15 Mar What is Facebook Zero and how will it affect you?
You may or may not know but Facebook has recently announced changes to their newsfeed. If you manage a Facebook business page, these changes are going to affect you and not for the better.
Let me take a step back – Facebook Zero is the name given to the new approach Facebook is taking with their newsfeed. Basically they want to prioritise person-to-person connections, showing people more content from their friends. The idea is that this is the content they’re most interested in seeing so they should see more of it (which makes sense).
Mark Zuckerberg, said this about the planned updates to the news feed:
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
The feedback has been there was too much “public” content clogging up people’s feeds and users weren’t particularly interested in this. In a nutshell, Zuckerberg wants people to feel good when using Facebook.
So if you are running your own fitness business and have a business page, this announcement is not going to make your day. These changes mean there will be more personal content and less space for branded posts.
How will these changes affect you with marketing on Facebook?
As Facebook begins to prioritise content that facilitates more meaningful people-to-people connections and interactions, you can expect the organic reach of your Facebook business pages to drop (maybe dramatically).
Specifically, users will see more posts from friends in their news feed and less content from business pages they follow.
While Facebook still values page content as an important part of their platform’s ecosystem, the news feed will shift the focus from ranking content that’s directly consumed from pages (which will shrink in reach) to content that is shared and talked about among friends (which will grow).
So what posts will be seen more in newsfeeds?
Posts that spark and inspire conversations and meaningful interactions among people will be prioritised over public content in the news feed after this update (to align with Facebook’s existing news feed values).
Some examples include:
- More content from friends and family
- Posts from friends and family that seek advice or recommendations
- News articles or videos that prompt people to discuss and interact
It is that last point which is critical from a business point of view – content that gets engagement and discussion will take priority compared to just pushing a sales message (which you shouldn’t be doing too much of anyway).
So what are some ways to maintain momentum, reach, and engagement on Facebook despite Facebook Zero?
Content From Groups
Facebook groups tend to inspire more meaningful conversations. These communities on Facebook are becoming “increasingly active and vibrant,” so you can expect content and discussions posted to Facebook groups to receive more distribution in the news feed following these changes. So consider starting a VIP group or a private Facebook group.
Content That Generates Comments
Comments are more valuable than Likes. Content that inspires comments, which actually takes time and thought to type out, will be a positive ranking signal for Facebook’s algorithm which will lead to increased distribution of the content.
Now a word of warning – while engaging posts will take priority, be wary of falling into the “engagement bait” trap. Facebook considers posts asking followers to “LIKE” or “SHARE with 10 friends” the same as spam as it is unlikely to foster genuine engagement. Focus instead on developing quality content that resonates with your audience and generates authentic engagement rather than baiting them with cheap gimmicks.
Content That Receives Looooonnngggg Comments
Facebook will be giving priority to long comments rather than short comments. Facebook figures that if someone takes the time to actually write a long and thoughtful perspective on something then it is more likely others will want to see it too. Therefore these posts will be displayed to more people compared to a post where someone just wrote a few words.
“See Me First!”
You can encourage your fans to use the “See First” in their News Feed preferences to make sure they always see posts from your pages.
Get your followers to update their preferences in Facebook, select “Prioritise who to see first” and then select your page. That way your fans will still see your content at the top of their News Feed.
Educate While Entertaining
Fitness businesses will need to do more story-telling with their videos and content. Think of maybe having regular episodes like a TV series. People love this and this could drive interaction and greater exposure for your content.
Give value to your users and build trust – show posts that can help educate or entertain them.
Posts featuring a call-to-action that compels your audience to comment and interact with each other will be far more valuable than posts driving action to external sites.
Invest in Live Video
Live video has proven to be more relevant and engaging to viewers than organic, evergreen videos. According to Facebook, people spend three times more watching Facebook live video compared to pre-recorded videos. Additionally, live videos average six more times as many interactions as regular videos. As the news feed evolves, look for opportunities to build relationships through live video content.
Learn How to Advertise on Facebook
While the majority of Facebook Zero changes will affect content posted organically to the news feed, it’s unclear how these updates will affect paid content. However, as less public content appears in the news feed, we can expect to see more businesses turning to advertising to drive traffic to their websites.
Don’t put your eggs all in one basket
Facebook isn’t the only game in town. Look at other platforms your audiences use such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram. Start to build your profile on different channels to increase exposure for your business.
Look around you and talk to others
Make sure you examine your posts to see which ones are getting the most engagement. Use similar posts that get greater reactions and less of ones where you don’t get any response.
Check out your competitors, look at their News Feeds and see what is resonating best with their fans. This could give you some ideas for your own page.
It’s OK if you don’t have all the answers – talk to others, get some advice and take steps now to encourage meaningful interactions and engagement with your fans and followers so you are prepared for any changes in the future.