Facebook algorithm updates are nothing new. Marketers must constantly pivot to stay up to date with changes to keep their social media game strong.
In the past, Facebook’s algorithm updates have made it harder to reach your audience (without paying for engagement). Instead of making the experience easier for pages and businesses, they’ve focused on making the experience better for the users themselves. And that’s fair. Ultimately Facebook is for users, not the rest of us trying to market to them.
Facebook just introduced two updates that affect post reach and engagement. These updates aren’t bad news. Take them as an opportunity to emphasize authenticity with every social touchpoint.
Get real. Real-time, that is.
Trending, timely topics now rise to the top of the Facebook Newsfeed. Particular emphasis will be given to what’s trending on Facebook. You know those topics that show up on the right-hand sidebar? Whenever possible, incorporate those keywords into your posts to reach more people. Most often, people and current events will be trending.
This is a blow to anyone posting ahead of time. It doesn’t mean you can’t schedule posts but it does mean you should devote time in your social media strategy for posting around relevant trending topics.
Give them something to talk about.
Facebook will now measure how many people are engaging with your post and give display preference to posts drumming up a lot of comments. For example, if you’ve just put up a controversial post and people are interacting with it, Facebook will assume other people want to interact with it immediately, too.
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It’s tempting to incite a bunch of flame wars in your comments, but don’t force controversy – you’ll only end up putting people off. Which brings us to the next algorithm change….
Facebook can tell when you’re faking it.
When Facebook let it slip that Live Video would reach a larger audience, companies started taking advantage. It worked! Brands posted graphics as “Live Video” so more people would see the posts. As with any easy cheat, Facebook soon caught on and began sharing those graphic live videos with fewer users.
The fallout of fake news.
Facebook is using the information it’s gathered from inauthentic pages, like those that frequently share fake news, and using that data to filter out other pages using the same tactics. When it sees posts it believes to be inauthentic, it will penalize that post. Facebook will also hurt posts that ask or beg for Likes and Shares.
This doesn’t have to hurt your engagement. Just don’t cheat the system. As long as you aren’t being shady, you shouldn’t be affected tremendously by this algorithm update. You can use it to your advantage by posting useful, interesting content that people naturally want to share and comment on.