How Facebook Changes Affect Parks and Rec (and 4 Ways to Adapt)

By Roxanne Sutton | Posted on November 21, 2014

The headlines are daunting.

  • The Fall of Facebook 
  • Is Facebook Still Worth it for Brands?
  • Brands Are Wasting Time and Money on Facebook and Twitter, Report Says 

This week, the New York Times reported that Facebook will again change the rankings of posts from business pages making it harder than ever to organically show up in your fans’ newsfeeds. Basically, if your post sounds like an ad, you’d better buy an ad to get it to show up.

So what are park and rec pros supposed to do? We know our community members are social and checking in on Facebook, therefore, we still want to be where they are. But we also don’t want to waste a lot of time and resources on a website that isn’t going to give us a return on investment. 

Here’s the reality: It’s time to change course, not jump ship.



Grumpy Cat may not care about Facebook performance, but we do. 


Facebook’s changes simply mean that it’s time to reevaluate your social strategy and think of some creative ways to keep your community engaged. 

Here are four strategies you can start using now to make your social platforms work for you.

If you aren’t paying, keep your content light.  

Aim for social posts that get your community talking. Write more posts about your community and fewer posts about you and your programs. Post pictures from events, thank your community for being active and keep posts short. Make the posts easy for someone to “like." 

Make ‘em want to come back.  
Joel Klettke in an article from iAqcuire recommends incentivizing your engagement through recurring and predictable contests. If you always offer a free item on Tuesday for the first person to answer your weekly trivia question, people will know to keep coming back for more.
Since your regular Facebook posts won’t be reaching as many people, don’t spend as much time there. Chris Gayomali from Fast Company recommends spending more time building your email list and email content. If you’re used to posting on Facebook multiple times per day, scale it back to once a day and try something new like Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.  

Time to open up your wallet. 
While you may not have it in your budget immediately, it’s time to start setting aside some funds for Facebook advertising. While Facebook’s use as a free social marketing tool is diminishing, it does offer one of the most affordable and targeted advertising platforms anywhere. Start small. Try boosting a post for $50. If you’re promoting a fitness fair, target your posts to people who live in the zip code with interests that align to activities happening at your fair.  
The social media world is constantly evolving and there’s never going to be one right answer for your social strategy. The best thing you can do is to keep an ear open for the changes and trends, try new things and repeat strategies that work. And don’t worry; we’ll keep you posted too! 

Have you noticed less and less engagement with your posts on Facebook? Have you tried Facebook advertising? Share your challenges and successes in the comments below. 


Roxanne Sutton is NRPA’s Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist and office cat lady.