This is an excerpt from the Stand Out on Facebook ebook, which has already been updated with information on how to optimize your Facebook page for Facebook’s updated news feed.
Last week, Facebook revealed its plans for a news feed redesign. The news feed is your Facebook homepage — the place where you see all of your friends’ and liked pages’ updates when you first log in. It’s where people who’ve liked your page will see the content you share to your Facebook page. Here are the main changes you’ll see once the redesign rolls out to your Facebook account:
- More visual – news feed stories will be more visually engaging
- Choose feeds – users will be able to see which stories appear in their news feed
- Mobile consistency – the news feed experience will be more consistent and visual across multiple platforms and devices
If you are a marketer or blogger who manages a Facebook page, you might be rolling your eyes — Facebook changes often look pretty, but they make your job harder. Every time you turn around, Facebook is changing something, and you need to race to get your page ready for the changes. To make this transition easier for you, here’s your ultimate resource for what you should do to prepare for the news feed changes:
1. Post more visual content on your Facebook page
What’s changing: On the redesigned news feed, images will be much bigger. This means that your text-only updates are more likely to be ignored, if there’s more prominence on large, engaging visuals. You can see here how images will be even more prominent in the news feed than they are today:
How you should adapt: You should prepare for these updates by starting to post more visual content to your Facebook page as soon as possible, so you’re in the habit once the changes roll out for good. It’s a good idea to supplement any text-only update with an image now — in fact, keep the text as concise as possible, since the text will actually now appear on top of the image itself, rather than above it. Note: this just happens for photos, not shared links. Also, Facebook recommends publishers use images with a width of at least 552 pixels.
2. Create more compelling and shareable content
What’s changing: Facebook’s redesign will make it more obvious which of your friends have shared specific content, such as links or photos, by making the shares themselves more visual. This means that the psychology behind social endorsement will become more powerful. Now, instead of just seeing the names of your friends who have shared a link, you’ll also see their faces. Social endorsement is a powerful influencer for getting new people to like your page.
How you should adapt: Likes and shares will be more important than ever to ensure that your content is seen. There are a few ways to encourage your fans to share your content:
- Be funny or controversial. Content that makes people react — whether it makes them laugh, nod with approval, or feel anger — is the type of content that gets shared the most. So if your content is simply informative most of the time, break out of the mold sometimes and post a piece that will spark a reaction.
- Run a contest or giveaway. You can hold a contest or giveaway to reward people for sharing your content. When logged into Facebook as an admin of your Facebook page, you’ll be able to see exactly who shared your content. So you can say something like, “Share this post for a chance to win XYZ” or “Share this post to receive a discount code for XYZ” and then follow through with your promise by reaching out to each fan who shares your content personally.
- Ask fans to share your content. Encourage fans to share your content by literally asking them to. Position this favor as something like, “Share this post to spread the word about XYZ!” or “If you liked this post, pay it forward by sharing this with your friends.”
3. Encourage visitors to check-in to your location (local pages only)
What’s changing: Facebook’s news feed updates will make location check-ins much more visible. When users check in to your location, your Facebook page’s profile image will now appear in the story over a map of your location.
How you should adapt: If you run a business at a specific location, such as a hotel or restaurant, and you have a Facebook page in the local category, encourage your visitors to check into your location on Facebook. A hotel I stayed at in Florida recently did this exceptionally well — they offered a $5 gift shop certificate to anyone who checked in to their hotel on Facebook. You could run a similar promotion.
4. Improve your cover photo
What’s changing: When someone likes your Facebook page, that story will appear in their friends’ news feed with much more visual prominence than before. The page may now be highlighted in the news feed with its cover photo on display.
How you should adapt: Make sure that your Facebook page has a visually enticing cover photo that represents your brand well. This will increase your chances of your fans’ friends liking your page.
5. Post about trending topics
What’s changing: Previously, your posts would only appear in people’s news feeds if they already liked your page, or if one of your fans shared your post. Now, if you post content on a topic related to a page a Facebook user has liked, your post could potentially appear in the new “Recent stories about” carousel.
How you should adapt: Keep track of trending topics in your industry, as well as current events and pop culture, and post content relevant to those topics. This is a great opportunity to gain exposure to a new audience. Remember to keep the content relevant to your business as well — if you post about Taylor Swift just for the sake of appearing in one of these “recent article” carousels, and your company has nothing to do with Taylor Swift, any new fans you get as a result may not be high-value.
6. Post content more regularly
What’s changing: Facebook has always let users to create lists of people, and then select that list to only see stories from those people. But Facebook is surfacing this feature even more now, and adding pages to the mix. Now you can select “Following” to see all of the updates from the pages you’ve liked.
How you should adapt: The “following” news feed will show updates from pages in reverse-chronological order. To make sure that you’re consistently near the top of the page, post updates to your page on a regular basis — perhaps one to two times per day. This will help your fans see your content more regularly, so there’s more of a chance that they will like and/or share your content.
What do you think of Facebook’s new news feed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!