Facebook’s new algorithm may impact nonprofits

Written on Jan 31, 2018

Facebook has announced it is changing its newsfeed algorithm yet again.

In a Facebook post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we spend on Facebook is time well spent ... I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

This means users will see a decrease in exposure to public content from businesses (or organizations) and an increase in exposure to posts from friends. While this is bad news for businesses in general, this change will particularly hurt nonprofits, which often lack the funds to hire dedicated social media experts who can create high quality content. As it is, nonprofit organizations only reach about 8% of their fans unless they promote a post. With the old algorithm, 45% of Facebook users who saw a nonprofit’s post were not already following the organization, leading to increased awareness of the organization and its services.

The change in Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm comes at a particularly bad time for nonprofit organizations that are already gearing up to see a decrease in funds due to tax reform. With less exposure to Facebook users who may be potential donors, nonprofits are facing a tough year ahead.

It’s possible that the idea of focusing on “meaningful interactions” may benefit nonprofit organizations in the long run. Nonprofits have meaningful interactions with constituents every day in real life. Those that can find a way to have these types interactions on Facebook may find success with the new algorithm. For instance, nonprofits can change their social media strategy to not only share general awareness posts, but also share success stories and focus on engaging users through comments and Facebook groups. While some organizations have been able to post sporadically without any real social media strategy, nonprofits will now have to analyze posts, determine which get the most traffic and shares and use that data to guide their Facebook presence.

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