Facebook News Feed Algorithm: Can We Beat the System?

We all know that social media is an ever-evolving space. Even as this blog post is being written, changes are being made to enhance consumer experience across social media. It’s a more intriguing time than ever before, especially for Facebook. We’ve seen Facebook experiment with ways to better the news feed, both with algorithm updates and a failed test of the Explorer Feed, a separate, dedicated feed specifically for brands.

At the start of 2018, Facebook announced its quest to bring people on the platform closer together. So what’s the catch? Well, according to Mark Zuckerberg, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media.” Now you’re probably thinking, “So, what does this mean for our brand?” “Facebook is one of the strongest advertising platforms we have; how will we live with this change?” In this blog post, we’ll take a look at exactly what these changes are, how they’ll affect brands and how you can leverage this to meet your 2018 marketing goals.

First thing’s first: the change.

Facebook is currently on a mission to bring people together on the social platform by prioritizing content that’s meaningful to spark conversations. This essentially means that posts with higher engagement (think likes, comments, shares) and posts that are meaningful to communities (think Facebook group posts) will be prioritized in users’ news feeds. While the paid-first approach has always been important for Facebook, we’ve finally made it to the point where this approach is going from an option to a must-have. Don’t bid Facebook goodbye when discussing your social strategy.

Organic reach is on the decline.

A terrible sentence to write that’s terribly true. It was only a matter of time before brands were deprioritized in Facebook’s news feed, prolonging the struggle organic reach has faced for a while now. Relying on organic reach is no longer an option. To put some perspective on this: What’s a reach of 2,000 people when you have over 100,000 users on Facebook who like or even follow your page? Now, only time will tell if this algorithm change is putting the nail in the organic coffin. For example, one company that relied heavily on organic reach is blaming the new Facebook algorithm for its downfall. Before jumping to conclusions, though, it’s important to understand engagement within your industry, testing your messaging to learn if the algorithm changes will impact your business on the platform.

    How do you win against the algorithm?

    We’re getting this question a lot, and the answer is pretty complex. Here’s our perspective on the best way to win against the algorithm:

  1. 1. A paid-first approach.

    It’s important to leverage the paid capabilities of Facebook to help consumers and audiences see your message. Keep in mind that your KPIs will drive your social strategy with these decisions, but this is something that can definitely be considered if you want to boost your engagement with your content. This leads us to the next point.

  2. 2. Create highly engaging content.

    Again, if you consider including the first point above, this content will be engaging. Have you been scrolling through your Facebook thinking, “Well as I’m reading this article, I’m still seeing page posts from my favorite brands.” Think about how many likes, comments and shares you saw on that post. Were there a lot? If so, there’s your answer. The Facebook algorithm senses that people are interacting heavily with the content. Therefore, it’s sensing the importance of it to the Facebook community and serving it to your feed.

  3. 3. Make sure your content is authentic.

    Engaging content for Facebook is more than just engaging. If you think about it, any brand can make their content engaging. What’s important is to create engaging, yet authentic content. Try not to use engagement bait, which is where you use phrases such as “Like this if you agree” or “Comment with your favorite memory.” Even though the algorithm loves engaging content, it will sniff out engagement bait and deprioritize content like this.

  4. 4. If it’s appropriate for your brand, start a Facebook group for your fan base.

    In these groups, community managers can lead discussions around topics relevant to your brand. With Facebook groups being seen as important for community interaction in the new algorithm, you can take this into consideration with your social strategy to see if this will work for your brand or not.

  5. 5. Designate a community manager.

    Along with having engaging content (boosting posts or creating Facebook groups), it will be important to have a community manager on hand and ready to engage with consumers. Have you ever reached out to a brand as a consumer to compliment them on Facebook and received a response? Isn’t that feeling rewarding? By interacting back with the consumers, engagement rates and the likeliness of engagement will go up, thus feeding the algorithm what it wants. Facebook is a platform that is putting value and focus back on the community. By building these relationships with consumers and bringing out the authenticity of your brand, it’s going to be imperative to get your fans to “like” you on Facebook.

Summing things up…

The Facebook algorithm is complex and often tough to understand. It’s important to revisit your social strategy to make sure it takes the algorithm changes into consideration. Take these words with a grain of salt, and remember to keep in touch with your community on social media.

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