Facebook’s News Feed update affects local Business Pages

Many local businesses use Facebook Pages to talk to customers and bring them into the store, or onto the website if selling online. Making sure the stories posted are read by plenty of people (the ‘reach’ of a story) is vital if the Facebook Page is to be used in a business-positive way.

Stories end up in people’s News Feeds and their positioning is changing. Business Pages that don’t examine how they produce content are likely to suffer from fewer people seeing stories, with a knock-on effect of reducing their visibility, and potentially losing out on customer sales.

What changes are Facebook making to the News Feed?

Facebook uses an algorithm to rank stories. The metrics which determine whether a story appears high in the News Feed are altering to include:

  • The likelihood a person will like the story.
  • The likelihood a person will comment on a story.
  • The likelihood a person will click a link.
  • The likelihood a person will share the story with their friends.

These metrics are easy to measure (you just count the numbers) however with the latest update the social network’s algorithm now includes:

  • The likelihood a person wants to see a story at the top of their News Feed.

To work out this last ranking factor Facebook asks more than 1,000 users who are part of a ‘Feed Quality Panel’ to rate their News Feed experience every day. Additionally they ask 10,000 + users in different countries whether the stories they see at the top of their News Feed are the ones they want to read.

“We ask people to rate each story from one to five stars in response to the question “how much did you want to see this story in your News Feed?” From this research using a representative sample of people, we are able to better understand which stories people would be interested in seeing near the top of their News Feed even if they choose not to click, like or comment on them — and use this information to make ranking changes.”

Source — Facebook Newsroom

What impact does Facebook’s News Feed changes have on business pages?

Business Page owners need to put an even greater emphasis on the quality of their news stories rather than quantity. Videos of dancing cats published every half-hour are always popular for ‘Likes’ but might rank low on a person’s “Do I want to see this story right now?” scale and so will find themselves being pushed down the News Feed over time.

Always ask the question:

  • “Do my customers want to see this?”
  • “Is this something new, or is it something people will already have seen?”
  • “Will this news story reflect well on my business?”

If the answer to all three questions is yes then it’s a story worth publishing.

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