Facebook’s Pages-Only Feed: How It Works and What It Means
It’s Facebook Friday — each week we’ll offer one tip for leveraging Facebook to increase customer awareness of and engagement with your brand or business.
This month, Facebook introduced a new feed that only shows the posts made by Pages. It’s a smart move by the network in response to growing frustrations among business owners that they cannot engage with fans as well as they want with the Facebook Timeline format. The feature may be a happy medium for brands that feel they’re not getting the exposure they want with their fan bases but that also don’t want to pay to promote Facebook posts.
Although the Pages Feed does hold potential for brands, it isn’t going to be a surefire solution to getting better reach for your posts. Here’s a breakdown of how it could help companies to improve their interactions with fans, and what challenges they face to get that desired result.
Potential for More Visibility
Aggregating all Page posts in a single feed means a reader is more likely to have a chance to see your status updates. Since Facebook’s main News Feed uses EdgeRank to determine where and how stories are displayed, brands have had to play a bit of a guessing game to know how big an audience is viewing their content at any given time.
This feed does not use the EdgeRank algorithm, meaning readers get a comprehensive look at everything posted by the Pages they follow. By taking that calculation out of play, it provides an easy way for people to get their updates from all the Pages they’ve Liked, without needing to check in on each profile individually. That means a larger proportion of your fans will likely see a given post and respond to it.
No Guarantees of an Audience
As the adage goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Even though the Pages Feed is a mere click away, there is no guarantee that an individual will bother to visit it at all.
That means you need to make it worthwhile for people to use the feature. Your brand should be dedicating enough resources to your Facebook Page to supply fans with a regular stream of posts that they will want to make sure they read. That can mean a focus on humor or entertainment. Or it could mean that you need to post lots of deals or contests that people will want to be involved in. Whatever strategy your brand uses, you want to make sure that your fans feel that everything you say is important.
You Still Need To Stand Out
The other key element of a Pages-only feed is that the competition for your readers’ eyeballs still exists. Many people view social networks as a time drain, and try to limit how long they spend browsing Facebook. Some people only check the feed during work, and may only use it for short spurts. That means you still want your posts to catch their eyes and be worth their time to click on.
Again, make sure your strategy reflects that need. Since Facebook is a highly visual network, think about including eye-catching photos rather than just text updates. Depending on your industry, long blocks of writing may be appropriate, but in general, your best bet is to use text as a hook. Keep it snappy and concise.
People May Not Be Satisfied
While the new feature is a good response to concerns about reduced reach for a given post, there is a good chance that the average user will not love this update. In addition, the Pages-only feed does beg the question as to whether or not Facebook might develop a friends-only feed to complement the Pages-only option (though given Facebook’s desire to generate revenue, this seems highly unlikely).
In an earlier iteration of the network, it was possible to create groups for your connections, and then see the posts of just those people. The loss of that feature was a major source of displeasure for the Facebook public, especially when the EdgeRank algorithm made it likely that some stories would slip through the cracks.
So, as has become common any time Facebook makes a change, expect to see some backlash at first. People may resent that this change is more helpful to brands than to casual members of the network. That means it could take some time for the new feed to be accepted and to enter common usage.
Do you like Facebook’s addition of the Pages Feed? Let us know in the comments!