ActionSprout will be monitoring how the changes to the Newsfeed are impacting nonprofits and NGOs around the world and reporting back frequently, but here are our initial thoughts.
On January 11th 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced some changes to Facebook that are designed to alter what people see in their Facebook News Feed.
Does the idea of yet another change to the News Feed make you nervous? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve heard from lots of people who are bracing themselves for the worst. But don’t let this change worry you. Let it motivate you!
At ActionSprout we believe this change will help nonprofits and causes which create content people value in a big way.
Over the years we have seen thousands of nonprofits transform their Facebook Pages and blow their goals out of the water with one simple strategy -- a strategy that is about to become even more powerful. It can be summed up in two words: engagement and engagement! That means posting captivating content and deepening your relationship with your community day in and day out. We have crunched the data from five billion data points and this path to success on Facebook just keeps getting clearer every day. This change to the algorithm is just the latest move from the company to put the power to decide what people see on Facebook into the hands of their friends and family.
The changes Zuckerberg announced will pay off in a big way for all of you who’ve been focusing on engaging your audience. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll likely see your reach soar! After all, this change means that there will be *more* room in the news feed for the *kind of engaging content you’re already creating.* In short, your content will be put in front of more people!
The flip side is that we are pretty sure that Facebook Page managers who focus mostly on reach and fan count metrics will see a considerable drop in performance. This drop might be twenty-five percent or maybe fifty percent. We don’t know. But we’re pretty sure that if you’re not focused on engagement, now is the time to make the change.
But the changes don’t stop with the News Feed. The power of Facebook Groups will only become stronger in 2018. Why? Because Facebook’s number one goal is to ensure that people see the content they value most. Nearly every post made in a group is created by a person who cares deeply about the topic of the group. In other words, posts from Groups will get greater prominence in the news feed as these changes roll out.
Having a vibrant Facebook Group full of volunteers, staff, and supporters sharing stories related to a cause will become a more powerful strategy for growing reach and engagement.
Tactically here is what organizations should start doing or do more of to take advantage of these changes:
1. Make sure you are focused on curating engaging stories each day and monitoring which posts are getting the most engageme , and in particular shares. Use ActionSprout to find them. You can never post too much engaging content!
2. Respond to as many comments as you can to encourage the people that are most engaged on your Page to do more in the future. This means responding both to people who comment on your posts and the people who follow up on those comments. Get your staff on board to help you build a larger and more active community.
3. Create a Facebook Group to connect and foster engagement between you and your most involved Facebook community members and supporters.
4. Pay to promote. Yes, we are saying you should spend a bit of money on Facebook ads. But, no, we do not believe you should boost every post. Facebook is not making this change to force you to pay to get your content in front of your supporters. But when used correctly, Facebook ads are an incredibly powerful and inexpensive way to grow your community, reach, and influence. But remember, *only boost posts that have a lot of comments or shares.* Work with the algorithm, don’t fight it by paying to promote posts that have a low engagement rate. That’s what the algorithm is working to suppress. You can’t win that fight!
5. Give people meaningful actions to do from Facebook that they want to share with friends because it reflects positively on them when they do. Things that obviously add value to their friends lives and contribute to making the world a better place.
Ps. In case you missed it, we repeated the word Engage or Engagement seven times in this article. After counting, we realize that really isn’t enough. So, we leave you with this: engage, engage, engage, engage, engage!!!!!