In fact, I personally don’t see any brand messaging, other than what’s sponsored (read that: paid to appear) in my News Feed. Which is actually fine with me as a human, but as an agency that provides social media community management services for brands, getting brand content in front of fans who actively opted in for it is obviously high on my radar screen.
Why You Might Care About “See First”
That leads me to Facebook’s recent introduction of “See First,” a new feature designed to help Facebook users take more control of what they see and read in the News Feed. Right now “See First” is available on the iOS Facebook app. You can also access the feature on the desktop by visiting the individual pages you want to see pop up first in your News Feed and clicking “see first” where it says, “Follow” or “Following.” This is important beyond how a brand might want to use Facebook. As an example, I love the content produced by Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase and their team at Cool Mom Picks. However, in spite of the fact that I’ve long “liked” and “followed” their Cool Mom Picks Facebook page, the only time I see the content they produce and share is when Kristen and/or Liz share it from their personal pages. So, if there’s a brand whose content you don’t want to miss, whether for information or discounts and deals – or of course for stalking, (it’s the Internet, stalking is encouraged, right?), this should be of interest to you. Maybe it’s your favorite nonprofit, maybe it’s my friend, travel blogger Dan Fogarty, who shares the coolest travel tips, destinations and amazing photos of all time on his You Should Go Here Facebook Page that I don’t want to miss.
Maybe it’s your favorite local small business or retailer you want to support who regularly serves up discount codes and coupons in their feed, maybe it’s a competitor you want to keep tabs on, or maybe even a fitness or health and wellness site whose updates you really enjoy — all of which you’d like to be seeing again. See? When you think about it, there are probably lots of brands whose content you wouldn’t mind seeing in your News Feed on a regular basis.
What Brands (Big and Small) Need to Do
So this is pretty cool. At least I think it is. As a user of The Facebook I like having more control over what I see–or at least thinking that I do–for however long Facebook lets me think that. However, while having more direct control over what shows up in the Facebook News Feed is great for users, it should also be a call to action for brands. If you manage a brand page or have a Facebook page for your business, you need to make sure your fans and followers know what to do if they want to continue seeing (or if they ever want to see) your content in their feeds.
What to do? Develop a campaign to start getting the word out to your fans about these changes and use this opportunity to reintegrate Facebook into what you’re doing from a marketing and community engagement standpoint. In a way that doesn’t cost you anything (yet anyway) but the effort it takes you to communicate this. Create an email campaign to educate your audience about what’s going on (because they’re sure as heck not going to see it on Facebook) and tell them what they need to do in order to see the content that you share on Facebook. Give them a reason to want to be a part of what you’re doing and sharing there (deals, discounts, comedy, beautiful imagery, etc). If you’ve never invited them to be a part of your Facebook community (or given them reason to want to do so), now’s the time to do that as well. And remember not to just ask or mention this once–continue to mention and remind your subscribers in follow-up email campaigns (or via your personal Facebook page if you don’t yet have an email list) on a regular basis, since it usually takes a few reminders to get people to act.
So, hopefully you now know more about the See First opportunity that exists—for both humans and for brands—relative to Facebook and how you use it, you’ll check it out and modify your News Feed to allow you to actually see the stuff you want to see and/or reach out to your community and tell them how to do it.
To use the feature on your iPhone, make sure you have the latest update of the Facebook app installed. Open the app and click on “More” on the bottom right of the screen. Under “Settings” click on “News Feed Preferences” and then “Prioritize Who to See First.” Now simply select the people you want to “see first” in your feed. What do you think? Are you like me and think this is a pretty good move? There are many brands that I actually look forward to hearing from and it’s way easier to see their content in my Facebook News Feed than it is to open emails from them and/or remember to go check them out. I like it. Your thoughts?
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