What the 2018 Facebook Algorithm Means for You
Content | Social
Earlier this year, Facebook made a few changes to the way it prioritizes what types of posts show on member newsfeeds. The biggest change is the “meaningful interactions” update… meaning pretty much what you would think. Posts that result in more engagement and, well, meaningful interaction, are prioritized over others. Facebook wants us to spend more time on Facebook, and is therefore giving us more opportunities to interact with people we care about (friends and family) to accomplish this. For this reason, you may have noticed more posts in your newsfeed where your personal connections are asking for recommendations, sharing articles for discussion purposes, and prompt either a comment or a reaction.
More passive interactions such as clicking, watching, or viewing/hovering will have a neutral impact, meaning it won’t necessarily qualify for greater reach, but it won’t ‘demote’ you either.
Unfortunately for marketers and business owners, this is a little scary. This simultaneously means that Facebook is demoting branded content within users’ newsfeeds, and putting person-to-person connections above person-to-page connections. Many Facebook pages have since seen falls in reach, video watch time, and referral traffic since their content is shown less often to their fans.
But fear not! There are a few things you can do to follow Facebook’s rules and still see strong reach, followers, likes, shares, etc. You might not see the same type of traffic to your website (we’ll get to this later), but you will see higher brand recognition and advocacy.
Create content that is unique and engaging
This one is pretty straightforward. Facebook wants to see more engaging content… so post more engaging content. Carefully consider what type of content you are sharing with your audience and make it your goal not to post for your own benefit, but for followers interested in what your brand promotes. Understand what their user intent is, what topics they might be interested in, and even what might evoke some kind of emotion or discussion. If you’re having trouble getting started here, ask yourself, “What are my audience’s challenges? What are their motivations? What do they care about?”
Lights, Camera, Action:
Keep in mind that these days video content, especially live streaming, usually has a much stronger reach than any other type of content. Facebook itself has noted that video content drives higher engagement and interaction, and hold users attention for longer periods of time (aka keeping you on Facebook longer). If you’re nervous about incorporating video, don’t worry. You don’t need to create a big-budget commercial (in fact, sometimes less is more), but you can do something as simple as using Facebook Live, and invest in easy-to-use video tools for small businesses and marketers, such as Animoto, Magisto, or Nutshell. You can also find free stock videos on sites like Pexels.
Recruit your employees
If Facebook’s new algorithm is all about connecting friends and family, then what can we as marketers/businesses do to create this sense of community? Your Facebook’s page reach is already dependent on how many followers you have, so you must maximize your number of followers. Your own employees are the first place to start and will be more likely to comment, like, and share your content with their own personal connections. This isn’t a new concept and we can just blame Facebook’s updates for this either. Studies have long shown that Facebook members are 16x more likely to read a post they see from a personal connection than they are from a brand.
Link Less, Photo and Tag More
This is a tough pill to swallow. We want people to come to our websites! However, if that’s all you’re ever doing, you need to think about what links you are sharing and what kind of content it leads to. Facebook is deprioritizing showing posts that get users to leave, and if people aren’t seeing your post in the first place, then you’re not going to see as much website traffic anyway.
Are you going to totally disappear from your followers’ newsfeeds if you use links? No, not necessarily. This doesn’t mean you should never link back to your website, but that you should choose what you want to link wisely. Did you just post a new blog on your website that will engage some discussion in the comments? This would be an appropriate time to link to your website. If you are linking, make sure you also include a visual element that stands out, such as a photo, infographic, or .gif.
Add your page to Facebook Groups
Another way to stay engaging is by creating a Facebook Group to accompany your page, or even to substitute one. This isn’t going to work for everyone, but can be a useful marketing strategy for brands focused on problems solving or educating a specific community. Typically, the people who join a Facebook Group are more likely to engage with the content, since it is an opportunity to connect with other like-minded people. Whether your audience is interested in home-improvement, fashion, or anything else, there are people out there looking to connect. Groups like this offer a more personal way to share thoughts, ideas, and opinions, and are an easy way to grow your audience following.
How will this affect my Facebook Ads?
Remember when I said Facebook wants you to spend more time on Facebook? Well, this is why. Facebook benefits every time users click on a company’s ad, so it makes sense why they want you to stay on the site for longer periods of time – to click on more ads! Data still shows that Facebook ads have a strong ROI, and offers the freedom to target niche groups by a range of demographics, putting you in front of the eyes of the audience you want. It pays to play, and this is one of the easy workarounds to some of the changes we’ve seen as it comes to organic posting.
At the end of the day, if you want to be noticed you’re going to have to play by Facebook’s rules a bit. But this is an opportunity to have fun, get creative, and cultivate a following of people who will recognize and care about your brand.