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End of an Era – New Facebook Algorithm Marks Social Media’s Decline as Engagement Tool

In this day and age, everyone from your grandmother to your neighbor’s children are on Facebook. And because of that, state and local governments have found it a useful tool to digitally engage with their constituents. But as Facebook makes moves to promote more personal interactions and combat fake news, governments might notice that fewer followers will soon be seeing their content.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that they are changing the algorithm that guides what users see on their news feeds to focus more on personal interactions between family and friends instead of allowing commercial posts from businesses, brands, media and government to dominate, all in an effort to combat the spread of inaccurate stories and information.

Governments are lumped into the category of private businesses on Facebook, so posts from public sector organizations will largely be filtered out of citizens’ news feeds with the new algorithm. This means the number of people who currently see content from a government agency will decline, and citizen engagement rates will inevitably fall. And even if your content does make it onto your constituents’ news feeds, 2017 saw a usage drop of 50 million hours a day. Now more than ever, it’s time to start planning for other avenues of engagement.

According to a recent GovTech article, governments are already feeling the effects of the algorithm change. One example shared was Skagit County, Washington. The county has 1,700 followers and saw a 5x decline in post views.

Even if you have a lot of your community following you on Facebook, their ability to actually see your posts in their news feeds has drastically declined. To counter this, government is going to have to find a new way to engage. While other social media platforms and websites may offer support for overall communications strategies, email and text messaging still remain the most effective digital engagement tools

If you’ve been looking for a reason to explore new communication platforms, this change is it. Governments can no longer rely solely on Facebook and other social media to get communications about emergencies, events and everything else going on in their jurisdiction to their constituents.

Granicus’ GovDelivery Communications Cloud offers a quick and easy way for governments to connect with citizens and overcome this challenge. The platform enables governments to craft messages in custom-built, branded templates to provide a timely, consistent and familiar experience for audiences across platforms. Additionally, by cross-promoting content to over 150 million citizens on the GovDelivery Network, you can recapture subscribers that will be lost on social media.

If you’re ready to explore effective communications tools outside of traditional social media, contact us, and we’ll work with you to ensure you can continue to engage your citizens.