Social media is constantly changing, adapting to new platforms and the way people use them. Facebook has made strides in functionality to keep it relevant among the multitudes of platforms looking to take over as the top social platform. In order to maintain this relevancy, Facebook is looking to get even closer to its user base by catering to individual needs.
A few months ago, Facebook introduced an apartment search engine to its marketplace. And more recently, the social media giant made headlines for its attempt to promote Facebook-validated news sources. Now, the platform wants to be involved in a more intimate way by providing more local news than national news on users’ feeds.
“People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook. Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives,” wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a recent Facebook post. “Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.”
So, what does this mean for the real estate industry?
Facebook Has More Power Over Content
While it is too soon to tell, real estate business pages may or may not fall under the news category according to Facebook. And if they do, real estate professionals will have difficulty determining whether their pages are being considered trusted local news sources that are appearing more frequently, or if they are being grouped as untrustworthy and are not being viewed. Real estate agents will need to keep a close eye on their pageviews and Facebook analytics to determine if this change is for the better. For industry professionals that use only their personal pages to promote their business, this local announcement may not impact them, unless Facebook is scanning posts by content instead of source.
The More Local, the More Relevant
If Facebook is looking to push local sources, the news factor may not play a role at all if real estate professionals are promoting mainly local content. Instead, agents and brokers may see a surge in pageviews from increased visibility to their content. If this is the case, real estate professionals should be prepared to post more content that features specialized local data versus articles with national or generic elements.
“Starting [Jan. 29], we’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” wrote Zuckerberg. “If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed. We’re starting this first in the U.S., and our goal is to expand to more countries this year.”
Content Will Need to Be Reviewed Carefully
According to the social platform, these are just the first steps being taken to ensure high-quality news is prioritized. Since Facebook’s algorithms are already a mystery to the masses, agents and brokers will need to carefully read through their content before posting on Facebook to ensure the platform doesn’t pick up on any clickbait-type words that cause it to be labeled as untrustworthy.
These recent announcements from Facebook have received a lot of backlash from the social media community. While local news is slated for Facebook’s near future, the way it is packaged and how it will evolve remain a mystery until individuals begin to monitor their content more closely, paying special attention to how their local content fares in the social world.
“Local news helps build community—both on and offline. It’s an important part of making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is valuable. I’m looking forward to sharing more updates soon,” wrote Zuckerberg.
As a real estate professional, how do you feel about Facebook’s recent push to control news visibility?