It was on January 11th 2018 that Facebook announced a major change in its News Feed Algorithm. In a major blow to marketers who highly rely on Facebook for its business, this move meant a major change in their strategy. The New Facebook algorithm prioritizes ‘meaningful and conversational’ content from friends and family over that from brands/businesses. This means, targeted content from businesses is deprioritized. This change comes due to Facebook’s decision to stay true to their core values i.e. connecting people. Facebook’s chief mission to connect people has been emphasized over and over.
So, what does this new development have in store for brands and businesses? To what extent will businesses suffer on the hands of the Facebook Algorithm?
How are online marketers supposed to catch up and retain user traffic?
Let’s dive deep into this. First things first, let’s review how Facebook is using features to prioritize content in users’ news feed algorithm:
- The most noticeable change is that Facebook has changed its measure of looking at user engagement. Earlier, popularity of Facebook was solely determined by the amount of time users spent on Facebook. That time could be used up in hovering randomly over one’s news feed. With the new Facebook Algorithm instead of time spent online, Facebook has taken into account the users’ activity. Whether the user is just reading/hovering over posts or actually engaging with his/her friends and groups. This is the new measure Facebook is using to determine its meaningfulness and popularity.
- Likes and shares: Facebook used to focus on well-liked and highly shared content, which it does now also but in a different way. Now, the reaction emoticons and the discussion on shared posts are given importance over simply liking, hovering and sharing.
- The logic behind this is that if a user takes time to give a ‘love’ reaction as opposed to simply ‘like’, then that post holds high importance. In a similar way, anyone can share posts. But what matters is which shared post gets more people talking. So, the shared post that has more comments will obviously be visible first.
- Other than sharing, Facebook has recognized that the content which people share with their friends on Messenger is very important. If the user is taking time out to send a post in messenger, then that content must mean something to them.
- Facebook Algorithm has noted and acknowledged the influence of ‘Facebook Groups’. Many people use Facebook in a very productive way by staying active on groups which they are a part of. Facebook Groups are very popular in communities as they encourage dialogue and lead to discussions. This keeps people hooked onto the site.
- Another important criteria are how informative is the post. If pages post creative and engaging content then it is considered more meaningful. It’s about how organic and informative your content is.
- Another thing that Facebook Algorithm strictly warns against is using posts as ‘engagement baits’. You have to create authentic content; and not sensational posts that lead to false participation. Opting for baiting the users to validate activity is highly discouraged.
- Facebook reported that live videos lead to 6 times more interaction than regular videos. This makes live streams very engaging and if used at peak time can lead to higher ranking of your content.
So, what tips should businesses and online marketers keep in mind while operating ads and content on Facebook? Here we list down some few essentials that will come in handy post The New Facebook Algorithm:
- For a brand, the completeness of profile matters a lot. It adds to the page’s legitimacy. More people are going to see your activity and engage in it if you seem legitimate.
- The time at which a brand posts something also affects popularity. If you post something at a time when users are most likely to be online then it sure could trigger higher interaction.
- Invest more in advertising. Facebook Targeted ads will become necessary in connecting with potential customers. Since people will now get to see less of businesses’ activities you have to know the right way to target your ad to people.
- Connect with social media influencers. Thanks to their high following, they can help you popularize your brand. Your content could reach millions of people if you work with the right influencer who is appropriate for your brand.
- Increase your interaction with followers. Engage with them on every comment. This will lead to more discussion. Additionally, reinforce your followers to opt for ‘See First’ choice. This way, your content will be visible to them first thing in their feed.
- Another way to increase discussion is narrowing down your audience on each post. You can post something that is more relevant to a particular group. This way, people may find the most relatable and subsequently comment.
- Shift towards Facebook groups. Start groups and invite your followers to discuss what they feel about your product. Send invitation links to people and try to form a community. Post engaging content and keep the group active.
- Create interesting hashtags and use them effectively.
- Create Facebook engaging and informative content that triggers discussion.
- Start audience poll contests. Not only does this lead to active discussion, but it may also get a lot of shares. Entertaining posts like these catch people’s attention easily.
- Incorporate videos in your activity. Videos are known to enjoy good viewership and shares.
- Make the best use of your employee base. Your Facebook page’s reach can grow multifold if all employees share your activity. Since the new Facebook Algorithm prioritizes friends’ and family’s posts, you can reach out to more people if all your employees actively share.
- Use graphics in your posts.’ Facebook’s Best Practices’ show that visual content makes for 89% more engagement than text.
- Businesses should make sure of the quality and creativity of the content. Post unique content that unleashes a fresh angle.
- Embrace paid reach. Use ads aggressively to reach out to your audience, be it ramping up existing campaigns or starting new ones.