It’s no secret that Facebook changes things up from time to time. Everything from design style to the news feed algorithm gets overhauled every once in a while. But to be fair, this has been true since the beginning of Facebook. Remember when everyone freaked out when Facebook adopted the wall?
There are a thousand things I would like to talk (mostly complain) about concerning Facebook and the way it judges relevant content, but for today, I want to tackle the new-ish algorithm change and what Facebook is saying about it. The biggest change we see on this topic for pages has been answered by Facebook as follows:
“Pages might see some declines in referral traffic if the rate at which their stories are clicked on does not match how much people report wanting to see those stories near the top of their News Feed. This update helps rebalance those two factors, so people are seeing relevant stories to them.” – Facebook Newsroom
Before overhauling the news feed, Facebook surveyed users and asked questions targeted to identify what people are most interested in reading about. The news feed algorithm looks at two things specifically, trending topics and timing of likes and comments. If you are engaged watching a football game and talking about it on Facebook, your news feed will reflect that. A post that is being liked and commented on by your friends is likely to show up higher in your feed as people are interacting with it. The longer the post goes without interaction, the lower it will show up in your news feed.
It seems like every time I have a handle on Facebook and Facebook advertising, my reach and referral traffic both crash and I have to start from square one. Around here we try to stay on top of what Facebook is doing. Based off of some research and input from good friends, I put together a little list of do’s and don’ts that should help your success on Facebook with the new algorithm in play.
- Don’t create a post with the sole purpose of begging for likes and comments. With the new algorithm, asking for likes and comments “temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time.” Effectively, Facebook warns against this type of posting because it skews results temporarily and might actually do more harm than good in the long run when your social interaction evens back out.
- Don’t just post on topics that are trending to gain more reach. If the subject is relevant to you and your business, sure, go for it. But if you are posting content that the core of your audience isn’t interested in, you’re pushing yourself further down the news feed and ranking as irrelevant for your audience.
- Post Frequently. Being consistent with quality content that will help people identify you as a resource for information or interesting content is the best way to increase your reach and move you up that news feed.
- Target your efforts. The big change with Facebook stems from the desire to show the right people, the right content at the right time. Targeting your content is the best way to achieve that and Facebook makes it easy to reach a very defined group of people if you so choose.
- Advertise. From the research I’ve done, Facebook recommends boosting posts. What I’ve read elsewhere is to not listen to Facebook and create specific, targeted campaigns. There is a big difference between the two and if you are serious about advertising on Facebook, it is more than worth the extra effort to create a campaign as opposed to clicking the boost post button. Created campaigns give you more options for targeting the right audience, with the right interests at the right time which is what the new algorithm is aiming to do.
If you want to reach your audience on Facebook, you have to keep up. Not all change is bad and to stay relevant as a platform and compete with other channels, Facebook needs to make changes from time to time. Although frustrating for advertisers and general users, it is necessary to make the platform better and a place people want to stick around. Little changes here and there can make a big difference in the way you advertise and write posts to your audience.
If you’re ready to start advertising on Facebook, grab a copy of Dominate Facebook.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.