Changes Coming to Facebook News Feeds

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on January 6, 2015

in Facebook

Sondem Dollarphotoclub_71560770Facebook announced that beginning January 15, 2015, it will be rolling out new algorithms that will reduce promotional (organic not paid) Page posts in our News Feeds.

Facebook reports:

As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.

According to Facebook, promotional posts are:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

This will not impact most ministries that have Facebook Pages because they normally do not post promotions like this. However, this does remind us that Facebook algorithms determine which organic posts get delivered to the News Feeds of our followers. Organic posts are the free posts we make as opposed to those we pay to promote. We want our posts to get to as many of our followers as possible. If you have noticed a decline in the number of viewers your Page posts are being delivered to, you may want to re-think the kinds of posts you are making. According to Facebook, on average, most Page posts are seen by 16% of followers. The fewer your followers, the more likely your percentage is higher, but not necessarily what you want it to be. We can raise the percentage if we understand how the Facebook algorithms rank posts.

Facebook algorithms give higher priority to

  • content that engages followers
  • posts that use fresh images
  • video posts

Content that engages our followers is content that gets likes, evokes comments, and is shared. Posts that have a story element, provide inspiration or encouragement, celebrate a person or event do better than those which do not do any of these things. Is that the kind of content you are posting? If it is, Facebook will deliver it to more News Feeds. Take a look at your Posts, and see which ones get the most likes, comments, and shares. Create more posts like these.

Facebook gives higher priority to Posts that include a picture or a graphic. This is why our News Feeds have many more Page posts with pictures than not. We have to work harder to post images with our text, because that is what Facebook users like to see in their News Feeds. Take and share photos of events you want to tell your followers about. Create picture quotes. Use graphics to re-enforce your message. More people will see these posts than simply text posts.

Facebook also values videos and shares them more widely, especially if the videos are uploaded directly to Facebook as opposed to linking to other video platforms. Facebook is making changes to how it presents videos uploaded directly to its platform to encourage more users to do it that way. The image is larger in the News Feed than the thumbnail that accompanies a link and Facebook delivers it to more people.

Is it more work now to get our message out using Facebook Pages? Yes. But that is a good thing. Facebook insists that it is about relationships. That’s what ministry is about also. Sometimes those of us who are in ministry have so much information that we want to “get out,” we forget to deliver it in a relationship building way. We’re telling instead of relating. Facebook is not going to help us much there anymore. We have to think more about our followers and the ways we can make the presentation of the information more relational, more attractive, and more engaging if we want Facebook to deliver it.

You may ask if it is worth the effort. I say it is. We can reach many more people in a very short time with a Facebook post for free—than we can with anything else. And if we create a really good post our followers will be sharing it with their followers as well—people we may never reach otherwise.

What do you think?