“The only thing that remains constant is change.” ~Heraclitus
Facebook’s new Explore Feed is a brilliant example of this quote, though likely not what ancient philosopher Heraclitus had in mind. Over a year ago, at WordCamp NOLA, our company gave a presentation titled “Using Social Media to Grow Your Business” and we warned the bloggers and brands in attendance not to put all their eggs in the Facebook basket. In fact, here is the slide:
The Explore Feed update is a prime example of why we recommend utilizing multiple social media platforms.
Over the last few years, publishers have seen a dramatic decline in organic reach. The way brands have adapted by posting more content, boosting posts and running ads has worked, but this upcoming change is a curveball. The same way of running your Facebook page likely will not work.
What we know and what we don’t know about Facebook latest update:
The Explore Feed is being tested in select countries.
The update will move all content produced by Pages into a completely separate newsfeed.
Only paid updates from Pages will show up in the main newsfeed.
Explore Feed is rolling out globally.
The Explore Feed will contribute to a further decline in organic reach.
Consumers who utilize the feed will discover brands (including yours!) they haven’t interacted with or liked previously.
We don’t know…
If or how often Facebook users will utilize the explore feed.
How Facebook‘s algorithm will work in the explore feed.
How paid ads will be distributed in the main newsfeed.
The extent of the impact this will have on small businesses, but we presume it to be significant.
If you only have Facebook, now is certainly the time to look into your second favorite or second best platform and spend some time there.
We spent the morning exploring the Explore Feed.
One of the first things we noticed is pages we interact with most were at the top, to a fault. Users could easily get annoyed with seeing so many updates from the same brand. However, we saw a couple pages we hadn’t seen in years. Hopefully, this new newsfeed will strike more of a balance between pages you interact with and those you either forgot about or do not yet like.
How many people will click the Explore button?
Will the Explore Feed become more prevalent on the app? Currently, it is not easy to find.
Will consumers spend a significant amount of time on this feed?
How can brands and social media managers continue to get eyes on their content through Facebook?
Will updates/articles shared by friends be given a different place in the main newsfeed algorithm?
Is this going to happen to Instagram next? They have an explore feed, but I see pages as I’m scrolling. Will that change? Will Instagram “Business Profiles” be removed from the main feed?
As confusing and frustrating as this may seem, we can’t get mad.
Yes, it may be challenging for small businesses and for social media managers, but at the end of the day, Facebook is trying to serve its customers first. We cannot be angry at a company for trying to serve the customers. We want to serve our clients. The goal is still the same- provide valuable content to your target audience. How we achieve that goal may look different in the coming months, but we are prepared for that. We understand the frustration brands may feel if they’ve invested time and money into their Facebook pages only to be pushed into a different newsfeed altogether. Facebook, while becoming more user friendly, should be mindful that the brands who “pay to play” may take their ball and go home…or invest in YouTube/Pinterest or another social platform.
What small businesses and bloggers can do right now:
We’ll continue to give the advice we’ve given over the years: don’t put all your eggs in one social media basket. The Explore Feed is the kind of left turn that quality digital marketers have been expecting and preparing for. It is all the more reason you should consider social media coaching or social media manager. Your current Facebook marketing plan will no longer work once the rollout is fully implemented.
Spend your your time and energy where it belongs: on your craft. Social media managers all over, not just here at Papillon Social Media, have been buzzing about this for a few days and will be doing the research it takes to stay ahead of this and continue to provide their clients with a valuable service… just like Facebook is doing now.