“Remember when your Facebook feed was full of your friend’s posts?” When I saw this nostalgic question in my own Facebook feed, I of course had to jump in with a little helpful hint on how to fix this “problem.” Doing so went against my interests as a social media marketer. Ironically it was against the original poster’s interests as well, since she is a small business owner who has a Facebook Page for her business, but I like to help out where I can. Helping people enjoy Facebook more overall helps everyone out: even marketers. With that in mind, I’m sharing and expanding on the advice I gave my nostalgic friend so that you can benefit from it as well.
If you want to see more posts from your friends, you have a few basic options: train the Facebook news feed to show you what you want to see, or use Friend Lists to work around the News Feed and see only posts from your friends.
The easiest way to train the News Feed algorithm is to interact with the friends whose posts you’d most like to see. Have you ever messaged someone whose posts you haven’t seen in a while, or “Facebook stalked” someone by visiting their Profile, and then immediately seen more posts from them in your News Feed? This is the algorithm at work. It is designed to show you posts from friends who are more relevant to you, including those you have interacted with recently. (Where it gets a bit creepy is when it shows you posts from people you were in physical proximity to without realizing it, since most of us have our location enabled on the Facebook mobile app.) To see more posts from your friends, interact with them and their posts more on Facebook. Like, love, wow, comment, and share. The more you interact, the better Facebook will learn.
If all else fails (or if you’re dead set against the News Feed algorithm) you can use Friend Lists. In the past, I’ve showed you how to use Friend Lists to limit the visibility of your own posts to certain groups of people. Friend Lists work the other way as well, allowing you to view posts from only certain groups. Click here to see your current friend lists, since Facebook pre-builds some for you based on information in your Facebook Profile. From there, you can click on a List to view only posts from that group of friends, or build new Friend Lists so that you can see posts from those groups of people. You can even make a Friend List that contains all of your Facebook friends, so that you can see a feed with everyone’s posts, free from ads or other posts by Pages.
You will notice, however, that these “friends only” feeds are far from the ideal stream you want them to be. They are not affected by Facebook’s algorithms, meaning you will see posts from friends you haven’t interacted with in a long time. The Uncle you added just to be nice, but whose politics you disagree with? He’s there. The friend of a friend you added at a party but have never hung out with (whose profile you have to look at to remember how you know her)? She’s there too. Wading through an unfiltered feed may end up making you nostalgic for the filtered, ad-ridden News Feed that was annoying you so much.
My point is this: as flawed as it is, Facebook’s News Feed and the algorithms that control it are there for a reason. The ads that annoy you are also how Facebook makes the money they need to keep running and keep you using their free service to connect with your friends. The steps you take to avoid Page posts from businesses that you don't like might also prevent you from seeing posts from organizations you support. You may also miss posts and ads from Pages that you actually might like, but wouldn't have heard of otherwise. When you learn how to use the News Feed to show you the content you want, you will have a better experience overall.