Facebook is still the leading platform for marketers. From our State of Social Media 2016 report, we found that 93 percent of marketers are actively using Facebook for their business.

As social media marketers, we spend a lot of time on Facebook, managing our Pages, engaging our fans, finding good content, and creating ads.

In this post, I’d love to go through some of the less-known ways of customizing your Facebook News Feed to help you cut through the clutter, save time, and be more efficient.

Let’s jump right in.

Customize your Facebook News Feed

4 Key Areas of Your Facebook News Feed to Customize (and How to Customize Them)

For easy reference, here are the few sections we’ll cover in this post:

  1. News Feed
  2. Left sidebar
  3. Right column
  4. Right sidebar

Facebook homepage with annotations

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1. News Feed

Set your preferences

The News Feed is where we get most of the content and information on Facebook. With a few quick customizations, we can ensure that we see the most relevant and useful posts.

Facebook has made it really easy to set your preferences for your News Feed. To edit your News Feed Preferences, click on the drop-down arrow (Arrow) in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page and select “News Feed Preferences”:

News Feed Preferences

Alternatively, click on the three dots (Triple dots) beside “News Feed” on the left sidebar and select “Edit Preferences”:

Edit News Feed Preferences

In there, you will be able to adjust a few preferences:

Preferences

  • Prioritize who to see first: This allows you to choose whose posts would always appear at the top of your News Feed. You can select up to 30 people or Pages to see first, and they won’t be ranked (ie. your second selection wouldn’t be seen second). In this window, Facebook shows your friends first. If you want to select Pages to see first, click on “All” and select “Pages only”.
  • Unfollow people to hide their posts: This allows you to choose whose posts you want to stop seeing on your News Feed. You can filter by “Friends only”, “Pages only”, or “Groups only”. Only you will know who you have chosen to unfollow.
  • Reconnect with people you unfollowed: This allows you to follow a person, Page, or group that you unfollowed in the past. While checking this setting, I noticed I accidentally unfollowed a friend previously. So it might be worth checking this setting even if you might not have wanted to unfollow anyone.
  • Discover Pages that match your interests: To help you add more variety to your News Feed, Facebook also suggests some Pages you might like.
  • See more options: This section includes things like the apps you have previously chosen to hide from your News Feed.

Leverage notifications

Taking it a step further, you can even be notified whenever your favorite Facebook Page post something. Facebook gives you the option to choose the types of posts you want to be notified about.

Go to the Facebook Page, hover over the “Following” tab, and click on the pen icon (Pen icon) beside “Notifications”.

Page notifications

In there, you can adjust the notifications for the Page’s posts, events, and live videos.

Adjust notifications for pages

See most recent stories first

Facebook’s algorithm by default shows you the top stories from your friends, Pages you liked, and groups you are in, at the top of your News Feed. If you want to see the stories in the order they were posted, click on the three dots (Triple dots) to the right of “News Feed” on the left sidebar and select “Most Recent”.

Most recent settings

Your News Feed will automatically return to the default Top Stories setting when you visit your Facebook homepage again.

Teach Facebook’s algorithm your preferences

You can also “teach” Facebook’s Algorithm to stop showing things you don’t want to see so that it will show you what you want to see. This is a bit more manual and tedious but it allows you to curate the best content on your News Feed.

Whenever you see a type of post you want to stop seeing or see less of, click on the drop-down arrow (Arrow) in the upper-right corner of the post and you will see these options:

Hide post, unfollow Paul or hide all from Transformers

(I wouldn’t want to unfollow Paul or hide all from Transformers, though. 😉)

You can do the same for ads, too:

Hide ad

Adjust your video settings

Videos are becoming a big part of Facebook, and you are likely seeing more videos than other types of posts on your News Feed. Adjust your video settings to give yourself the best experience. You can change the default quality, stop auto-play, show captions, and customize captions display.

To access these settings, click on the drop-down arrow (Arrow) in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page and select “Settings”. Then, select “Videos” at the bottom of the left sidebar. (Or click this quick link to access these settings.)

Video settings

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2. Left Sidebar

The left sidebar is for you to quickly access different parts of Facebook. You will see three main categories: “Shortcuts”, “Explore”, and “Create”. The one we can customize is “Shortcuts”.

According to Facebook,

Shortcuts are quick links to some of your Pages, groups, and games. Shortcuts are selected automatically by default, but you can pin something to your shortcuts so it’s always shown at the top or hide it from the list.

When you hover over “Shortcuts”, an “Edit” link will appear. Click on that and you will be able to edit your shortcuts:

Shortcuts settings

For each Page, Group, or game, you can choose to sort it in the list automatically, pin to the top of the list, or hide it from the list. I’d recommend pinning the Facebook Pages and Groups you are managing to the top of the list.

Use friend lists

Just like Twitter, you can create lists to organize your friends. This allows you to see Facebook posts of certain groups of friends whom you are more interested in keeping in touch with.

