Ok, so Facebook has announced changes to how it displays content in the feed and people are freaking out. And not in a good way.
Here’s what is happening:
Posts from family and Friends be prioritized
According to VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri, Facebook will prioritize “posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to. Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”
Most of this is nothing new. Facebook has been prioritizing posts that get more engagement for some time now. One interesting thing to note is that just last month, they announced that they will demote so-called “engagement-bait” posts; ones that asked people to like, react, or share. Yes, some of these kinds of posts are the work of bad actors, but many brands and media outlets use similar tactics to encourage genuine engagement. It will be interesting to see how this is handled.
It is important to note that users can still choose what they want to “see first” in their feed by changing the Facebook settings.
Video posts will be deprioritized
Remember just recently when Facebook encouraged everyone to post video content because it would be ranked higher? Well, video is now being seen as a “passive experience” and won’t carry as much weight as it used to.
Live video will still be seen as highly engaging content and will be prioritized, though.
The big picture
Yes, this is a change but many of these things have already been happening for some time. Facebook has been a pay-to-play environment for Pages for years at this point.
What this does tell us is that we, arts organizations, need to do a better job of creating real engagement among patrons and potential patrons. We need to be posting highly shareable content; content that is genuinely interesting with which people want to engage.
This also brings up the need for us to make a concerted effort to integrate influencer marketing and UGC into our communications activities. (If you get my weekly arts marketing email, you know that I’ve been a proponent of both of these things for some time.)
There are a variety of way your organization can re-focus its Facebook approach to post more engaging content. (Hint: these are things we should be doing anyway.)
- Work with influencers in your area to increase the amount of content they post about your organization.
- Invite them to interactive experiences such as Tweet Seats.
- Provide them a behind-the-scenes experience (with the understanding that they will post about it on social).
- Encourage attendees at your events to post on social media before, during, or after the event.
- Perhaps offer a discount on tickets to future events if they post using your hashtag.
- Set up a photo booth with fun props where people want to participate.
- Create a lobby scavenger hunt with a social media element.
- Create more interesting content leading up to your events.
- Create highly shareable, fun videos or images (this series from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is still one of my faves)
- Present behind-the-scenes content through the eyes of the performers or crew
- Publish and share listicles or quizzes related to either the show or the experience.
- Arrange for a cast or crew member to take over your organization’s Facebook or Instagram account for a day.
I’m sure that you are already thinking of things you can implement at your organization. Now that you’re inspired, channel your inner Tom Haverford and start compiling all of your great ideas.
Let’s get to work.
Here is the full statement from Mosseri:
Is it just me, or does this remind you a little too much of the Gryzzlbox episode of Parks and Recreation? (Particularly at 10:36.)