Editors' Note: This blog has been updated with comments from Radial.
You've likely heard by now that Facebook is changing its algorithm related to what people see in their news feeds, placing a greater importance on posts from family and friends or posts that family and friends interact with. For the most part, this change could affect posts from media more than it affects your health club's posts, but the likelihood is that it will affect you to a certain extent with some people speculating that posts from businesses may go into a completely different feed at some point.
(For a history of Facebook news feed changes, check out this article.)
Leslie Nolen of business strategy company Radial shared this with me about the changes:
"Any health club or fitness business advertising on Facebook should expect reduced reach and higher cost/conversion as a result of Facebook’s NewsFeed changes. Time-spent-on-Facebook metrics have been declining in recent years. Facebook believes that refocusing on 'friends and family' content can help reverse that trend. That means more competition for fewer ad spots.
"You can also expect Facebook to prioritize those ads that demonstrate meaningful engagement. It’s more important than ever to demand proof that your Facebook ads actually engage your target audience – especially shares, comments and video views. Likes are the lowest common denominator. They don’t mean much.
"These changes also raise the bar for posts on your business page. These need to generate even more comments, shares and video views because they’re shouldering more of the marketing burden for you. No comments, shares, views on most of your posts? Your Facebook presence is essentially invisible – and so is your business."
This article from the WordStream blog shares how the change will affect brands of all types and, more importantly, offers this advice:
"Now, people who actively want to see your page’s content front and center can totally still do so by adjusting their “See First in News Feed” settings. In order to convince your followers to actively choose to see the content you’re producing, though, you’ll need to step your game up.
"The limited spaces in the News Feed now afforded to businesses will be given to those whose content sparks the same meaningful engagement that inspired this change in the first place. Creating live video or events or recurring series of how-to posts or news that addresses meaningful issues—anything that might lead to discussion and provide actual value to your prospects and customers—is the only surefire way to maintain some semblance of organic reach (which was already dwindling in favor of content boosting and ads anyway)."
I'm not a social media expert, but I agree with the above suggestion. It will become even more important to post content of value to your members as well as content that will get them to like and comment on the post. If you already feel that your content is of tremendous value, it can't hurt to ask your members to select you as a "See First" option in their news feed. Or you could start budgeting some money for boosting posts on Facebook.
Because Club Industry is considered a news site, our posts may be affected by this change even more so than yours. Not only do I encourage you to make sure that you have liked our Facebook page (and our Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages, for that matter), but I encourage you to create a campaign or contest encouraging your members to like all your social media channels, too. And because I believe that the content that we post is of tremendous value to you as a fitness professional and business owner, I will be so bold as to ask you to select our page as "See First" in your news feed.
If you haven't already read up on these changes, here are some articles I'd recommend:
- Here is Facebook's explanation about how news feeds work.
- Here is the New York Times' explanation of the Facebook changes.
- This article from Business Insider shares reactions of the media to the change.
- This article from The Atlantic takes Facebook to task for the change.
- This article says the end is not nigh for news organizations hoping to show up in the news feed.
- And here is one from our friends at Radial Group on growing your online following.
What are your thoughts about how to ensure this change does not negatively affect your brand?