FB News Feed: Is the comment the new share?

Posted by Kathy Winter @kathywinter, Jan 12, 2018

FB announces more changes in the news feed to continue the prioritization of friends and family posts and focus on personal connections on the platform. https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/comments-are-the-new-shares-in-facebooks-rethought-news-feed?utm_term=.selJWBz1pk#.bwrkzxgL9Y

Zukerberg’s post:

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.We built…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, January 11, 2018


Thanks for sharing this Kathy! I was just getting ready to share an article about this on NYCU when I saw your post. I do think commenting is important, but I think shares should still be the “mother of all metrics.” IMO, this means we need to encourage our employees to share our content in order to reach the large, relevant audiences we want.


Great question, @kathywinter. A couple of quotes from Zuckerberg’s post on these changes strike me:

“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.”


“Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

My takeaway: More than ever we need to make our posts about “meaningful social interactions” that people really care about. We need to develop more community management skills to generate meaningful conversations. Post sharable content and focus on meaningful conversations. What are your thoughts?


FB prompted me to learn more about the changes when I logged-in this afternoon:

Posts that you see first are influenced by your connections and activity on Facebook. The number of comments, likes and reactions a post receives and what kind of story it is (example: photo, video, status update) can also make it more likely to appear higher up in your News Feed.
Posts that you might see first include:
• A friend or family member commenting on or liking another person’s photo or status update.
• A person reacting to a post from a publisher that a friend has shared.
• Multiple people replying to each other’s comments on a video they watched or an article they read in News Feed.


I’m going to guess that what this means is that it will be a little more pricey to advertise on Facebook from here on out, especially when it comes to things such as boosted posts. Prioritized posts by friends and family means that there will be less space on the newsfeed for sponsored content to pop up on, making the cost of that real estate to go up.


Interesting. I’ve generally shied away from posting controversial content that gets people fired up, as I don’t have time to sit in front of the screen all day with a fire extinguisher. (For example, there are three treatment options for hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease – and some patients are VERY emotionally invested in the option they personally chose). This might be an interesting experiment to try if I get a day where my calendar is clear!

An interesting side note: I pinned a post to the top of our Page that includes a link about these FB changes – along with a semi-snarky comment that people will need to visit our Page directly to make sure they are getting updates. That post has had the highest engagement of ANY post this month. 🙂


Well, there is a way to combat the change for now, but it’s training your audience to take extra steps to see your pages posts first. Here’s a video Columbia Restaurant Group (here in Tampa) did to educate their audience. Their marketing manager, in the video, is a former boss of mine from my newspaper days. Might spark some creative ideas for this group. https://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaRestaurantGroup/videos/vb.110802365105/10160074348640106/?type=2&theater


As this article puts it This is a moment for rethinking content strategy.
I welcome that challenge! My other thought around this is that we should be doubling down on our group engagement. Creating our own FB groups seems to me to be a way around these algorithmic changes.


The content that generates the most comments and shares for us includes:
– Accolades — U.S. News, Becker’s, etc. I know everyone says not to brag about yourself, but people seem to love finding their doctor on the Best Doctors list and commenting.
– Highlighting individual employees/teams
– Stories about things that are unique to us, like patient stories, our policies, infection rates, our transgender teen clinic

So I told my team we may be creating and sharing more of this content in the future. The more generic “here’s info about this condition” and safety tips or research news tends to be more hit or miss for organic engagement. Unfortunately it’s hard to make general assumptions, especially about research — sometimes things I think won’t do well end up being exceptional.

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