Facebook is constantly changing and evolving, especially this year. No social media platform makes as many changes as regularly as Facebook does. Facebook’s announcement back in January was one of the notable changes to the tide, and media and user scrutiny has also contributed to some changes in user behavior.
The Pew Research Center polled 4,500 people to determine what exactly these changes were, and here’s what they found:
- More than half of users over the age of 18 have adjusted their privacy settings in the past year.
- 42% of Facebook users have taken a break from Facebook in the past year, with up to 26% even going as far as deleting the app from their phone.
- 74% of users have either modified their privacy settings, reduced how often they check Facebook or deleted the app from their phone.
- Younger users (ages 18 to 29) were most likely to have deleted the app from their phones.
Facebook’s focus has shifted to give people the power to build a community. As Zuckerberg explained, Facebook users generally don’t log in to Facebook to see content from businesses, brands, and media. They want to see posts from their friends and family.
This has posed significant challenges for businesses to gain organic reach. Facebook’s main source of revenue comes from advertisers. If you’re a business with a Facebook Page, and you want more Facebook users to see your content, you must pay for that privilege.
In Zuckerberg’s announcement, he wrote, “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.”
So how do you overcome the Facebook algorithm and news feed changes?
Video, video, video
Incorporating video content that is directly uploaded to Facebook will help your reach and news feed ranking. Videos are perfect for starting a conversation. Zuckerberg wrote that “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” Having a professionally-made video to share is great, but Facebook Live is even better. Live videos ping your fans and followers with a notification that you are live, which is a bonus. Also consider using Facebook’s Boomerang app to produce short video clips.
Comments are one of the top-ranking factors for the Facebook algorithm. Ask questions in your posts, and ask the audience to respond in the comment section. This is a fun way to gather market research while gaining traction on your page. Questions can be related to your product/services or timely topics that users are sure to have an opinion on. Don’t be afraid to ask general questions as well, like “Who is your favorite superhero and why?” Asking questions shifts your posts from one-way broadcasting to a two-way conversation. Some examples of questions are:
- Would you rather…?
- What’s your favorite…?
- What is…?
- This or that…?
- If you could…?
- What if…?
- If you had to choose only one…?
You can also phrase questions as a fill-in-the blank or ask trivia questions (focused around sports, food, music, tv, etc.).
Reactions are basically an extension of the existing like button. Emotional reactions are very high factors in staying visible on Facebook. A “love” reaction carries more weight than a “like,” giving your content more of a boost in the news feed. This also goes for the “haha,” “wow,” “sad” and “anger” reactions. Facebook wants to see those “active” emotions.
The algorithm not only favors comments, but also reply comments. Facebook wants conversations. You need to focus on content that will start a conversation with your audience. When someone leaves a comment on your post, respond to that comment as quickly as possible. If you can ask a follow-up question, it will help start a discussion.
Create content specifically for Facebook
Share fewer links, more photos, and tags. Facebook prefers brands keep content on their platform versus linking off-site. It is okay to keep sharing off-site links. However, you want to keep your feed fresh with different types of content to balance it.
Plus, Facebook has become more and more visual. Each and every post should be accompanied by some sort of visual. Use your visuals wisely, though, and always set a high standard for quality. Keep posts short and specific, keeping mobile devices in mind as less textual content is displayed.
Embrace Facebook Ads
While you should focus on improving your organic reach, you need to also consider the power of Facebook Ads. This is one way to break through the Facebook algorithm. Data shows us that Facebook Ads produce an overwhelmingly positive ROI. You have the ability to laser-target your audience, whether it is to sell a product, gain more page likes, or fill an open position within your organization. Facebook Ads are a great tool to get positive results for your business page.
Be willing to learn
Regularly review and study your page’s Facebook analytics. Your Facebook analytics page is constantly updating, so you’ll want to pay attention to any patterns you see developing. See what types of posts are performing well and what are not. Make changes as needed to keep growing your audience and engagement.
What do you think the future holds for Facebook? Join in the conversation with Baer Performance Marketing on Facebook.