How Facebook’s News Feed Updates Will Impact PR

newsfeed_preferences_seefirstFacebook's ever-changing News Feed algorithm has been updated again, this time with the introduction of new tools intended to give users more control over what content they see.

The updated controls, detailed in a Facebook blog post, allow users to select whose content they see first, find new pages to connect to, unfollow people to hide their posts and reconnect with people they've unfollowed.

The ability for users to prioritize whose content they see first is getting most of the attention, and for good reason. Users can now pick up to 30 accounts to prioritize, and updates from those accounts will always appear at the top of their feeds. These posts will include a star to indicate to users that they have opted-in to see posts from those particular accounts.

While this new feature is by no means an earth-shattering revelation, it does add a few interesting wrinkles to Facebook PR strategies.

Now, the question to ask when crafting a branded Facebook presence will be: "How can we get users to prioritize our page?" This action promises to be a much more powerful one than a Like or share. At the same time, a prioritized brand will run the risk of overwhelming users by posting too much, opening up the potential to lose followers.

The new preferences are available now on Facebook's iOS app. In the coming weeks, the updated controls will be available on desktop and Android.

Attend PR News' Big 4 Conference at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on Aug. 6 and learn more about using Facebook for your brand with case studies from Derekh Froude of Edelman, Jen Martin Hall of Sharecare and Brenda Weigel of Aflac.

Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene