Even as Facebook enters its 15th year, the number of users keeps increasing. This makes it the most relevant platform for brands and businesses to showcase and market their products. At the beginning of this year, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement about the many changes that will be brought about in the newsfeed algorithm to ‘enhance’ the user experience. Many brands and businesses were left concerned over the sudden turn of events.
Almost immediately after the announcement, Facebook newsfeed head, Adam Mosseri wrote out a long, detailed post defining the new changes that will be brought about. With emphasis on content from within the personal circles of users, marketing teams probably thought they were in trouble. Well, that’s just half the story. If you look at the alterations made to the newsfeed algorithm, if brands and businesses play it smart, the going may not be as tough.
Jason Hsaio, Chief Video Officer and Co-founder of a Video Creation tool- producing company, shares his experience as a small business with the new Facebook newsfeed algorithm, along with some key takeaways.
But before that, we must look at what the Facebook newsfeed algorithm entails for business pages in general.
The Facebook Algorithm for business
Brands & businesses are actively marketing their products on Facebook for the reason of its wide outreach. Your main purpose as a marketer for your brand is to ensure that your content is leading to engagement with the audience.
What is the Facebook newsfeed algorithm? For what purpose does Facebook run algorithms?
It is the Facebook newsfeed algorithm that will control the order in which the content will appear on the newsfeed. A number of factors, metrics or parameters decide what appears before the users on their newsfeed. The Facebook algorithm tends to weigh all these factors together to determine which pages will have their content appearing on the newsfeed and in what order.
As a result, understanding how the Facebook algorithm works is extremely important for your brand. Most brands would want to optimise their organic Facebook marketing. To dig a little deeper, your content will help market your brand among Facebook users and understanding the newsfeed algorithm is extremely vital for brands.
The Facebook Algorithm and What It Means For Markets
What all brands are looking for is a strategy to increase engagement among followers. The Facebook algorithm determines the level of engagement. When a user logs into their Facebook account, they see a range of posts on their newsfeed.
The sum of all the content that is consumed by the users, Facebook Algorithm will make a calculation of it, as per certain metrics or measures, and display it on the newsfeed of different users. The way in which the users consume your content is likely to make or break your social media marketing game.
Although the new algorithm may appear to cause a complete drop in visibility of your posts but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Brands need to pivot their strategies in a way that their content leads to meaningful interactions among users. But what exactly does the term ‘meaningful interactions’ really represent?
What Are Meaningful Interactions On Facebook?
Meaningful interactions refer to conversations among users that involve efforts on their part. To put it simply, it refers to interactions where users are interacting actively and taking actions like commenting, reacting, sharing etc. Active interactions indicate interest on part of the user for the content.
How can you, as a brand, invoke meaningful interactions?
Brands can invoke meaningful interactions by sharing content that causes users to respond actively to the content. The more people will comment, share, or react to your content, the more often it will appear on the newsfeed of users. For a very long time, the Facebook algorithm calculated the content consumed along with a different set of parameters altogether. The following factors played an important role in influencing the appearance of content on the newsfeed :
- Date and time at which you share the post
- Comments on a particular post
- Replies on the post
- Shares for a post
- Post type- Video, Live Video, Photo, Status Update etc.
- How informative the content is
- Reactions on that post- Love, Wow, Haha etc.
The new Facebook algorithm has changed the dynamics of Facebook. With an aim to focus on ‘meaningful’ content, there has been an emphasis on giving ‘Active’ interactions a higher priority.
Active Interactions refer to those interactions on Facebook where the users make an effort more than just hovering past a Facebook post. On the other hand, Passive interactions refer to those where the user is simply hovering or viewing it.
- Commenting on posts
- Replying to comments
- Sharing posts publicly and links through the messenger
- Reacting to posts
- Liking posts
- Average time spent on Facebook
- Date & time of posting
- Type of post
- How informative it is
- Hovering past
In this sense, you should focus on posting content that will compel users to not just view your content, but also comment and initiate interactions with fellow users, share it among friends, and encourage their reactions. The focus is on more person-to-person interactions than person-to-page interactions.
