Blog Post

Move the Meter: What Facebook’s Pending Changes Mean for Cause Marketers

Shifts in content priority will impact the stories users see from your organization
January 17, 2018

Facebook is making headlines after announcing big changes in how it prioritizes and delivers content.
The social-sharing giant will roll out updates as soon as this week that will decisively favor user content and deprioritize publishers’ content in the news feed.
In short, scrollers will see far more personal moments from friends and family and far fewer ads or brand posts.
The platform has already changed its algorithm to de-incentivize “engagement bait,” so any posts specifically asking people to like, share, comment, react, tag a friend, etc. may not be as readily seen as in the past.
Facebook hopes these updates will reduce false and offensive content in the news feed.
However, some outlets are calling the changes apocalyptic for brands and a “foolish, knee-jerk response” to fake news controversies. Digital strategists fear the change could hurt high-quality brand content as personal posts get more engagement.
What does this mean for cause marketers? Facebook will treat you like any other brand publisher and deprioritize your posts. The outlet has said that it will still give posting priority to “reputable publishers,” but it hasn’t revealed how those publishers will be determined.  
Organizations using the site will need to focus on creating content that inspires “meaningful interaction” — or find another platform for their ads.
Engagement from “comments and discussion” — rather than likes or shares — will win in the news feed. Organizations would do well to think about how they can be fostering community and conversation on Facebook in order to keep posts in their users’ feeds.
Here are other headlines in the industry this week.
Project Manager Kathleen Ryan:
Some agencies and organizations allow repurposing of creative content without compensation, as is the case with this powerful smoking ad created by HSE in Ireland. When the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Control expressed interest in the content, the creators was happy to share.
HSE was able to connect with the bureau’s New York agency to work out the logistics, costs, music licensing and talent usage fees.
“We are delighted to share the work, and we don’t charge anything for this,” explains HSE’s head of campaigns.
This kind of collaboration happens quite often, she says. The public health/social marketing world “tends to be a collaborative place…and even if we can’t share actual ads, we often share learning and insights.”
Owned Media Strategist Laura Bernero:
For associations, nonprofits and small organizations that are wondering how to maximize their social media resources this year, a few simple practices can go a long way.
We know that video content and paid boosting (no matter how big or small your budget) will pay off. And with apps and free tools that make it easier than ever to schedule and customize visual content, even small teams can curate high-quality and engaging social media storytelling.

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