Facebook Updates: Two Big Themes

Facebook updates

Ah, Facebook. The good-old social media standby network…or is it?

If you’ve used the app at all this year you’ve likely noticed some changes taking place. It’s actually been a bit of a whirlwind trying to keep up with all of the news releases and articles about Facebook. To help condense the updates and determine what they all point to, let’s take a look at an overview of what we’ve seen in recent months.

Engagement Baiting Crackdown
Technically, Facebook started cracking down on engagement baiting at the end of 2017, but this seemed to be the kick-off to a laundry list of platform updates.

‘Fixing’ Facebook
In early January, Facebook released its plan to start fixing Facebook. Among other things, the news release from the social media company announced its intentions to de-prioritize newsfeed reach for business pages and instead increase the amount of posts users see from people and groups.

Prioritizing Local News
A little later, Facebook announced its intention to show users more content from local news sources to create trust and further its attempt to make the app ‘healthier’ for its users.

Organic Reach Stats 
Jon Loomer reported on some analytics changes that Facebook made which seemed to show a big (…ger?) drop in organic reach. Interestingly enough, the update was to the stats about reach instead of any algorithm changes that would affect a page’s newsfeed placement.

No More Explore Feed
Last fall, Facebook announced it was testing a separate feed for pages, much to the panic of many businesses. As of March 1, Facebook is discontinuing the Explore feed.

Believe it or not, this list is an incredibly condensed version of the myriad of updates Facebook has been rolling out. Next up will be the addition of some paid promotion options with groups, according to Mari Smith.

When we take a look at the overarching themes of these changes, a couple of things stand out. First, Facebook is placing emphasis on connecting with other users instead of businesses. Second, Facebook is emphasizing groups in a huge way. This is something that’s immediately obvious when you pull up your personal newsfeed, as the majority of content is now coming from groups instead of pages or individual users.

While Facebook is still going strong, I would encourage businesses and nonprofits to experiment with two things. First, consider creating a group and linking it to your organization’s page. We won’t know if this emphasis on groups is long-term or not until Facebook tells us, but if it’s relevant to your organization it’s a good idea to try it out now while you’ll still receive a lift in organic reach.

Secondly, be sure to experiment with other social media sites if you haven’t done so already. Even without these big changes it’s a good idea to diversify and keep a pulse on what your target market is doing. If you’re going after a younger demographic for instance, then Facebook is not going to be your best option anyway. Even if you’re targeting baby boomers, it’s good to know what other social media sites that demographic is using.

What other updates have you read about or observed within Facebook? Have they made you reconsider your use of the platform or are you still holding steady?

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