for the site to be more about ‘meaningful connections’ – that means prioritising posts from people rather than pages. So, chances are you’ll son be more likely to see crappy holiday photos from someone you don’t really like but don’t have the heart to unfriend, rather than a page where you’ve actively opted in to receive their content.
Still, there is some hope for pages. This news feed update should reward content from pages that prompts conversations on Facebook – comments, shares etc. Facebook made a not-so-subtle reference to Live videos, which apparently prompt loads more conversation than other sorts of content.
So, pages need to create content that gets a reaction. But…
Don’t ask for engagement
Let’s hop back to the end of 2017 for a moment and Facebook’s clampdown on engagement baiting posts. You know the sort of thing; ‘tag a mate who needs to see this’, ‘share this with someone who has some similarities with this thing’, ‘like this post to make our social media manager happy’ etc.
In Facebook’s eyes, that stuff is bad.
So, you need to post content that gets a reaction – just don’t ask for a reaction.
Ok so far? Good.
Enter the masses
Just over a week on from the first big news feed update, Facebook popped up again with another.
And, for the second time in a few days, page managers were face-palming. Why? Because, you see, Facebook wants to ensure time on its platform is ‘time well spent’ by prioritising content from pages deemed as trustworthy and informative.
That’s not so bad, you might think.
Ah, but how are they deciding this? They’re letting the masses decide.
Good. Because doing that always goes well.
Start preparing your next sacrifice to the news feed God as soon as you can.
Is that the lot?
Well, it sort of is in terms of big, news feed changes. But it’s not everything that Facebook has been up to in 2018, oh no.
You can expect to see a lists features coming soon.
Good. I mean, 2012 was a great year after all – let’s rekindle that spirit with a feature of its time.
It will certainly be interesting to see Facebook tear itself in two over this, as it gives lists the usual ‘new feature’ boost in the algorithm while also (presumably) punishing them for being terrible content. Is this the Facebook equivalent of Googling Google?
Also, Facebook Pages are waking up to a new ‘appointments’ tab, with very little explanation as to what they actually do.
Also, Facebook is telling everyone how long ago you were last active on Messenger.
And they’ve decided to take on YouTube and Twitch and venture into the world of game streaming.
Oh, and last of all, Facebook also went public and said that social media isn’t always healthy for democracy.
Lol, good one Zuck.
Annnnd, they’ve invented a new unit of time.
So, lots going on – let’s it face it, they’ve probably rolled out something else in the time it’s taken you to read this article.
What should I do?
Well, there’s plenty of food for thought. Top priority should be putting a focus on great, engaging content that your audiences will want to see. Algorithms are, in theory, there to reward and surface the best stuff, so make your stuff the best.
You should also secure yourself some budget if Facebook is a key channel for you and your brand, because if you’re purely relying on organic then you’re likely to struggle.
As for the new features…well, the best thing you can do is play with them as soon as you get access to them, and see if they will be of any use to you.
If you want a bit more reading on all things Facebook in 2018, we can help. There’s a great piece on the LSE blog, Joe Edelman’s post on Medium is excellent and Scott Kleinberg’s post, also on Medium, is also absolutely worth your time. Oh, and Jon Loomer’s piece about how marketers are already messing up since these announcements is pretty fun too.