Facebook: Family and Friends Are Coming First Again

What does the change in the Facebook algorithm mean for YOUR feed?

“A great amount of my traffic comes from Facebook… having Facebook taken away as a marketing platform is going to change things a lot for us.” Elcio Zanatta, owner of Aubergine and Company, is not alone in his concerns.  On January 30, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook announced that in an effort to “make sure time spent on Facebook is time well spent”, less public content will be advertised on Facebook. This means, in order to have its content seen, businesses need to spark a conversation that will get the friends and family of its target audience talking.

Facebook returns to its roots

 According to CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, “Facebook was built to help people stay connected and become closer to the people that matter.” Friends and family have always been who built and who are at the core of the Facebook experience. With the increase in social media marketing and the role of influencers in our day, Facebook has become a hub for publishers and brands to promote themselves. However, this takes away from the purpose Facebook was created. Facebook consumers reacted, and Zuckerberg listened. He said, “Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

Time well spent?

 A driving factor for this movement was Zuckerberg’s desire to have time on Facebook be “time well spent.” Time well spent leads to the development and fostering of good, healthy relationships. In an effort to be transparent in its motives, Facebook Newsroom published an article discussing the potential impact social media and technology has on its users: “In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward.” Zuckerberg feels that the solution to this issue is again, relationships. When relationships are strengthened, research shows that well-being and happiness increases (PsycNET). A constant stream of public content (advertisements, sponsored posts, videos) crowds an individual’s News Feed, making it nearly impossible to focus on posts from friends and family. The change “means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses”, Adam Mosseri, head of the News Feed team, said on Facebook’s blog.

Facebook wants to foster relationships: the foundation of well-being Getty Images, https://www.gettyimages.com/license/881205324

Facebook wants to foster relationships: the foundation of well-being
Getty Images, https://www.gettyimages.com/license/881205324

Mark Zuckerberg is fully aware of the potential implications of the new Facebook model. In fact, he is expecting user’s time on Facebook to significantly decrease with the algorithm changes. But, if these changes ensure that time on Facebook is being well spent and is centered on fostering relationships and well-being, he is willing to make the sacrifice.

Do users mind?

To many, the lack of advertisements and public content will have little effect on them. Kate Pingree of Salt Lake City, Utah said, “this actually doesn’t affect me much…I don’t really use Facebook for business stuff. My purpose for Facebook is for staying in contact with people I wouldn’t talk to normally and for learning about different invites that I wouldn’t learn about otherwise.” Maren Thueson of Bountiful, Utah said, “the ads are annoying, so I never even click on them!”

However, for the avid follower of influencers and Facebook-based businesses, this may cause a drastic change in their daily scroll.

Bad for business?

 For businesses, the shift in algorithm means putting in more effort. Many businesses rely heavily on Facebook for their traffic. But, not all hope is lost. Businesses are going to have to work harder to gain their customer’s attention. The goal of Mark Zuckerberg’s changes is to make all interactions “meaningful.” From a business perspective, meaningful interactions mean lots of comments from friends and family to spark conversation. Everything will go back to the core. If friends and family are commenting on content, it will appear more often in the feed. Simple enough, right?  As a brand, being strategic in your content production will be more crucial than ever. But, businesses need to be wary of asking followers to comment on content in order to gain exposure.

Produce content that will generate organic conversation among the friends and family of your target audience. The key is to be a brand that fits in the realm of your target market.

As stated above, many individuals intentionally avoid Facebook due to the clutter caused by public content. But, many also rely on Facebook for news, the latest viral video, or content from their favorite brands and companies. Everything is changing, and Facebook is going back to its roots.

So, if you’ve been on a Facebook fast, there is no better time than now to come back to the world of Facebook; especially if you’re looking to make your time on social media time that is well spent. Connecting with friends and family again will leave you feeling better than you felt before.

Written by Madison Taylor

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