Algorithm Changes: A New Facebook Strategy
Don't worry, no re-haul required!
It’s coming again, but don’t you worry! In this post, we’re not talking about a completely different Facebook strategy. Let’s simply work to enhance what you already have.
I’m sure you’ve heard business owners stress about declining organic reach on Facebook. In fact, throughout the past year, many have changed their Facebook strategy to combat the effects of these changes:
- Shaw Academy also shared one in August 2015
- Here’s one from Neil Patel in September of 2015
- And, one from Marketing Tech Blog from January of 2016
- We even shared one in February of 2016
These are just four of the many posts over the past year that have shared advice on how to improve Facebook strategy success.
Due to the fact that Facebook hasn’t always sent out discourse about their changes, we used to discover our latest Facebook strategies from our own and others’ trial and error. This time, Facebook sent out a really great post detailing the changes: News Feed FYI: Helping Make Sure You Don’t Miss Stories from FriendsDo you adjust your Facebook strategy solely based on trial & error? Click To Tweet
Through surveys (you might have seen one pop-up on your profile) and likely other methods of information gathering, Facebook heard loud and clear that users want to see stories from their friends first.
This is now their priority. Well, it’s always been a priority, but now they’ve discovered a new algorithm to strengthen it.
Point blank: Facebook is raising up the posts from your Facebook friends and pushing down posts from pages. No need to fret! That doesn’t necessarily mean that your posts won’t be seen.
Facebook takes the responsibility of properly ordering our News Feeds very seriously. They actually have a whole set of values dedicated to the craft.
Here’s a snippet from Facebook’s News Feed Values:
We are not in the business of picking which issues the world should read about. We are in the business of connecting people and ideas — and matching people with the stories they find most meaningful.
So, what’s changing? Let’s move ahead!
A New Facebook Strategy
It’s now all about shares (with subsequent third-party likes).
Facebook clearly states that they think their customers will be happiest if, at the top of their News Feeds, they see content from:
- Friends and family they closely follow, which includes those they engage with often via likes, clicks, comments, and shares
- Friends’ posts they’ve chosen to “See First”
- Posts shared from friends they closely follow (shown by #1 and #2 above)
It’s not enough to have your content shared, though. Having many shares does show Facebook that your followers love you, but it doesn’t show them that your followers’ friends want to see you in their feeds.
Facebook wants to see that your followers’ friends interact with your content. If they do, Facebook will reward you by placing your posts in more News Feeds. If these third-party folks don’t engage, your posts might sadly stay a bit more hidden.
In summary: When Facebook wants to see your followers’ friends engage with you. Use your analytics to discover the highest engaged posts. Send more of those, and you might just hit the algorithm jackpot!
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What to keep from your former Facebook Strategy
1. Informational and Entertaining Content
Facebook tells us that our News Feeds should still:
Based on what Facebook has learned from posts someone has liked, clicked, commented on, and shared, they start discovering what each individual deems informative. To you, sports scores might do it, whereas, for me, a DIY project might feel most informative. To someone else, it might be a news story or a recipe.
Facebook takes on the responsibility to discover the right mix for each user.
Just as we mentioned above, based on what Facebook has learned from posts someone has liked, clicked, commented on, and shared, they start discovering what each individual deems entertaining. This can vary greatly from person to person (celebrities, sports videos, live videos, animal memes, etc.).
Facebook uses data you've given them via likes, clicks, comments and shares to decide what to pull into the top of your News Feed.
2. A Focus on Engagement
No Facebook strategy would be complete without conversation about the famous L/C/C/S:
Likes/Reactions: The more likes or reactions to a post, the more Facebook tends to show your posts to others.
Clicks: The more clicks on links within your posts, the better!
Comments: If your followers take the time to comment, Facebook knows it's a good one to pass forward.
Shares: When your followers pass along your post to their friends and families, Facebook can be sure that your post was top-notch!
Adding to these four, I'd love to reiterate that the icing on the top of the L/C/C/S cupcake is when your followers' friends (ones who don't follow you) engage with your post!
3. Links and Media
We've cared about publishing posts with links and also attached media, such as pictures, graphics, and videos for quite a while now. They still do the trick (psst... and Facebook Live)!
All of this is still relevant because it encourages your followers to share your content. If your content makes your followers look good, they'll gladly share it. Not to mention, Facebook REALLY loves their newly created Facebook Live!If your content makes your followers look good, they'll gladly share it. Click To Tweet
Facebook users can control their News Feeds (kind of)
You know about the options to "Hide", "Unfollow" and "See First", right? These are tools each Facebook-er can use to affect their own space. When someone hides your post or unfollows you, Facebook assumes they aren't interested in what you have to say.
Quick caveat on how to find how many folks have hidden your content:
At the top of your page, you should see this toolbar. Click "Insights":
Scroll down until you see this, and click the right-arrow:
Scroll down until you see this down-arrow and click "Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam..."
Seeing the number of times each post has been hidden can give you a great indication of the posts that did or did not resonate with your followers.
Now, onto the positive side!
When a user clicks "See First" on your Facebook page, Facebook knows to jet your latest posts over to them as soon as they are published. This is a golden ticket to be seen.
As we spoke about in this post, it's ok to let your followers know the benefit they'll have by clicking your "See First" button. What can you guarantee for them?What's the real-deal behind this new Facebook algorithm? Click To Tweet
Do you have a new Facebook strategy?
Facebook makes it clear that they don't have the News Feed algorithm figured out. Really, there isn't a way for Facebook to ever have a handle on it all, because people, interests, and trends will continue to change. There's still a ton of work to do, and they need our help to craft subsequent iterations.
We view our work as only 1 percent finished — and are dedicated to improving along the way. As we look for ways to get better, we will continue soliciting feedback. We will be as open as we can — providing explanations in News Feed FYI wherever possible and looking for opportunities to share how we work.