Facebook But Not As You Know It

by Fraser Clarke

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Social Media Giant Trials New Feature Which Could See Non-Promoted Posts Shoved Out Of News Feed – A Digital PR Agency’s Take

Digital PR agency discuss the potential changes to the Facebook feedWhat does Facebook mean to you?

For many of us, it provides the perfect way of keeping up-to-date with the latest news, snooping on what old classmates are up to and a steady stream of memes to be tagged in.

Since it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, Facebook has undergone many a revamp, so much so that its style today is completely unrecognisable to its first ever homepage, when it was launched as ‘The Facebook’ all those years ago.

And now it could be set to undergo one of its most dramatic changes ever, with news that non-promoted posts may be about to be shunted out of the news feed.

But don’t worry too much, while the posts from your friends and family will still appear on the news feed, those that appear from companies trying to sell their product or promote their services, may disappear.

This could prove a deadly blow for businesses, which rely on the social networking giant to promote their product or service to a wider audience on the Facebook news feed.

So what’s happened?

Facebook is now trialling a major alteration to its existing interface that would mean all non-promoted posts will stop appearing on its news feed.

Posts from people you know will still show up, however posts from those who rely on the platform to reach their audience will be alarmed at the prospect.

The new system is already being trialled in six counties and means that all non-promoted posts shift across into a separate feed, which is easy for users to ignore.

Three of the countries involved in the trial are Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka, where users are free to focus only on content from their friends, as well as adverts.

What does this mean?

So far, the change has resulted in a dramatic drop in users’ engagement with Facebook pages.

Some of the pages have reported up to an 80% fall. There are fears that if Facebook implements the change worldwide, it would be the final nail in the coffin for many small-scale businesses and publishers.

However, larger organisations may also be nervous as many enjoy referrals to their website and promotions via Facebook.

In Slovakia, 60 of the largest Facebook pages saw nearly three-quarters of their Facebook reach disappear overnight following the start of the trial.

Across the board, organic reach was down for major pages across the country

What happens next?

The process is still very much in its infancy and indeed, not out of the trial stage yet.

However, if the bigwigs at Facebook are impressed with the results, it does mean businesses of all sizes may need to plan as to how they’ll replace the reach they lost out on.

Facebook pages provide a vital way for businesses to interact with their customers and users, while also facilitating an immediate response to both positive and negative feedback.

A lack of engagement with users could provide a problem for those businesses who simply don’t have the budget to decide to use paid-for posts to get around the potential Facebook changes.

These business could choose to promote and drive traffic towards their website more as a contingency plan ahead of any changes and work on having an instant response to queries on their website.

It remains to be seen whether the social networking site will decide to go ahead with the plans but it is sure to be the talk of social media and digital executives at businesses around the globe over the coming weeks.

The key to all of this is to make sure your business isn’t reliant on one platform to engage with its customers.

Those business which incorporate 360 degree PR – i.e. those who integrate their message and highlight their products through a variety of platforms such as print, video, social media and websites – won’t have their fingers burnt as badly should Facebook decide to implement the changes across the board.

Having the advice of a high-quality, Digital PR Agency such as Holyrood PR can help ensure your business is prepared for every eventuality in the ever changing media landscape.

Are you looking for a Digital PR agency in Scotland?

If so, get in touch – while we could run a digital campaign for you we could also ensure your reach is widespread, in news, online, video and on social media.

If you’re interested in learning more, simply give us a call on 0131 561 2244 or use the number below:

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Young PR professional Fraser Clarke, who works with public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh, Scotland

Fraser Clarke

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