Facebook News Feed Now Gives Text Updates Less Reach

Facebook recently noticed an interesting pattern in how people post text updates. They noticed that people write more text updates when they see more text updates from their friends.

But this isn’t true for pages.

Fans don’t write more text updates if they see more text updates from Pages they’ve liked.

So Facebook has now tweaked the News Feed to decrease the distribution of text updates from Pages.

What does this mean for you?

Here are three ways you can deal with this recent News Feed change:

1. Post like a person, not a marketer

Marketers understand that text updates have historically received more reach in the newsfeed. To drive more traffic to their website, many brands game the system, posting text updates with links, like in this example.

But Facebook users care about sharing, not increasing reach.

When your friend wants to shares a link on Facebook, they simply post it as a link. And they use text updates to share personal news and random thoughts. Updates from pages that don’t follow this logic seem out of place.

If you have something interesting to say, or a question to ask your fans, post a text update.

If you have a link to share, post it as a link.

Also read Three Ways to Instantly Boost Engagement with Text Updates.

2. Repost high-performing photos

Facebook says this News Feed tweak will “increase engagement and distribution for other story types”. And what other story types already do well? Photos.

Here’s how you can use Facebook Insights to repurpose photos (and videos) that have performed well in the past:

Export Facebook Insights

  1. Export the data. Export 6 months of post-level data, with an end date that’s six months ago (as shown above). From this sample size, you should find enough high-quality photos.
  2. Isolate the data. Locate the column for reach (The number of people who saw your Page post) and the column for people who created stories (The number of unique people who created a story about your Page post by interacting with it). Move these columns next to each other.
  3. Limit it to photos. For our purposes, we only want to look at photos to reuse. Remove all of the other update types from this worksheet.
  4. Calculate engagement rate. Engagement rate is a ratio. It’s the number of people who saw your update that liked, commented, or shared it (number of people engaged / reach). You can calculate this by dividing reach by the number of people who created stories. For example, let’s say reach is in column D and the number of people who create stories is in column E. In cell E2, you’d enter “=E2/D2”.
  5. Rank by engagement rate. Next, you want to sort the spreadsheet by engagement rate, Just sending. This will allow you to quickly see your most your best content at the top of the spreadsheet.
  6. Reuse the top 10%. Finally, select the top 10% of your photos and Viola! You now have a collection of photos that are almost guaranteed to perform well on your Facebook Page.

3. Make peace with Facebook’s constant changes

As part of their recent study, Facebook added:

We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types.

The key phase here is “We are learning”. Facebook is always learning!

Yes, it’s frustrating that Facebook is always changing their newsfeed algorithm. But this will always be the case.

All you can do is continue to develop your content strategy, and deepen your understanding of how to best use Facebook for your nonprofit.

What do you think?

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John Haydon