You can find the “Friends List” option under “Explore” on the left sidebar.

Friend Lists

To help you get started, Facebook has created three lists for you:

  • Close Friends: Friends you may want to share exclusively with. You will get notifications when they post but can turn these extra notifications off at any time.
  • Acquaintances: People you might want to share less with. You can choose to exclude this group of people when you post something, by choosing “Friends except Acquaintances” in the audience selector.
  • Restricted: This list is for people you’ve added as a friend but just don’t want to share with (maybe your boss). When you add someone to your Restricted list, they will only be able to see your Public content or posts of yours that you tag them in.

These lists are empty to start with. Once you click through to any list, there will be an “Edit List” option for you to add and remove people from the list.

You can also create your own friend lists by selecting “Create List”.

Bonus: Facebook also creates Smart Lists for you. Smart lists are automatically updated based on profile info your friends have in common with you (like your work, school, family, and city). You can also manually add and remove friends from the smart lists to make them more accurate.

View other feeds

Apart from the News Feed you see on the homepage, there are two other feeds you can view.

1. Pages Feed of pages you have liked with your personal account

Pages Feed

This feed shows you the recent updates from the Pages you’ve liked. I believe these updates are also arranged using Facebook’s algorithm as they aren’t arranged chronologically.

You can access this feed by clicking on “Pages Feed” on the left sidebar under “Explore”.

2. Pages Feed of pages you have liked as your Facebook Page

Your Page's Pages Feed

There is a feed that shows you only the posts from other Pages that you have liked as your Page. This is a convenient way to engage with other Pages using your Page or to conduct research on other Pages.

You can choose to like and comment on these posts as yourself or your Facebook page. To change this setting, click on the tiny profile image in the lower-right corner of each post.

Liking and commenting options

The option to see this feed isn’t quite on the left sidebar. To access this feed, go to your Facebook Page and click on “See Pages Feed” on the right column.

See Pages Feed

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3. Right column

Get a quick overview of your Facebook ads

On the right column of your Facebook homepage, you might see a section with information about your Facebook ads. I believe this section appears if you are using or have used Facebook ads for any of your Facebook Pages.

Page Summary

You can switch between your Facebook Pages to see their respective ad results. Click on the drop-down arrow (Arrow) beside the name of your Facebook Page to toggle between your Pages.

Switch between pages

The Page you select will become the default.

In this section, there will be

  • a tip for Facebook ads
  • this week’s ad results
  • latest unread message for the Page
  • today’s ad results (you can toggle to yesterday’s or lifetime results)
  • options to create an ad or a post

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4. Right sidebar

Show or hide games, tickers, and chat

On the right sidebar, there are three sections:

  • Facebook games
  • a real-time ticker of your friend’s activities
  • Facebook chat sidebar

Right sidebar (Games, Ticker, and Chat)

If you find the games and ticker distracting, you can turn them off by clicking on the gear icon (Gear icon) in the lower-right corner and selecting “Hide Games” and “Hide Ticker”.

It can be quite handy to leave the Facebook chat sidebar there. HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 report found that 38 percent and 24 percent of marketers prefer to use social media and messaging apps respectively for business-related communications. With the chat sidebar, you can quickly send a fellow marketer a message if you two prefer to connect through Facebook.

If message pop-ups tend to distract you, you can also choose to turn off chat. Messages from friends will automatically go to your inbox for you to read later.

Bonus: There are advanced chat settings where you can turn off chat for certain friends or lists of friends.

Advanced chat settings

If you find the right sidebar too distracting, you can turn it off entirely, too. Click on the gear icon (Gear icon) in the lower-right corner, and there will be an option to “Hide Sidebar”.

Use the Messenger web browser app

If you use Facebook Messenger for your work but don’t want to be distracted by your Facebook notifications, I’d recommend using Facebook Messenger’s web browser app.

Facebook Messenger standalone app

I have been using it for more than a year now, and it has been really helpful in preventing me from being distracted by new notifications.

Over to You

Facebook is one of the best platforms (or the best) for social media marketing. By taking the time to make some slight tweaks, we can greatly improve our productivity while working on our Facebook marketing.

What are some of the Facebook productivity tips I have missed?

It’d be fun to get your help to crowdsource more ideas. If you have any customization tips to share, it’d be great to hear from you in the comments below!

Image credit: Facebook

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Written by Alfred Lua

Content Crafter at Buffer. I swim, cycle, and run a lot. When I’m not doing all those, I love to read and try new things.

  • Well Alfred, you took all my shortcuts already, so nothing new to add. This is a very beneficial post for so many people! Thanks, 4 cheers to the Bufferoos, and I’ll be sharing this with my network today. 🙂 @stevehedstrom:disqus / @HedstromMedia

    • Hey @stevehedstrom:disqus, I’m glad I covered all the shortcuts you have been using. If you learn new, cool shortcuts, I’ll be curious to hear from you. 🙂 Thanks, too, Steve!

