Facebook’s New Algorithm Changes and How They Affect Your Business

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Having a prominent online presence is a must for any business today. Along with websites, social media has become a major part of that necessary online visibility. A Facebook business page is a valuable platform where you can engage with your clients, receive reviews, and establish your brand. If you have a Facebook business page, then you’ve probably noticed that Facebook controls who sees your posts. Facebook has a certain algorithm that decides what information will show up in users’ feeds, and its algorithm is designed to prefer certain types of content over others. Recently, Facebook announced a major overhaul of its algorithm. In January, Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook’s News Feed team, said that the new feed will “show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.” This might sound like bad news for your business, and it is true that, in general, the algorithm changes are not favorable to business pages. But don’t despair or delete your business page yet; there are ways to overcome these new restrictions. We’ll overview them here, as well as some tips on how to keep your page and its posts visible.

 

Facebook’s Algorithm Changes

In order to keep your Facebook business page relevant and effective, it’s important that you (or your social media manager) understand Facebook’s recent algorithm changes:

Prioritize Content from Friends

Facebook did not beat around the bush in announcing this change. They make it very clear that the new algorithm will show personal posts from individual friends higher in news feeds. This doesn’t mean your post won’t be seen, it just makes it more important that your post receive engagement in order to get a higher reach. If your post receives reactions, comments, or shares, those will count as “actions” taken by users’ family and friends and will thus show up in more news feeds. This means it’s more important than ever to create content that directly asks for and encourages interaction.

Less Public Content

This particularly affects news outlets, publishers, and business pages. Facebook has decided that users want to see less public and more private content. Part of the reason for taking this step is to try to cut down on “fake” news being distributed by pseudo news sites that have multiplied and thrived on Facebook. However, legitimate businesses are disadvantaged by this change as well. The best way to overcome this change is to make your posts personal and relevant to your audience. Avoid sounding “spammy” or selling too heavily. Instead, share content that is helpful and meaningful to your audience.

More Meaningful Social Interactions

In trying to adjust to its users’ needs and desires, Facebook is now attempting to improve users’ experiences on Facebook by making their interactions more psychologically fulfilling. Recent studies have shown that the more time spent passively on Facebook, the worse users’ moods became. In an attempt to counteract this negative affect, Facebook is now trying to make news feeds more positive and interactive. More social, if you will. That means posts that start getting conversations going will get boosts into more news feeds and show up higher in news feeds. Not just a few comments here and there, but multiple comments that have replies to them as well—a true conversation. This continues the trend that Facebook started when they added the reply to comments feature a couple of years ago. In order to reach a larger audience, Facebook business posts need to be effective conversation starters. However, don’t specifically request certain actions from users (i.e., “like this post to be entered in a drawing”). Facebook will demote any posts that ask for direct steps from users. Instead, ask open-ended questions that invite users to share their thoughts and opinions.

Users Do Have Control

Common sense would suggest that “following” a page means you’ll see every post that page publishes, and most people probably believe that this is the case. However, Facebook still limits these posts from reaching news feeds. Even though “following” a page doesn’t guarantee you will see every post, the content that shows up in users’ Facebook feeds is not entirely a roll of the dice. Users can set preferences to continue to see all of the posts from certain pages. By going to the “News Feed” tab, users can actually prioritize the pages and friends that they are most interested in seeing content from. This means that if your followers take this step, they will see ALL of your posts. You should inform your fans and followers of this, perhaps through a Facebook post or email, so that they can be guaranteed of seeing each post.

 

Tips for Posting with the New Algorithm

Don’t worry! While these changes certainly mean businesses have to put a little extra thought and effort into their posts, it doesn’t mean that posting isn’t worth the effort. Engaging clients on a casual, social platform like Facebook is still a very worthwhile endeavor. A Facebook presence keeps your brand relevant, visible, and memorable. You can always pay to have a post shown as an ad (which is what Facebook is trying to push businesses towards), but a better longterm solution is to create quality posts that generate an organic, natural reach on their own. Here are some tips for how to adjust your posts to be more effective under the new Facebook algorithm:

Videos

Facebook has always loved videos, and the new algorithm still prefers them. Original videos are the best, rather than sharing links to online videos. Take a quick video on your smartphone of yourself or your employees at work. It doesn’t have to be anything serious or scripted—make it fun and personal. Create a theme with which you can start a series of videos, posting them two or three times a week, to gather a following of those coming back for the “sequel.” Short and sweet is key for social media videos, 1-2 minutes is all you need—if the video is too long, viewers won’t watch for the entire video, which can actually decrease your reach. The longer viewers stay, the better your video will perform in Facebook’s algorithm. So try to give your video a catchy opening that grabs attention and makes viewers stick around.

Pictures

Of course every post should have a picture or video—never post information without including a visual. While videos are preferred, a good picture can go a long way in boosting a post’s reach. You can find free, high quality pictures on websites like Pixabay. It’s a good idea to edit the pictures to make them more original, using websites like PicMonkey or Canva. Original content will seem more personal and tailored to your brand. Pictures should have bright, bold colors, catch the eye, and include text that sums up the topic of the post quickly and visibly. Remember that users are scrolling through their news feed quickly, so for a post to catch their eye the picture needs to pop and grab attention. Try to choose pictures that contain people—humans are more interested in seeing people than things!

Links

Links make for a quick and easy post, but be careful not to overuse these. This is the kind of post that the new Facebook algorithm will demote, because it’s not original or personal. Make sure it’s a great article or video that will initiate a lot of sincere interaction or conversation. Also, be mindful of what the included picture looks like as you prepare to share the link. If it’s a low-quality or boring picture, you can actually include your own in its place. To do this, simply locate a relevant picture and save to your computer. Then when you are creating the post, click on the large square with the + sign to the right of the picture included from the article at the bottom of the post. Upload your desired picture. Then scroll through and click the small “x” at the top right of the old picture to delete it. Your new chosen picture will appear in its place as the article link, and will catch more attention as viewers scroll through their feeds.

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Kati Crump
Kati is a content writer for Visibly Connected. She enjoys creating a unique voice and personality for each business that she represents, and establishing effective communication between that business and its customers.

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