Five tips for dealing with “Facebook Zero”

A photo of a laptop screen with the Facebook login page.

By Scott Swanson

When The New York Times covers a change to Facebook’s news feed, you know it’s a big deal.

And indeed it is. Facebook recently announced what had been rumored for months: that users will begin to see “less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” and instead see more from “friends, family and groups.”

For years, Facebook has reduced a business account’s organic reach — the kind of exposure brands do not need to pay for, because their followers automatically see their content — in an effort to both clean up news feeds while enticing brands to spend more money on ads.

These new changes announced Jan. 11 mean even less organic reach—likely significantly so. Social Media Examiner, which specializes in social media marketing, has not been subtle about what these changes potentially mean for businesses—they’re calling it Facebook Zero. It’s also been called a news feed armageddon.

So is this really the end of brands on Facebook? Marketers agree that it’s a pivotal change but don’t yet agree on the extent of the impact for brands. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this situation as it develops, and in the meantime, here are a few tips for making sure your Facebook fans see and engage with your content.

Focus on storytelling

If you follow our social channels, read our blog or talk to us in person, you know that storytelling is at the heart of what we do. Does your content effectively communicate who you are, in addition to what you do? Does it create or reinforce emotional bonds with your audience? A well-told brand story is quality content, and quality content gets shared and discussed. Take an honest, unflinching look at how you talk about yourself—is there room for improvement?

Kick-start the conversation

If you have strong brand ambassadors or employees who can bring thoughtfulness and value to a conversation, activate them! Encourage them to jump in and engage with content that’s been posted by your brand page. But make sure that it’s a topical and relevant conversation —nobody likes engagement-baiting (“Yes, I support puppies! Comment ‘YES’ if you support puppies too!”). In fact, Facebook is seeking to reduce the reach of those types of posts as part of the news feed overhaul, so definitely don’t ask for comments!

Take a second look at Facebook Groups

A few years ago, Facebook Groups seemed destined for the social media scrap heap alongside also-rans like Google+ and MySpace. But as Facebook has continued to put a priority on community and conversation, Groups are a tool worth reconsidering. For inspiration, take a look at the world-conquering Instant Pot. They created a Group for their fans to share recipes, which has now grown to more than 1 million members. That kind of authentic engagement can’t be bought.

Consider live video

Facebook reports that Facebook Live, its internal live video platform, currently offers six times the engagement of other types of content. Facebook has been emphasizing live video for a while – and so have we! It’s a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge in a fun, visual and engaging way.

Tell your fans how they can see your content first

I may be biased, but I know from our brainstorms and planning sessions that #TeamMoonsail puts a lot of thought into offering inspiring and strategically useful information. If you agree, here’s a quick trick that will help you see more of it.

  • Go to our Facebook page.
  • Click the arrow on the Following button
  • In the drop-down menu, under In Your News Feed, select “See First.”

A screenshot detailing how to select the "see first" option for your preferred Facebook pages.

Because so much about the news feed overhaul is still in flux, this option may not be relevant – or even available – for long. But for now, it’s worth taking the time to communicate this easy fix to your fans.

Have you seen your organic reach plummet over the years? Do you have additional tips for keeping Facebook relevant? We’d love to hear from you!

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