  • When I had an office-based job, I had what I thought to be the most wonderful discipline when it came to Facebook. I spent only a few minutes browsing my News Feed, and only before office hours and during breaks. But when I started working remotely– oh my goodness, I discovered that maybe my amazing discipline stayed in my old office! The See First function is GREAT, but sometimes I don’t realize that I’d gone past my See Firsts and have been scrolling aimlessly for the past 15 minutes! Aiyayayay! I resorted to only opening the Messenger web browser app (which is an absolute godsend) and the Pages that I managed. I stayed AWAY from the timesuck that is my News Feed.

    But with all these tips, I can work work towards not being afraid of my News Feed. I had no idea about some of these–like the fact that I could hide those games in the sidebar, hallelujah! Not that they were taking my attention, but they’re unnecessary clutter. And then some of these tips are a great reminder of settings I should revisit. Thanks for putting this together, Alfred!

    • Hey @sarahcada:disqus! Awesome to see your comment on my blog post! 🙂 It can be so tricky sometimes, isn’t it? I quite like that Facebook breaks its features up into separate products like Messenger and Page Manager so that I can focus on one thing at a time and not be distracted.

      I’m really glad that you found these tips useful! To being more productive! 🚀

  • I found the section on adjusting your video settings to be particularly helpful. Efficacious read!

    • Awesome, @soul_mining:disqus! Hope it improves your Facebook experience!

  • Michelle Chopin

    Great article highlighting a number of areas that many folks might not find on their own (it took me a while to find where I could browse all the pages my company page has liked!).

    One thing I would add for the video settings, is that for those of us with more limited data plans (I only have 1GB monthly), you might want to adjust the Auto-Play feature to be “On Wifi Only” or to turn it off so you control when the video plays. When the default was changed to always play videos, I cleared through my data plan in no time without realizing until too late and was then reliant on wifi only for everything until my plan reset.

    With Facebook being a great source for us marketers, these are some great tips to ensure that we aren’t distracted by the things that aren’t key to our jobs. Thanks for the info!

  • These are all terrific suggestions, until FB changes their algorithm again, which they do on a regular basis.

    One of the absolute best suggestions I can make is to install the Social Fixer plugin. It’s available for all major browsers, and it lets you completely customize your FB feed. More importantly, it keeps those settings for you. Your Recent Stories setting stays set. You can block entire topics, like Politics/Election 2017. You can make sure game requests never appear in your feed, or “People You May Know.” In short, you can make your feed look like you want it to look.

    I’m not connected with the plugin at all. Check socialfixer.com for more info, and download links.

    • That looks like an interesting tool, @disqus_D4rd2jdK27:disqus. I can see how that will be useful for the people who want to customize their Facebook more than what Facebook currently offers. Thanks for sharing!

    • Johnny Grimmer

      I second @disqus_D4rd2jdK27:disqus ‘s Social Fixer suggestion. I have used that in the past with great success, it offers a lot of customizable features that can make interacting with Facebook’s entire platform, more enjoyable.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for the info. I have a quick question though. When it comes to your section: 2. Pages Feed of pages you have liked as your Facebook Page, I’ve found this only works if you are using the desktop version of Facebook. When I’m using the mobile app, I don’t get the tiny profile picture in the corner or am I missing something?

    • Hi Jennifer, great question! I just took a look, and it seems that the tiny profile picture would only appear on posts by your Facebook Page. Curious if you are seeing that on the mobile app? 🙂

  • Ashley
  • Divya Pant

    Valuable information about our Facebook News Feed . Looking forward to seeing your notes posted. The information you have posted is very useful. Keep going on, good stuff. Thank you for this valuable information. I have enjoyed reading many of the articles and posts contained on the website, keep up the good work and hope to read some more interesting content in the future. http://ssapptricks.com/yelp/

  • Awesome blogpost for effective Facebook marketing.

  • Thank you for the tips!
    I am terrible at customizing, I prefer templates haha but I will give it a go!

    • Oh, having templates will be so handy! Would love to hear how it goes for you. Thanks for checking out this post, @jaywi:disqus! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing this info Alfred. I really liked the see first feature in which we have to click on the STAR icon to get top prioritised post on the top of news feed.

    • You’re welcome, @infinistaconcepts:disqus. Yeah, it’s one of my favorite Facebook features. I like seeing some of my family members and friends’ post first. 🙂

  • Natalia

    Another great piece, Alfred! Some great tips here, thank you 🙌🏼

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for the comment, @natt_andra:disqus! 🚀

  • Animesh Jaswal

    very nice blog on social media but can you tell me more about how our facebook feeds help us in getting more engagements ?

    url- https://www.webphantoms.com/services/

  • Facebook Marketing with quality content can increase your sales.

  • jane48463

    To improved our productivity in the social media especially in the Facebook this post help us so more. i think most of the users are know about this and they also start to use the feature so more.