Facebook has launched a new setting for the new hybrid news feed. It allows users to decide if they’d like to see Highlighted Stories First or Recent Stories First. This really isn’t much different than the old news feed tab system (Top News vs Most Recent), although this system wouldn’t show duplicate updates by switching between the two.
The question may immediately pop to mind that creating engagement maybe less important if users are able to select Recent Stories First. There a few reasons why this new setting doesn’t change a thing.
The Average Facebook User Doesn’t Change Many Settings
The first thing to consider with any Facebook setting, is that a majority of Facebook users don’t touch a single setting. They simply login to Facebook.com and use it. This is why optimizing for the old Top News segment was so important. Most users simply left the Top News feed in place, while more savvy users (in the minority) only utilized Most Recent.
With this new ‘sort’ option, it appears that the default is Highlighted Stories First. We’re guessing a majority of users will all use this setting (again due to previous assumption). This alone, would suggest that engagement is still priority #1.
The Essence of Social Media Marketing is Engagement
With that being said, it should always be a brand’s priority to strive for engagement. The essence of social media marketing always digs deeper than impressions. We all know of the Twitter campaigns that follow 100k, with 100k followers, who blast non-stop and receive 0 ROI on their social media efforts. This is what happens to brands when the focus on engagement is lost.
The bottom line is engagement creates “stories” within Facebook. Likes/Comments/Shares all create stories within their friends feed, which can result in more stories in their friends’ friends feed, etc. This is the viral impact that is often discussed regarding Facebook. The more “stories” your brand can create, the more visibility your brand will receive.
If a brand focuses on engagement, they’ll receive multitudes more exposure than if they were to focus simply on impressions.