Facebook just confirmed it's testing a new way to determine what people see in their news feeds, and it's terrifying organizations that publish content on the site.
The test, which the social media giant ran in six countries (and was first reported here), involved moving all content from businesses and other publishers out of the news feed and into the new explore feed. Unless, that is, they pay to promote it.
Facebook has said that the goal of the test was to create two separate feeds - one for publishers and businesses and one for friends and family.
Businesses and news organizations are worried, though, that they'll lose significant amounts of views and engagement on their posts. The explore tab is not, at the current time, nearly as easily accessible as the news feed.
Although the site has said it doesn't have any plans to implement this new organization on a global scale, it doesn't hurt to prepare yourself. Here are four things you can do to keep getting your content in front of people, even if Facebook hides it.
Link Straight to Your Page
Although Facebook controls how people see your content on the site, it doesn't have power over whether people come to it through other means. You have control over your own website and emails and relative influence on your other social media accounts.
So if Facebook hides your posts on its site, use links to send your audience straight to it. Place links and calls to action on your webpages and blog posts, in your emails, in your YouTube videos and on your social posts on other platforms (if you are looking to continue engagement on Facebook; otherwise, re-strategize how engage people in a social fashion on your website itself). This will help people discover your Facebook posts and enable them to engage with it. Once people start interacting with it, it will become easier for others to find it too.
Double Down on SEO
If your Facebook posts become more difficult to find on the site itself, put extra focus on improving the search engine optimization, or SEO, tactics you use on your Facebook page to help people find your content through search engines.
Some SEO strategies for your Facebook page include filling out the "About" and "Info" sections with useful information and keywords. You should also link to relevant pages, such as your website, near the top of your Facebook page.
Also, keep using SEO strategies on your website and other online content. These methods can help bring people to your Facebook page if you link to your social media on your site.
Improving the Facebook posting strategies is another simple but effective way to increase the chances of people seeing your content despite changes to the site. Take some time and find the sweet spot of how often to post and what time to post to reach the most people.
Posting more often can help a lot of businesses, although you, of course, don't want to post so often that you annoy people. By the time your post has been online for two-and-a-half hours, 75 percent of the people who will see it have already seen it. So posting every two hours or so is a smart bet for many users.
You should also try to find the ideal time to reach your audience on the site. Consider when they're likely to be online, and try out different times to test your theories. You can the post scheduler to help you change up your posting times and frequency.
Use New Features
Facebook likes trying out new forms of content. It likes its users to try it out too, so it gives new ideas, like Facebook Live, preference in its own feeds. Try to be one of the first to use Facebook's latest invention, and you'll have a better chance of people seeing what you upload. Facebook wants people to see it, and users might be excited about the new feature too, so they'll be more likely to engage with your content.
Facing What's Next
Although we don't know for sure yet, Facebook may change up the structure of the site - rolling out separate news feeds more widely. While it might not seem like a favorable change for businesses, the organizations that come out on top will be the ones that prepare for the update and embrace it as best as they can. What's more, start exploring ways to offer social experiences on your website, so you are not susceptible to third-party changes.
Kayla Matthews is a researcher, writer and blogger covering topics related to technology, smart gadgets, the future of work and personal productivity. She is the owner and editor of ProductivityTheory.com and ProductivityBytes.com. Previously, Kayla was a senior writer at MakeUseOf and contributing freelancer to Digital Trends. Kayla's work on smart homes and consumer tech has also been featured on Houzz, Dwell, Inman and Curbed. Additionally, her work has appeared on Quartz, PRNewswire, The Week, The Next Web, Lifehacker, Mashable, The Daily Dot, WIRED and others.