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Will Facebook’s “See First” News Feed Preference Put Businesses Back On Top? [part 2 Of 3]

Will Facebook’s “See First” News Feed Preference Put Businesses Back on Top? [part 2 of 3]

If you read Facebook Algorithm Change: What Does It Mean for Businesses? (Part 1 in this series), then you already know businesses are being pushed out of the Facebook feed in favor of posts from friends and family and more engaging content that invites comments and sharing. Not ready to give up over two billion Facebook users, many marketers are in denial about this new dynamic and are clinging tenaciously to any hope that they can somehow hang on to this audience.

One straw some are grasping at is Facebook’s “See First” option. This option can be found in the News Feed Preferences, and it allows users to select the friends or pages they wish to see first at the top of their news feeds. The idea is that Facebook users will love a business so much that they’ll put it on their short list so they can enjoy its promotional content all the time.

Sounds like a bit of a stretch because it is.

People use Facebook (primarily) to stay connected with family and friends and to create their own, controlled identity. What does that have to do with business? Not much. So why would Facebook users choose a business to “see first”? How does that add to their connectivity or self-presentation? It doesn’t. Unless there is something distinctly compelling, uniquely clever, or simply amazing about your business, it’s illogical to think that your business content is going to outrank my best friend from college in my News Feed.

Think of it this way, when you’re streaming a movie on Netflix, would you suddenly decide you wanted to watch commercials? Of course not. That’s what you love about streaming. It’s the entertainment you want without the distraction and disruption of the unrelated content that you don’t want. With the possible exception of the Super Bowl, there’s no way you’re choosing to watch the commercials. So why in the world would you purposefully opt to see the Facebook equivalent of commercials?

Here’s another important consideration. Before Facebook users can even choose to see you first, they’d have to know you were a choice to see first in the first place. When the See First option was introduced in 2015, it was an attempt to give users more control over their content. It was also a kind of admission on Facebook’s part that their algorithms weren’t always spot on when it came to determining what content you most wanted to see. Despite its intended use, the See First preference remains somewhat unknown to users, probably because it hasn’t really been promoted, and it’s buried in a list of other preferences and settings. How will users set a preference if they don’t know the preference exists? Ah-ha! You will just tell them in your post to make you a “See First.” Good idea, except that Facebook will demote your post if it includes this overt request (as well as requests to comment), and users will quickly become fatigued.

So, is See First a quick fix for this latest Facebook algorithm change? Clearly not. Does this mean you have to give up this two-billion-plus audience and dump your social media marketing plan? No. But if you still want to reach prospects through Facebook, you’ll have to focus much more attention on what users want and move away from any strategy that simply pushes content.

Need more help with your social media marketingDownload Facebook Algorithm Change: Tips for Businesses or call Gary at Wavelength at 717-823-6939.

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