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How will changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed affect your university page

How will changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed affect your university page

Facebook has been testing a major change in the way it displays page updates, that will shift non-promoted page posts out of its main news feed to a secondary one. This means, that if rolled out widely, you will need to pay to ensure that your university page content will be seen by your followers and your target audience.  

The changes could have a dramatic effect on your social media content strategies, particularly smaller providers who rely on Facebook engagement to drive traffic to their main site and who use the platform as a primary student recruitment and engagement tool.

The trial has resulted in a reported drop-off-the-cliff in page engagement (by up to 80%) and Slovakian newspaper Dennik N reported that the top 60 Slovakian Facebook pages ‘saw two-thirds to three-quarters of their Facebook reach disappear, according to stats from analytics service CrowdTangle’.

Before we all hit the panic button, let’s just take a deep breathe and remind ourselves that at the time of writing, this is very much in test phase and in just a few countries only – but any major test that Facebook rolls out in the public domain deserves our attention.

In what is a fast moving story, Facebook has responded to criticisms from the media (particularly publishers whose business rely solely on creating viral Facebook engagement) in a statement on their own blog:

The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further. There is no current plan to roll this out beyond these test countries or to charge pages on Facebook to pay for all their distribution in News Feed or Explore. Unfortunately, some have mistakenly made that interpretation — but that was not our intention.

So, our message is to keep abreast of social media platform developments, particularly on the biggest player in town, but don’t be overly worried at this stage. But do look to diversify which platforms you are using for organic engagement, so you aren’t completely at the mercy of any major changes that Facebook implement.

The National Clearing Survey found that Snapchat is the most popular platform for daily use amongst most student profiles, and our Lead Social Media Strategist, Dave Musson, recently explored social media strategies and platform selection as part of his recent webinar for academics. There is some great stuff in there for marketers who want to take a step back and remind themselves of the ‘why’ before they choose which platforms they want to post to and when.

As ever, track, measure and refine your activity so that you get the best outcome for your campaigns and know what works for you.

Contact Net Natives to speak to one of our digital and social media experts if you need any help with your long-term social media strategy or have a marketing challenge for us.

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