In January 2018 Facebook announced it was changing the way posts from Pages appear in people’s news feed – ie. they are changing the Facebook algorithm. Again.
Page posts will still appear in the newsfeed, though there may be fewer of them.”
Before I get into what this means for your business, let me answer:
What is the Facebook Algorithm?
The average person on Facebook has about 338 Friends and Liked 70 Pages. According to Facebook, that means you have the potential to see about 2,000 posts per day from your Friends and Pages.
2,000 posts a day is a lot! If they all showed up when you logged in it would be overwhelming. You’d never see it all, you’d miss things you really wanted to see.
Before long we’d all give up and go elsewhere.
Hence the Facebook Algorithm.
Facebook filters (they call it curating) your newsfeed so you only see content Facebook thinks you will be interested in. They’re trying to keep you on Facebook for as long as possible, and keep you coming back.
For businesses this means when you make a post on Facebook, not everyone who has Liked your Page will see it. This is frustrating to a lot of business owners because they don’t understand the algorithm or how to make sure people are seeing their posts. Never mind growing their audience.
How Has the Facebook Algorithm Changed?
Facebook believes we interact more naturally with our actual family and friends. So to keep people “engaged” they’re going to show us more posts from people we actually know; people we interact with frequently.
It also means our newsfeeds will see fewer posts from Pages.
According to Facebook:
The impact will vary from page-to-page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and show people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decrease in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
Likes, comments and shares of content (including sharing content privately via Facebook messenger) are all signals that Facebook will use to decide what posts will appear in the newsfeed.
The big takeaway from this is you’d better be posting things on Facebook that gets people commenting, Liking and sharing. If not … crickets.
Don’t Use Engagement Bait
Big caution here – Facebook will penalize Pages that use engagement bait. What’s that you ask? You’ve seen them. Posts that ask readers to “click Like if you prefer ice cream, click Love if you prefer chips”.
They’re not adding value or causing conversations. People aren’t likely to share those types of posts. They’re basically Facebook Spam.
Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in the newsfeed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook.”
Live video baby! I know you hate getting on camera. I do too. But if you want to get organic (free) reach on Facebook, Facebook Live is a must.
Don’t just share a link (even if it’s to your own blog posts) but include commentary – why you think the post is important. I’ve seen people creating videos to include in their posts that link to a blog post. Lots more work than copy and paste but if it gets results, it’s worth it.
Get personal. Don’t just be a corporate brand. Showcase your personality. Show yourself. Some of my posts that garner the most engagement are ones where I share more about myself, not just the business.
Don’t share the same content to Facebook that you share on all your other social networks. There’s some evidence that posting directly to your Facebook page rather than using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer generates better results. I’ve seen that myself.
Encourage people who already know you to follow your Facebook page and interact. For example, if you have an email list (tell me you have an email list!), why not send an email telling them when you’re doing a Facebook Live. Since they already know you, if the topic is of interest they’re more likely to engage with you than a cold audience.
Run Facebook ads, particularly to your own followers. Why pay to have your own fans see your content? I know it pisses off a lot of business owners but look at it this way. If you run an ad in the local paper, you’re paying to show your ad to tons of people who have no interest in your products or services.
But these are people who already like you. The actually went to your Facebook page and chose to hit “Like”. Spend a few dollars to make sure they see your posts.
You don’t need to promote every post. I often see an uptick in organic reach in the days following a post I promoted to my fans. If your organic reach is down, plan on spending some money over the next month to remind your fans that you’re still around.
So just to summarize:
- Facebook marketing isn’t dead, the algorithm has just been tweaked.
- If you want your audience to see your posts create great content that starts conversations and encourages sharing.
- Do Live Video
- Don’t use “engagement bait”
- Get ready to spend money on Facebook ads