5 Ways to Counteract Facebook’s Big Algorithm Change

Facebook’s ranking algorithm decides which posts get shown to each user in their News Feed. The algorithm has gone through some major changes in the past, but the most recent one has thrown a lot of social media marketers for a loop.

A recent article based on a sales deck sent to Facebook partners pointed out that Facebook has admitted organic reach for brands will slowly decline. According to Facebook, this is unavoidable due to the growth of the network and the amount of content being produced.

1. Don’t give up on Facebook – reap the benefits of having a Page and keep it updated

To start. The best thing to do is not to abandoning your Facebook Page altogether, as some people and brands have done already. Though it might feel like Facebook is working against you, there are lots of benefits to having a Page. Without a Page for your brand, you’ll lose opportunities to run contests, integrate Facebook apps and see detailed analytics of how people are interacting with your posts.

There are some simple ways you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your Page, simply by keeping it updated. Here are just a few simple tips to get the most out of your page.

  • Take advantage of your cover image by adding a call-to-action
  • Keep your profile image up-to-date
  • Update your short description (below your cover image)
  • Make sure your location and all of your “about” fields are filled in correctly

2. Focus more time on community building

Another suggestion would be to put more time and money into community building. Few brands answer questions and interact with users on Facebook, which is a missed opportunity to build a strong community. Fans of your brand will help you to spread the word just like ads do, and it’s worth putting your time and energy into this method of brand-building.

3. Use your profile and groups for extra reach

If you’re planning on keeping your Page but exploring other ways to reach your fans, don’t forget about your own profile. You can turn on the “following” feature to let users follow the public posts on your profile and use this in conjunction with your Page.

The number of people following you will show up in your main “about” section, under your profile picture. Profiles generally get preference in the News Feed over Pages, so this can help you reach more people.

You could also try using Facebook groups to actively reach your fans with new, regular content.

4. Keep experimenting with Facebook’s new features

The next big thing to start using is Facebook’s latest golden child—Instagram. Since Facebook wants to push users towards Instagram as it continues to grow, there seems to be slight push for Instagram posts to be prioritized.

This will change when something new takes precedence, so continually experimenting with new features or integrations can help you to keep on top of what’s working best right now.

Facebook also keeps putting out tons of new features all the time that are certainly worth checking out to stay ahead of the game.

5. Build your own platform — a marketing channel that you own

Any company whose marketing eggs are all in Facebook’s basket is probably in trouble. Especially for those brands that can’t afford a big Facebook marketing budget.

One of the ways to spread your marketing to other platforms is to build up one that you own. Here a great acronym to go by: POEM. It stands for paid, owned, earned marketing.

Every brand should have some of each type of marketing: paid ads, a platform you own, and fans that you’ve earned on social networks.

If you use all of the tips and tricks we’ve outlined, you should start to see a lot more interaction and communication happening on your brand or business page and beyond.

The Ideal Length of Social Media Posts: Less is More

We update statuses, we tweet, we check-in and we ‘Like’. These daily habits are part of most of our lives but when it comes to getting your message across online, there are certain ‘sweet spots’ that are proven to help you get your message heard.

Twitter Talk

 Let’s take Twitter for example, 140 is the maximum amount of characters any one of us can use to say something in a tweet (excluding pictures which include text.)

We all find it hard to convey many of our messages in such a short amount of space but research carried out by Buddy Media thinks we need to cut that number down even more. Their research has found that tweets around 100 characters in length or less get the highest amount of interaction:

“Creativity loves constraints and simplicity is at our core. Tweets are limited to 140 characters so they can be consumed easily anywhere, even via mobile text messages. There’s no magical length for a Tweet, but a recent report by Buddy Media revealed that Tweets shorter than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate.”

 Tweets in this 71-100 character range, or ‘medium’ length tweets, received the most amount of retweets as they firstly give the original poster enough space to say something of value but still leaving space for the person retweeting to add commentary as well.

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Facebook Feedback

 Facebook isn’t constrained by this low character count but if research carried out by Jeff Bullas is anything to go by, maybe it should be. The research found that posts in this incredibly low character count range received 86% higher engagement than others.

If this character range seems too short for you, the research also found that posts with 80 characters or less received 66% higher engagement so that should give you a little room to breathe.

BlitzLocal also carried out similar research and found question posts between 100 and 119 characters received the highest amount of interaction.

So do you think you’ll be able to ‘trim the fat’ off your future social posts? Let us know in the comments below.

Keep-Facebook-posts-short

Facebook – A Crash Course

We all love Facebook don’t we? Well here are a few interesting facts we bet you didn’t know!

