New Algorithm Alters What You See in Your Facebook News Feed

Increase Facebook interactionsWell, there you have it. Facebook is too big. On June 29, 2016, Facebook admitted that it is officially too big for the typical consumer to acquire meaningful information. So what do they do? They change the News Feed Algorithm, of course.

As always, people get in a tizzy when they hear about a change. “No one is going to see my content!” they scream. Remember, hardly anyone sees your content anyway. Here’s the low down on the newest changes. In the past, Facebook opened up the News Feed to all the big boys—The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and any other media company that strived to be a player. This meant that you had tons of content in your News Feed that you could care less about. The more of these “players” in your feed, the less you saw the content you really cared about. I don’t know about you, but if I want “news” I would go to my favorite news source, not Facebook.

So what’s new? Facebook is returning to its roots by focusing more on family and friends to populate your News Feed. Facebook will claim that they always have done this, but with the amount of “news” being forced upon us, we usually miss the one or two things we would have actually liked to have seen. In the next few weeks, Facebook will be shifting the focus of the News Feed by placing posts by your friends higher up in your News Feed. Sources that you have liked and shared will also become more prominent in your News Feed.

What does all of this mean to you? Who knows. Seriously though, no one has any real idea of the impact. It all depends on how you use your Facebook Page. If you get comments and shares frequently, it won’t have an impact, or, if anything, you might get a little more visibility. If you post to your Page to hear nothing but crickets, then it will probably stay the same as well.

The key to the change is what YOU will see in YOUR News Feed. You actually have some control. I’m not sure how many of you take advantage of a few keys to help direct your News Feed. You have three options to help you control content — unfollow, hide, and see first. Unfollow is self-explanatory; you’re seeing the content because you followed someone. If you don’t like the content, just unfollow and you won’t see posts again from that source. Hide is the most misunderstood of the choices. Hide sends a signal to Facebook that you don’t like that particular content, but it does not eliminate the source of the content from your News Feed. See First is pretty obvious; you like the source and the content and you’re instructing Facebook you want more of it.

The bottom line — Facebook shouldn’t be your number one source for marketing. Sure, you can get some mileage out of it, and as I tell clients all the time, Facebook is the new Yellow Pages. If you aren’t on it, you don’t exist. Just like in the olden days: if you weren’t in the Yellow Pages, you didn’t exist.

As an author, you should be concentrating on developing your own “News Feed” through email contacts. Email marketing reigns king when it comes to getting your message out. Keep posting on Facebook, just make sure you have a plan to collect email addresses.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

10 thoughts on “New Algorithm Alters What You See in Your Facebook News Feed”

  1. Thanks, Jim.
    I’m on the fence about e-mail marketing. I hate being bugged by e-mails with offers I can’t refuse. They interrupt my work flow, and I end up unsubscribing from many of them. I prefer to sign up for reminders from blogs. So maybe an author’s best time investment is in an excellent blog?
    And speaking of blogs: The fastest way to get me to leave without reading is in-your-face popup windows or excessive advertising and/or gaudy graphics.

    1. Great points, Kathy. However, with email marketing, it shouldn’t be about “buy my stuff.” The best way to use email marketing is in the form of a newsletter where you can spend a little time showing your fans a little behind the scenes stuff.
      Maybe you can share pictures of your writing space, write about how a particular part of a story came to you, share options for your next cover and let your fans put in their two cents worth.
      There are lots of ways to leverage your email list and newsletter with great content. Keep in mind that many of the emails you collect don’t make it to the blog on a regular basis, but you can keep them in the loop three or four times a year with the newsletter.

  2. It doesn’t sound like too bad an idea. I don’t want “News” on my Facebook feed, that’s for sure. I guess, as usual, we’ll all wait to see how it works and then complain bitterly for a while until we get used to it. Then it will be as if nothing ever changed. 🙂

  3. I have friends who bombard me with posts that do not interest me. I’d like to not see the posts without unfriending that person. Would that be “hide”? Thanks.

    1. Yes, Leta. Hiding the post will accomplish that. Remember though, this is specific to the News Feed.

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