What New Algorithm?
If you feel a little in the dark, have no fear. Let’s start from the beginning before the Facebook scandal emerged this past spring. In January of 2018, Zuckerberg made a big announcement that Facebook’s algorithm, or how they decide what shows up on your (and your customers’) feed, is changing in a big way. This change prioritizes content from friends, family, and groups and is meant to promote engagement between users (likes, shares, etc.). This change, allegedly, improves user experience so they see more content they care about. However, they will see less content from businesses, brands, and media – aka you. Here’s Facebook’s official press release announcing this algorithm change.
Before this algorithm change, anyone who liked your page easily saw your content. Now, someone who likes your business page may never see your posts! One workaround is to kindly ask your audience to click “See First” on your page. “See First” users will view your posts near the top of their timelines when they log in.
If you can’t coax people into subscribing to your updates, you must gain real engagements instead. However, you’re now striving for more than just “likes.”
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It’s About “Engagement”
As of 2018, Facebook favors content that sparks engagement between users. There are two types of Facebook engagement: passive and active. Passive engagements are likes, click-throughs, or views. Active engagements are comments or shares. Facebook’s new algorithm prefers the latter. Active engagement is a sure tell sign that the content or post is of quality and is, therefore, more meaningful to users.
Here is an infographic of the most important factors that help boost written posts and tips to create content that appeals to them.
Don’t Bait Your Audience
As you begin writing new content, it’s extra important to not use “clickbait.” That means, posting something that encourages people to like, comment, tag or share a post. For example, writing “Like this post if you love dogs too!” or “Share with 3 friends for a chance to win!” Facebook’s algorithm recognizes this clickbait and demotes the post, regardless of interactions.
You’re probably wondering how in the world you’re supposed to attract engagement without asking for it. Well, the new algorithm is about “meaningful interactions” so you need to craft content to inspire real, actionable results. Try asking a valid, timely question that people have strong opinions about. Take a poll to compare two of your products, or list the typical needs of your typical customer. If you write to address the pain points of your audience, people are more likely to understand and take action.
Video is King
Aside from regular text posts and images, Facebook loves video. Even more than that – live video. In fact, Facebook Live streams receive over six times the interactions as regular videos. Try recording a fun event at your business or interview your founder. Give them a tour of your office or show how something is made. People are fascinated with behind the scenes shots and Facebook Live is the perfect platform to make this easy. Live videos are meant to capture real human reactions. You can get away with less professional cinematography and just a smartphone. Don’t worry about having a proper script or fancy lighting. Just be real and let your real voice shine through!
Aside from being prioritized higher in the news feed, both regular and live videos are now boosted based on “video completion.” That means if users watch, on average, 20% of a 60-second video and 20% of a 5-minute video, the longer video will outperform the shorter one. If you decide to incorporate video into your Facebook strategy, just be sure that you keep people watching!
Advertising with the New Facebook Algorithm
Rest assured, your content will grace the newsfeeds of thousands happily if you pay. Enter Facebook Advertising. Thanks to the new Facebook algorithm, more and more businesses are turning to paid advertising to distribute content. What one could accomplish organically simply isn’t as easy anymore. If you’re building your brand or trying to attract a new audience, you probably don’t have a very responsive community or following. Without some engagement, your content will not be seen without a paid ad.
In an effort to be more transparent in advertising, Facebook added a menu item to your business page: Info & Ads. Now under About, Photos, Videos and other normal items, Facebook allows any user to view all the ads that a page is currently running. That means anyone can see the ads you’re marketing, even if they do not follow your page or is a member of your target audience.
Fortunately, you can run a successful campaign for just a few dollars a day. If you’re new to it, here is a blog post that explains how to use Facebook for small business marketing. Facebook also owns Instagram so their ads management platforms are combined. It’s beneficial to market on both platforms if your target demographic uses both social media apps and you want to promote your visual presence on Instagram.
Marketing on Facebook is now more important than ever. As the platform ceases to prioritize content from businesses, proper marketing skills are necessary to ensure that your budget is going as far as possible. Hiring a professional social media marketer is an option, or you can try a Facebook and PPC (pay-per-click) management software like Teacup.
Navigating to Success
The world of social media is growing in vast ways and staying on top of their updates is a full-time job. It seems like every time you log in, something has changed. The saving grace is that your customers are logging in even more frequently and are eager to learn about new products and businesses like yours. Stay confident as you learn to navigate the new Facebook algorithm. With a few tweaks to your marketing strategy and a new way of thinking, your page and business will grow.