How to adapt to the changes in Facebook’s News Feed
If you’re feeling a bit anxious about Facebook’s recent changes to its News Feed, you are clearly not alone. Digital leaders of both news publishers and brands are searching for ways to overcome the likely loss of traffic.
The good news is that there are plenty of things that can be done to strengthen your site’s content and position in the market so you’re not as dependent on some other platform. In the long-run, these types of changes are better for your business, so you’ll have Facebook to thank for that.
Bring back the (useful) comments
Many news organizations have dropped commenting in recent years. I think that’s a big mistake. Sure, it can be hard work and a pain, but it’s one of the most valuable and direct ways your users can engage with your content, site, and brand. Isn’t that what you ultimately want?
Often ignored and put on auto-pilot, email newsletters can be a hidden gem. You should curate the content, just like you would your site. Send out different versions customized to your audience. Make it fun and interesting. Surprise people once in a while. Encourage people to sign up for it because it is so amazing.
Up your game on push notifications. They can be improved. Think about the content, timing, and content. But don’t stop there. Review your SMS notifications. Are they bland and automated? Have you customized them with your URL so they are clickable? Finally, look at the possibilities with Web Push Notifications. But keep this in mind — don’t overdo it and annoy people.
Could be useful, and probably a lot of work. But if your business depends on people being engaged with your brand and content, this could be a great opportunity. It’s probably not the-next-big-thing, so don’t get too excited.
Facebook Promoted Posts
Grin and bear it, sometimes you just have to pay a toll.
Post Your Gems
It looks like the News Feed changes might take into account all the posts an organization creates. That means if your posts as a whole get very little engagement, it’s more likely all your posts will be hidden. In other words, post only the stuff that will get engagement.
Your News Staff on Facebook
If you have people who operate a “professional” page on Facebook for your company, work with them to optimize what they post, when they post, how they engage with the community.
Readers Sharing for you on Facebook
Make sure all those sharing and liking icons are visible (top, bottom, side) and free of clutter. Not only desktop, but also mobile web and apps. This word-of-mouth sharing can have fantastic results.
Review the Elements that get Shared on Facebook
What can you do to improve the look and content of the headline, abstract, and graphics that get shared to Facebook by a reader? Maybe you have special photos created that are more viral worthy? How about the ability to share content within an article, such as photos, videos, pull-quotes?
Engage Authentically and Ask for the Share
These are the two of the big findings to come out of the Trusting News project. It’s worth keeping an eye on how the research develops.
Remind Users How to “See You First”
Not a new tool by any means, and I wonder if it ever gets any traction. At any rate, it’s worth trying. Facebook allows users to prioritize content in their feed, and you can point them in the right direction.
Facebook’s Experiment with “Today In”
Hidden in the recent buzz of the News Feed changes is an experiment that Facebook is doing in select markets. A special section of the mobile app is supposed to feature vetted local news outlets customized to the users location. You can get more info on it from the article in Recode.
Look to Influencer Marketing
Worth investigating, but I’d tread very carefully.There’s a decent article at Digiday on the topic. Not sure how many news orgs would be willing to pay for this — seems like an ethics problems. But for brands, seems to be a viable option.
Collaboration with Other Media
You might find partnerships in the public or private sectors where it might make sense to cross-publish content. The idea is to increase your visibility to audiences, that would not normally see your content.
MORE RESOURCES FOR YOU
A great article from Ned Berke that expands on many of the items I listed above.
The Trusting News project is actively experimenting with social sharing
What motivates these changes for Facebook? Read an in-depth analysis of this from Ben Thompson of Stratechery.
Wired’s interview with Adam Mosseri, the VP in charge of News Feed at Facebook.