How Facebook Algorithm works in 2018
With the new Facebook newsfeed algorithm in place, brands continue to compete for visibility on the homepage, but now the rules of the game have changed. Only content that will bring users to interact with fellow users will find its place in users’ newsfeed.
The new Facebook newsfeed algorithm pushes content with the active participation of users to the top, while content that is devoid of any such interactions may only get a mere glimpse from users. The newsfeed algorithm now facilitates interactions among users, which simply implies that brands should consciously create and post content that fits this bill. To put it simply, brands will now have to create and post content which is a call to action. Active interactions, in this new era of newsfeed algorithm now encompass the following reactions on part of the user:
The purpose of active interactions is served only when there are actual conversations taking place between users- friends, family and acquaintances. When users comment on Facebook posts, it means that the quality of your content is high, as it is pushing users to put in an effort and begin conversations.
The second most active metric of engagement is sharing. Content is shared either publicly or via the FB messenger. However, your efforts for creating content end up going waste when the shared content does not provoke conversation. The new Facebook newsfeed algorithm will automatically push it lower, and it is less likely that this content will appear before the users on their newsfeed unless it leads to commenting by users.
A relatively newer feature found below each Facebook post, reacting may not be as effective as comments or shares. However, at the same time, it is considered to be a stronger measure of the quality of content than likes on the same post. Again, a like is as being considered as passive as simply viewing or hovering over a post. Reactions are an indication that your content has been able to engage the users enough to show their interest by sharing their amusement (through haha or wow) or anger or liking for the content (through the heart icon). The emoticon reactions on Facebook pages
How To Make The New Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm Work For You
The rules of the game may have changed with the advent of the new Facebook newsfeed algorithm. Fear of dropping visibility on social media has plagued brands and marketing teams for some time. But with a better understanding, brands and businesses can easily up their social media game on Facebook. The agenda for you as a brand continues to be the same, to maximize your outreach. But outreach is now weighed in a different manner.
Content continues to be the king. Social media campaigns need to aim at creating and posting content that will invoke users to interact. Posts that create more engagement are ranked higher.
It is crystal clear now; the agenda of brands and businesses will now be, to focus on sparking meaningful interactions. This can be done by shaping your posts’ content in such a manner that it leads users to engage in conversations with friends, family and acquaintances.
So what do you need to do to make it work for you?
To help you, as brands and businesses, up your game in this new era of the Facebook newsfeed algorithm, here is a step-by-step guide on how to make the news feed algorithm work for you:
1. Identify Target Audience and Post Relevant Content Consistently
Clearly identify your audience- their geographical location, the demographic composition, their motivations, the kind of content they like etc. It goes without saying that without content that is relevant, informative and high quality, your posts will not hold place on the newsfeed for too long. As you post content that stands out, is original and informative, your page will naturally gain traction from existing followers and new followers alike.
Make sure to add eye-catching captions along with it. This will also get users across Facebook to check out your content actively. Whether it is a video, an essay or article, a link, or a photo, make sure to add a good description to the post that you will be adding.
For instance, a travel agency will use Facebook to target potential travellers by posting content about exotic locations, with picture postcard-like images and well- produced videos of different tourist spots and exotic locations.
2. Use Facebook Live & Videos
The most engaging type of content is undoubtedly, video content, particularly Facebook live. Facebook live, as the name suggests, allows pages and users to broadcast live videos. These videos usually appear on the top of the newsfeed. Numbers are evidence that a huge audience is using Facebook Live.
How can Facebook live be leveraged to increase traction?
- Build the thrill for your live session- Brands and businesses are suggested that they make announcements about their live sessions ahead of the broadcast so that a maximum number of followers join in during the live streaming.
