5 Ways to Gain The Upper Hand in Facebook's Newsfeed | npENGAGE

5 Ways to Gain The Upper Hand in Facebook’s Newsfeed

By on Oct 31, 2017


A person holding an iPhone, getting ready to check their Facebook Newsfeed

If you work in marketing or communications, you know about the Facebook Newsfeed and it’s impact on organic reach. Some of your posts are seen by lots of people, and some of your posts aren’t.

Facebook can’t exist without its users. So the Newsfeed algorithm tries to predict what each user wants to see in their Newsfeed.

But no algorithm is perfect. So they test and tweak.

Facebook recently announced a test in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. Users in these countries can only see Page posts that their friends comment on or share. All other posts from Pages they follow are moved to a separate space called Explore.

Facebook says they have no current plans to test this feature in other countries.

“The goal of this test is to understand if people prefer to have separate places for personal and public content. We will hear what people say about the experience to understand if it’s an idea worth pursuing any further.”

But let’s face it, they’re always looking for ways to keep fans happy, while also gently nudging Pages to pay for more reach. It’s not personal, it’s business.

Facebook is about people, not brands.

Facebook is a platform built on driving personal connections. We log onto the platform to get updates on our friends and families. We want to see pictures from our best friend’s wedding, or share exciting news about the new job we’re taking. It’s not a platform for brands—even though brands are now using the platform to connect with  over 2 Billion users.

It’s a platform built for people to connect with people.

5 Ways to Gain The Upper Hand in Facebook’s Newsfeed

For a primer on Facebook’s newsfeed, watch this video:


The fact is, people will always take precedent over Pages and organic, unpaid content. And as Facebook continues to evolve, nonprofits should seek ways to become less dependent on their algorithm.

  1. Give your people something to talk about on Facebook: Posts shared by people get much more reach than organic posts from Pages. This is why Facebook is the #1 referrer of website traffic (more than Google). When you have awesome content on your website that supporters can’t help but share with their friends on Facebook, you gain the upper hand in the Newsfeed!
  2. Create content designed to make your fans look awesome: People share content on Facebook, whether it’s a video from your Page or a blog post from your website, because they want to appear entertaining, informed, connected, etc. to their friends. Creating content that helps your supporters achieve this goal leads to more engagement and organic reach.
  3. Mix email and Facebook in how you engage supporters: If you have an email newsletter, you’re ahead of the game. On a regular basic, try featuring your most engaging Facebook post from the past week. Invite subscribers to join the conversation by commenting on that post. This drives high-quality Facebook users (your newsletter subscribers) directly to your content, skipping the Newsfeed entirely!
  4. Broadcast your impact with Facebook Live: Live video is the #1 type of content on Facebook, getting more reach and engagement than videos and pictures. The reason for this is that the value of live video is participating while it’s happening! As people join the broadcast and start commenting, their friends are notified of your live broadcast. Read this post for more on getting started with Facebook Live.
  5. Invest in Facebook ads: If you don’t have a Facebook ad budget, you’re not serious about Facebook. All of the most successful nonprofits on Facebook use Facebook ads to boost Page posts, grow their email lists, and raise money.

I’m not saying that your nonprofit should ditch your organic social strategy. But I am saying that if you want to see real results, it’s time for a paid strategy.


John Haydon helps nonprofits change the world with smarter marketing. He is the author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley), consults for nonprofits and community foundations across the United States, and can ride a bicycle backwards. Learn more about John at www.johnhaydon.com!

Comments (4)

  • Nancy Bailey says:

    I have an NGO in Guatemala, one of the countries affected by the Facebook change. The change is AWFUL. The Explore Feed is nothing but advertising and my newsfeed has all but dried up. It is a total bummer.

  • Howard Lake says:

    Is it worth making some of your key monprofit staff – your CEO perhaps – work at building a personal following amongst Facebook users? That way they can share the nonprofit’s content with confidence that it will be seen and engaged with by individuals.

    I wouldn’t rely on this but do you think it is a tactic that might help?

    • Hi Howard, I do! I think that your people—those that make up your organization and your most ardent supporters—are critical to Facebook engagement moving forward.

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