The Dreaded Facebook Algorithm


If I had a penny for every time I was asked a question or read a concerned post about the new Facebook algorithm and how it affects business pages, I’d have… well, nearly 50p.

So many myths and overreactions abound. Everything from ‘you can only do paid advertising now’ to ‘I’m leaving Facebook’ to this nonsense about how the algorithm now restricts every user’s news feed to posts from 26 friends.

It’s true that Facebook announced changes to the way the news feed is going to work. Some people have started noticing their engagement levels drop away. But the clues are there to getting your brand and messages seen: “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

It’s that simple. Are you just barking out ‘buy my product’ or ‘hire us’ messages to your followers? Are you using spammy click bait language such as ‘like our page’, ‘follow us’, ‘Like and comment for a free widget’?

Or are you sharing information, advice and ideas?

Save your discounts and promotions for paid-for ads. They work really effectively and can be targeted accurately. Post relevant, interesting and inspiring updates, and engage with other pages and brands. Behave like a person, not like a machine.

During the past four weeks, we started delivering social media engagement for one client across three platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We dialled down the Facebook work in anticipation of the new algorithm, and focused on building up a Pinterest following and enhancing engagement on Instagram.

And yet sensible, friendly posting on Facebook even a few times a week saw great results:

– Page likes up 13%
– People reached up by a whopping 2,064%
– Post engagements up by 1,309%
– Crucially, visits to the online store via social media up 623%

Overall, our client has seen an uptick in sales of 36% compared with the same four week period last year.

Don’t see the changes Facebook made as too much of a threat. See them instead as a prompt to create better, more interesting content that is less about you. Hootsuite offer a useful, simple rule of thumb: post one third social, personal interactions, one third curated content (so sharing industry thought leaders, like-minded businesses etc) and one third your own corporate ‘sales’ content.  They’ve been recommending this for years now, and it still holds true.

If you need ideas on what sort of content they mean, and why they want it like that, check out the Facebook ‘New Feed Values’ post. It has two basic tenets:

  • A user’s feed should inform
  • A user’s feed should entertain

It’s actually two years old. So we can’t really complain that they surprised us with a crackdown on spammy posts and clickbaiting, can we?

Find out more about our social media services. For a free 1 hours consultation on this or anything else, get in touch.

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