Oh algorithms, such a love/hate relationship for marketers, business owners, and bloggers a like. BUT whether you like it or not, Facebook has been releasing some major updates left and right! If you want to stay on top with your social posts (literally, on top of the News Feed), you've got to do more then just embrace the change. You need to plan for it and strategize your content around the latest and greatest updates. If you're groaning on the other end of that computer — not to worry loves, I'm going to make it as simple and action-focused as possible so you can have a full understanding of how these changes will effect you and what you can do to have a more loving relationship with Facebook.
What is an algorithm and why should I care?
For those of you that are not aware, Facebook's complex algorithm is what controls if our content will be shown to our audience and who (of the lucky few) that will get to see our posts. In the past it has been based off these factors:
- Interest: the interest a user has in the content creator
- Post: the post's performance amongst other users
- Creator: the performance of past posts from the creator amongst other users
- Type: post type (status, photo, link, video) that the user prefers
- Recency: how new and timely the post is
Now, these factors will still come into play when Facebook is deciding whether or not to show your content in your audience's News Feed, but it will also take into account the following...
Changes to the Facebook Algorithm
More love to the content you care about
This is an exciting one! Facebook will now be giving more potential reach (the possible amount of times a unique user can see your content) to your friends, family, and anyone who actively engages with your posts on a regular basis. So if you have an Aunt Sue who's always giving your page's posts a lot of love, guess who's posts are going to now show up more frequently on the top of her News Feed? That's right — yours!
This will be beneficial to pages as well who have brand advocates who are frequently interact with their content. Your posts will show up more on the top of their feeds so they will be less likely to miss a post.
How long you look at specific posts is now a factor
Thanks to our good friend, Jenn for giving us the heads up on this one! I totally agree — about time this became a factor! Facebook will now be considering how long your audience looks at a post in their News Feed to determine if more eyes will see that post. Love this analogy from Tech Crunch...
Take, for example, a breaking news items about an earthquake on the other side of the world — you’d probably feel weird hitting a button labeled “Like” on that one, and you might not have anything to say… but that doesn’t mean you don’t care.
In deed. Facebook, I do care. And so might others! Taking this into account, Facebook is adding the amount of time you spend looking at things in your feed, whether or not you activity interact with it, to the algorithm metrics.
Multiple posts from one source now okay
Previously Facebook would not show multiple posts from one source in a row in the News Feed. Now they have relaxed this restriction and are giving pages who share less content a greater opportunity to succeed. Love this!
Requests for likes, comments, shares are denoted
We saw Facebook paving the way for this crack-down last year when they began to denote "click-bait" headlines. You can read more about that here, but what you need to know is that moving forward, the algorithm will give you less potential reach on your posts when you ask for "likes", "comments", or "shares". This change does force us to get a little bit more crafty with our posts, but I support it since it will help reduce the noise and the spam.
Content will no longer show up in your audiences' News Feed when they like or comment
This one right here is SUPER important to understand. Ahem, past socialites, LISTEN UP! Your content will no longer be displayed in your audiences' News Feed when they like or comment on your posts.
For example, you will see less of these type of posts.
For the common Facebook user, this is a good thing but for us as page owners and marketers, it means again, we're going to have to get more resourceful! So keep reading my friends...
What you can do moving forward
As I said from the very beginning, there's no fighting these updates. If you want your posts to succeed, you're going to have to adapt and plan accordingly. Here's a couple things you can do today and moving forward to stay "in love" with this platform.
Post what your audience wants to see
Check your page Insights to compare how well your pasts posts have worked with your audience. Note if you see any trends (i.e do they prefer photos, videos, etc.?). Consider your copy (the words you used in your posts). What did you say? How did you say it? All of these factors can help you determine what your audience prefers to see. Once you know that, you can better cater your future content to fill these interests.
Start with best practices
This one is a little painful for me to recommend. Most of you who have been to our shops, understand how I feel about best practices. I think they're a great place to start, but are not catered to each individual and their unique audience. So, take these tips with a grain of salt, test them out, and see if they work for you.
Measure your results
To understand if you are posting what your audience likes and if these best practices work for you, you'll want to use your Insights to measure your results. By reviewing your posts' performance you can see the number of people your posts were shown to and how they interacted on your content.
Now that you have a solid understanding of what you can expect from our beloved algorithm, it's time to take this relationship to the next level! Although this news may be daunting but you now have the tools to deepen the resonance of your creative efforts with the updates.