Update (March 1, 2018): Facebook has announced that it is ending it’s ‘explore feed’ experiment, therefore, this blog post is no longer relevant, however, if you would like to know more about why the ‘explore feed’ caused such an uproar amongst publishers then please read on.
What is Facebook ‘explore feed’ and why should I care?
If you use Facebook to promote your brand, products, and services then this is one of the most important features in recent months that directly affect your business. Although Facebook is still experimenting with this feature, rumours are rife that this change may lead to the demise of many businesses. In this blog post, we breakdown the key components of this new feature and how it may affect your business.
Explore Feed – What is it and where do I find it?
At the time of writing this post (Oct 17), the explore feed was operating as a separate (or secondary) news feed which contained content from brands and people that the user may not like or follow but it’s still relevant to the user based on their interests and viewing habits on Facebook and Instagram. It has been designed to let the user explore content that may be of interest without cluttering the primary news feed with random cat videos that are entertaining but waste so much of your valuable time.
Further experiments are ongoing in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cambodia, Serbia and Slovakia where the news outlets have had all their organic posts moved into the explore feed which is making a lot of news outlets around the world nervous about how this change may affect their business. News organisations can still feature in the main feed, however, they will need to boost (i.e. pay for) this content to be pushed into the main feed.
Facebook first rolled out the explore feed on mobile devices only but it has subsequently been rolled out to desktop too. You can find the explore feed in the main menu on mobile devices and desktops it’s on the left sidebar menu.
Why would Facebook roll this out and why now?
Explore feed solves a few issues that Facebook undoubtedly would have seen play out on its network:
- With the relatively recent elections in the US, the channel came under increased scrutiny for being a hotbed of fake news and propaganda. Facebook appears to be making an effort to move away from being the distributor of news content or at least making it harder for news outlets to use Facebook to distribute their content for free.
- Our data shows that typically, only 5-6% of the organic content reaches it’s brand’s followers. If you are just starting out on Facebook or have very few followers, it will now become even harder to grow your follower base without paid advertising.
- With a lot of less relevant content moved away from the main feed, users see content they have explicitly shown interest by means of liking and following pages, this means a less cluttered and noisy news feed, higher dwell times and increased user engagement and better conversion rate for businesses.
Explore feed is not being shown in a prominent place, that may well change in the future but having it hidden way works just fine for Facebook due to the reasons noted above.
I don’t have any budget for paid advertising what shall I do?
Even if you don’t have the budget for boosting your posts, there are a few things you can do to grow your following:
- People use Facebook to connect, engage and be entertained. Make sure your content meets at least one of this criteria, if you create highly creative content that entertains, it will get discovered.
- Direct people to your Facebook page from other channels such as your website, email signature etc. Incentivise people to like or follow your page by running competitions.
- Speak with a complementary business to see if they might be interested in cross-promotion. For example, if you run an independent restaurant, speak to local hotels to see if they might be interested in cross-promotions.
- Make sure all your staff like your Facebook page.
If you would like to learn more about how to attract more followers, increase brand awareness and sell your products and services through Social Media channels then get in touch today via the contact form for free no obligation advice.