How Facebook’s news feed changes will affect your charity

Kirsty Marrins
Digital communications specialist
15 Jan 2018

Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook is changing the algorithm for its news feed to ‘bring people closer together’. Naturally, charities and social enterprises saw this as a negative announcement but we don’t think it is (and we’ll tell you why).

First, let’s take a look at what the statement says.

  • Facebook is about helping people stay connected to the people that matter to them
  • Family and friends are at the core of the Facebook experience
  • However, many complained that their news feed was taken up by brands, media and businesses – meaning that they weren’t seeing posts from friends and family
  • Facebook is ensuring its algorithm will prioritise friends, family and groups BUT will still show Pages in the news feed. You will just have to work a bit harder to be seen.

What can charities do to ensure their content is seen?

First of all, see this as both a challenge and an opportunity. All Facebook is trying to do is make communication and engagement more meaningful, which is a good thing!

Zuckerberg sums it up as, “Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

So yes, your Page reach may decrease but the focus is on creating more meaningful engagement with those who do like, comment and share your content.

Here are our tips:

  • Conduct a content audit. Take a look at all your Facebook posts over the last 6 months to a year. Which were the most successful? Are there themes, keywords or does a certain type of content resonate more with your audience?
  • Look at your competitors. What are other charities in your sector doing on Facebook? What seems to be working (or not working) for them? Is there anything that you can learn from their Facebook presence?
  • Create a Facebook content strategy. Take what you’ve learnt from your audit and competitor review and incorporate it into your content strategy.
  • Consider creating a group. If you’re looking for a way to really create an online community, you may want to consider setting up a Group (or Groups) for your supporters. Here’s an excellent article from Nathan Murray, Social Media Manager at RNIB, on how they are using Facebook Groups to connect blind and partially sighted people.
  • Less will be more. Focus on quality over quantity. Spend more time crafting your content and ensuring it’s what your audience wants rather than just finding something to post every day.
  • Create conversation. If your content gets engagement and creates discussion, Facebook will show it on people’s news feeds. How can you do this? Ask a question or create a poll. The more people comment or tag their friends in your posts, the more people will see your content. See the brilliant example for RNIB below.
  • Ask people to follow your page. There are many people who aren’t aware that they can follow a page to ensure they will always see their posts. Why not let your supporters know and ask them to follow you? You don’t have to just ask this on Facebook – why not add it to your email newsletter?

Don’t fear the changes – embrace them!

Further resources

If you’d like to read more on what those in the sector (and beyond) think of the changes and how you can embrace them, we recommend reading:

What do you think of the changes? Tweet us at @Lightful.

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