On July 9th, Facebook once again made an update to our hero and arch nemesis, the News Feed.
This time instead of automatically rolling out the changes to everyone’s Feed, Facebook has turned the controls over to the people by allowing users to be able to choose the hierarchy of the posts they see when they reach the platform.
Back in April we saw some algorithm changes that weren’t so great for businesses using the social platform, but we think there may be some good in the newest update.
Up to this point, Facebook used a page’s ranking to order the posts and stories you see in your Feed. They based this ranking on who you interact with, what kinds of content you tend to like, and what you normally comment on.
But now, nestled in the ‘More’ section of your Facebook iOS app (and soon-to-be Android), you can override these Facebook Feed settings at your leisure in three ways:
1. Prioritize who to see first
Similar to the Facebook Lists function, the prioritize who to see first filter is a way to tailor your News Feed to stories you actually want to see. For example, if your brother has moved across the country and you’re most interested in his updates, you would star his name within this list to see his content first when opening Facebook.
What’s great for brands is that this applies to Pages too!
If a loyal customer wants to be updated on their favorite brand when they enter Facebook, they can also star this brand in the list to read their news before scanning the rest of their Feed. In Facebook, a small star will be visible in the top right of the post to indicate you have chosen this option.
These choices can also be made on the desktop for Pages and friends. If you hover over the ‘Following’ button on a friend’s cover photo (‘Liked’ button for brands), you will see a drop-down list to add the person or Page to your prioritized group.
2. Unfollow people to hide their posts and Reconnect with people you unfollowed
Most of you will already be familiar with this feature, but now it is in an interface that is easier to control and manage.
For those of you unfamiliar with ‘unfollow,’ take a look at the image below which highlights how you have always been able to do so right within the Feed.
Of course, as social media marketer managers, this feature to unfollow our hard-earned spot in your News Feed has never been our favorite. But now, a person is able to re-follow a person or Page they wish to get back in their feed!
3. Discover new Pages
We all know that social media is the best way to discover new stories, hobbies, and interests. So it should be no surprise that Facebook has now built in a way for users to discover new Pages that they should be following.
Based on the Pages that users have liked in the past, Facebook has provided a place where they can discover new Pages to get more information about the stories they are most interested in. (Yay, new and engaged fans!)
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this option is built into the desktop like the other two updates right now. Discovering new Pages on the desktop will have to depend on Pages promoting their page through Facebook advertising.
Overall, I personally feel the new control system is helpful, but tedious. Mobile is for quick access; having to comb through an overwhelming list of Business Pages and friends’ names to pick out who I want to pin to the top seems cumbersome.
It would benefit Facebook to add the capability of adding friends and Pages to a prioritized list right from the Feed (much like the unfollow button). That way when someone sees stories and photos they like –they can decide in an instant to see content from that person or Page immediately when they enter Facebook.
In any case, brands are already sending messages to users to teach them how to prioritize their Pages so they don’t get lost in the noise. So it may be in your best interest to do the same!
Are you excited for users to have more control over their News Feeds? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
About the Author: Deanna Zaucha is the Senior Specialist of Content Marketing for Webs and Pagemodo, and also manages our social media presence. She can be found on a dance floor, or on her iPhone keeping up with trends in marketing and tech. Get more from Deanna on Pagemodo’s Blog and Twitter.
all images via Facebook