The latest announcement by Facebook on the 15th November highlighted their new changes to the news feed (yes more!).

I’ve spent the last couple of days in a total daze, not from Facebook’s recent announcement but after having my Gall Bladder removed last week I have been on some pretty strong pain killers! It has given me plenty of time to think about their latest changes.

To sum it up they are going to be penalising any posts that are seen as “promotional posts”. By penalising I mean they will lack organic reach – therefore not be shown to many people.

This does not mean paid ads – these are still fine and Facebook are happy to show your ads if you pay for them.

One of the biggest remarks I get is “Why don’t Facebook just show everyone all the posts of pages they have liked” now this sounds good in theory and may have worked for a while but then Facebook grew bigger and bigger.

Let’s just look at the vast size of Facebook for a minute. 1.35 Billion monthly active users. The ‘typical’ Facebook user has an average of 300 friends and likes around 70 pages. Imagine each friend and business posts just once per day (unlikely) that’s still 370 stories in that person’s newsfeed. Now unless they are spending their whole day on Facebook it’s unlikely that they would see all those 370 stories and chances are their friends and brands are posting or creating stories on Facebook more than once per day.

Facebook says a typical user could be shown up to 1,500 stories each day in their newsfeed. Facebook had to create some kind of algorithm to ensure users were seeing what they wanted to see in their newsfeed and not becoming bored and going elsewhere.

I think it’s time we stop hating on Facebook for changing their algorithms. Their main aim is to keep people engaged with the Social Platform, keep it relevant and engaging for them so we still have these 1.35 billion people to market to. The day Facebook stops amending their algorithms is the day they no longer care – and that’s when we’re all in trouble.

If Facebook allowed any old crappy post to be shown in the newsfeed people would soon get fed up and start finding elsewhere to spend their time online.

In order to keep the stories relevant to users they constantly engage them into surveys and ask about what they like to see in their newsfeed and what they don’t.  This most recent survey showed “People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

“According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  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

Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Examples of these types of Page posts:
Facebook Example

It would have been fine for them to promote the TV show as it is relevant to the audience as they like their page but I am assuming it is the blatant push for people to “also buy our Season 1 DVD set” that has this post marked as too promotional.

Facebook Example Karyn with a Y

This would still be a perfectly fine ad but no longer considered OK as a promotional post. I think if this is the type of promotion you want to use Facebook for then a targeted ad will have better results for you anyway.

So these are the kinds of posts Facebook is now cracking down on. I don’t see it as a bad thing. Facebook 12 months ago became a ‘pay to play’ platform for those serious about increasing sales within Facebook. For those who are investing it is still the cheapest, most targeted advertising platform out there and one I will continue to recommend to all my clients. If nothing else this new change will reduce the noise for paid ads and make them even more successful.

If you make your post more relevant to your audience it really shouldn’t have a heavy sales pitch anyway. Think about yourself as talking with a friend, you wouldn’t ask them to buy something in every conversation would you? If it is your intention to sell to your audience through Facebook think of organic posts as the way to build up the relationship and promotional paid ads as the way to ask for the sale.

So put down your pitchforks, put out your fire and start working on a content strategy that sees you posting content your fans want to see. Start being conversational, informative, entertaining and use Facebook for what it was intended – To help you grow communities and strengthen relationships with customers, and the wider community (potential customers).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recent changes and how you think Facebook should sort newsfeed posts – Hit me up in the comments.