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Facebook has started testing a new feature—splitting the traditional newsfeed into twoseparate feeds. In Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia, users' primary feed now contains original content from your friends along with paid content. The second feed includes posts from pages you follow and other non-promoted items.
This change is another in a long line as digital platforms try to figure out what users want. While it may seem radical, the writing is on the wall. Gmail already sorts your emails into different inboxes to make it more manageable. And Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all moved away from ordering posts chronologically to algorithm-based models.
The implications of this latest change: Users may only look at what their friends are sharing along with the promoted content. Everything else may never be seen.
Could this latest feed split mean double trouble for your organization’s advocacy efforts? It doesn’t have to. Here are five ways to prepare:
1. Add a Facebook pixel to your website to build your Facebook audience.
Inserting this small snippet of code onto your website opens up all kinds of doors. A Facebook pixel allows you to create lookalike and custom audiences based on your current audience.(Plus, it allows you to track conversions and remarket your ads.)
This pixel gives you critical insight into who is coming to your website and lets you build similar looking segments.With this information, you can target your posts and get the most bang for your advertising bucks.
2. Build a sharing army.
Ask your advocates and followers to show their support by sharing your content. When a constituent joins your mailing list, ask them if they’d be willing to share your content on Facebook or Twitter. Then, you can mark that in your database and segment them accordingly.
From that point on, every email to them should include share call-to-action. Second, every thank-you page should include a sharing ask. Adding buttons to share on Facebook and Twitter make it easy for advocates to spread the word on their own channels. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in advocacy and this potential new Facebook feed will amplify the power of organic shares.
3. Amp up your social snippets.
Using Open Graph, you can ensure that whenever someone shares your content on Facebook, the link populates an image, title, and a description. Optimize your content on Facebook with metadata. This change will make your content all the more shareable and clickable. Plus, posts with images on Facebook get significantly more engagement. Who wouldn’t want that boost?
4. A/B test again and again.
If you don’t test your content, now is the time to start. Using a tool like Optimizely, you can test which blog headlines drive the most clicks. Sites like Refinery29 and Upworthy have seen 5-6 percent increases in CTR after testing their headlines. A/B testing is key to driving organic shares as well as getting the most out of your ad dollars.
Of course, the best way to get into any feed is to create truly engaging content. Let’s be honest—if your content is mediocre, no one will share it. So make better content. Once you have your amazing content, don’t be afraid to reuse it and tweak headlines as you do.
5. Drive email signups from current Facebook followers.
Worried that your followers will miss out on key calls-to-action or important events? Run a campaign to increase the overlap between your Facebook followers and email list with a campaign so they never miss a thing. And, if you have a CRM like NationBuilder, you can match your existing subscribers to their social profiles with a social match. You can also export your list and use it to create a custom audience for Facebook ads. This is a great option for garnering petition signatures or driving calls to Congress.
Overall, email is still No.1 when it comes to reaching your constituents and building relationships. For nonprofits in 2016, email accounted for a quarter of all online revenue, and for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered, nonprofits raised $36. And, your email subscribers are more engaged in your mission -- they’re three times more likely to share your content on social.
Now, it’s unclear what Facebook’s plans are for its newsfeed. Whether it’s this change, or something new, the shakeups on the platform are far from over. In the meantime, learn as much as you can with your advocates. And make sure you have their email address.
Julianne Hyer is a senior account manager at Beekeeper Group, a DC-based communications agency.