On average, a Facebook user’s News Feed is filtering 1,500 possible stories – however, after the Facebook News Feed algorithm does its job, only 20% of these 1,500 stories actually land on a users feed!

Our profession, by nature needs to ensure that any content we post falls into this 20%. The best way to do this is not by finding spammy ways to get through to people but by understanding how to deliver the message to the right people at the right time – not always an easy task!

A business strategy should be focused on creating content that Facebook users find entertaining, helpful or valuable.

This year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a huge change to Facebook’s News Feed – the biggest change in its seven-year history. He put it as Facebook giving the world the best, personalized newspaper.

With this in mind, Facebook was given a makeover comprised of three major parts:

–       Visually engaged stories

–       Choice of different feeds

–       Mobile consistency

In terms of visually engaging stories, Facebook claim to understand the growing visual world and the first thing one notices about News Feed is the obvious enlargement and enhancement in the way visual content is displayed. Photos uploaded to ones News Feed are much larger than before and the purpose of this is to put spotlight on each user page.

Being able to choose between different news feeds is inspired by the idea that peoples news feeds should include a mix of stories from friends and family as well as news and information from businesses and the pages of public figures. There are a variety of news feeds users can create and follow including: News Feed, Most Recent, Close Friends, Music and games.

Facebook now has the same look across all devices, mobile, tablet and web creating a simplified and unified experience. Most important is that the left hand menu is accessible on all devices and its simple to navigate to the top of the news feed when you notice new stories have been posted.

How does Facebook decide what content appears in user’s News Feed?

Facebook have only recently announced that they would be sharing how content appears in a user feed on their Facebook for Business blog.

Facebook’s algorithm, EdgeRank, figures out which posts a user will be most interested in seeing. Its comprised of three elements

–       Affinity. Depends on how closely a user is tied to the person creating the content.

–       Weight. This is the value given to the comments and actions any given post receives. As the post is ‘Liked’, commented on, tagged etc it gains more relevance to the Facebook community.

–       Time Decay. Exactly what it says on the tin. The decaying value of content as time passes.

As I mentioned earlier, the average Facebook user has 1500 stories a day that could flow through their news feed. Sifting through these, Facebook presents about 300 of these stories. There are a number of ways Facebook handle this,

–       Facebook take a look at the last 50 people you interacted with and show some of their posts on you feed.

–       When one of your friends posts a lot of stuff, you’ll be able to see these posts in chronological order. This hasn’t been finalized yet as Facebook still comes to terms when to apply this and when to not to.

–       Stories you might have missed are bumped back up to the top of your news feed so users wont miss important information. Since this tool was introduced, Facebook have noticed greater engagement with users 5% more likely to engage with a post from a friend, and 8% more likely to engage with a post from a brand.

–       Actions such as liking, commenting and sharing contribute to whether content will appear is a users feed. The more users who like a post, particularly users one is friends with, contribute to the likelihood that a post will appear in your news feed. On the other hand, Facebook is less likely to show a post that has been hidden or reported by others.

–       Content one has posted in the past can be tracked by Facebook and is then presented on ones news feed more frequently. If one comments on photos on their feed more often than video updates then Facebook will show more photos in your feed.

With all this in mind, here are a few tips to help businesses land in their users news feeds:

  • Research from HubSpot shows that photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes and 104% more comments than an average post. With this in mind, it is a better strategy, where possible, to use photos to promote content and links.
  • Plan photo-focused ads. Previously posts with links primarily showed meta titles and descriptions, the new News Feed magnifies images and provides a better summary of the content. This leads to the conclusion that ads will soon begin to appear in a similar fashion. Important to note is that visuals used with advertisements should be strong; it is not enough to have persuasive ad copy anymore.
  • After the launch of Graph Search, Facebook equipped itself with the ability to search for content based on location. These visual changes make ‘check-in’s’ more visible on the News Feed. By encouraging people to check in to your business, this is creating more ways for people to see your business. This could be further accomplished by offering deals to the most frequent visitor, via check-ins, to your business, similar to the FourSquare approach.
  • The new Facebook News Feed allows users to see content posted only by their friends so this means that even if they like your business page, they might never see your posts because they have filtered them out by only looking at content from their friends.

A solution to this is to focus on your customers and evangelists (lovers of your brand). These people find you remarkable and share your updates among their Facebook friends – they will be instrumental in your success on Facebook.

  • Finally, companies need to create more compelling content. It’s in a companies best interest to use Facebook as a way to promote more public-facing content, ie Blog content. This will help to get your best content more viral reach. Unless your content stands out from the crowd in terms of value and interest, it wont gain the visibility or virality it needs.
    Content creators need to work hard to create remarkable content that is shared widely.