- Write thrilling and thought-provoking descriptions for live videos.
- Make sure you have a strong internet connection because a poor internet connection can kill the thrill that you built with much effort.
- Interact proactively with viewers. Try replying to individual greetings as much as possible. Keep a special Q and A session in each broadcast to connect with viewers and followers.
- Ask viewers to click the ‘follow’ button on the live videos to get notifications, every time you go live on Facebook.
- Use Facebook live to introduce new products, features and any other additions or modifications to your product/services business.
- Make sure that after every broadcast, you share the Live videos on your page for those who missed it.
By following a few tips that will help build traction through Facebook Live you can make a huge difference.Apart from this video posts too invoke users to engage in conversations with friends and family In fact, the newsfeed algorithm totally favours live video streams and other videos, allowing these a high ranking on the newsfeed.
3. Engage in Conversation and Discussion With Users
When we say engage in conversation and discussion with users. We are talking about asking direct questions, taking suggestions and other forms of interactions with the public. This will provoke them to respond, indulge in discussions with fellow users and sharing. Moreover, regular conversations with users help build a rapport and earn you goodwill to an extent. Leaving an impression on the minds on the minds of users.
However, do not indulge in engagement baiting.Engagement baiting refers to the act of coaxing users to like, comment, tag or share posts when the content of the post is misleading and inauthentic. Facebook clearly declared that it will demote such posts which go against their key value of authenticity.
4. Use Facebook Groups Feature To Build a Community
Brands can use Facebook Groups to maximise their advantage. Facebook groups are a platform for personal, up-close interactions among people with common interests. Allowing interactions among people, this feature lets private and personal exchange of information, ideas and opinions, which can be worked in favour of businesses.
Facebook groups play in favour of the new Facebook newsfeed algorithm by providing a platform for active interactions within their target community. With more than billions of people using Facebook groups, brands and businesses can create Facebook groups among and for their target audience. In this way, the brands facilitate the sharing of their content across groups, publicly and privately, via messengers.
5. Encourage Users to Follow Your Page and Ensure a Smooth Consumer Experience
While you may have many people who have liked your page, this doesn’t mean that your outreach is also good. Your content may or may not be appearing before people who have liked your page unless they have selected the ‘See first’ option on your page. When they select the option of ‘See first’, they will start seeing content from your posts. You can ask users and other potential customers to follow your page, from where they can get regular updates.
You can enhance your outreach by allowing consumers to have a very smooth and fulfilling experience by making use of the Facebook page features as optimally as possible. Facebook allows followers and customers to make recommendations. Request loyal customers to make recommendations, reviews and experiences so that you can share these on your page. Every time a new customer visits your page, these can guide them about your brand.
Share full business information, from opening hours, to address, to prices, menus in case of restaurants and cafes, about events and offers. Also provide action buttons wherever possible such as ‘book an appointment’, ‘order food’, ‘write recommendations’ etc.
6. Collaborate with Influencers
As we’re living in the age of social media. Many influencers or those who can be called active social media celebs, are becoming an integral part of users, particularly the youth. These individuals have large following across social media channels. Collaborating with influencers can add an advantageous edge to your social media campaigns. Because influencers have the ability to motivate followers to take actions.
7. Invest in Facebook Ads Budget
Let’s face it! Facebook ads is one of the best option available to businesses for building more engagement. By investing a small amount of money on Facebook ads, you can temper with the new Facebook newsfeed algorithm. If you invest in Facebook ads budget,you get more active interactions- clicks, comments, likes, shares etc. This builds the ground for more organic engagement.
As personal content of users and their friends and family takes up most of the space on the newsfeed, Facebook ads allow for visibility on the homepage.
The new changes in the newsfeed algorithm has repercussions for businesses. Focus on personal content has made organic engagement even more challenging. But as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!
So, how will you leverage Facebook’s tools & features in favour of your business? What changes will you bring about in your social media strategy?