A total mystery to some.
To those in the know, it’s nothing short of a constantly shifting & maddeningly elusive target.
I’m talking about Facebook’s famous (infamous?) algorithm, to which changes have been introduced for 2019.
So strap yourself in, cuz we’re going for a ride!
So what the heck is an algorithm anyhow?
Let’s kick this off by first defining the word “algorithm”:
A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
Every time you open Facebook, one of the world’s most influential algorithms springs into action.
It scans and collects everything posted in the past week by each of your friends, everyone you follow, each group you belong to and every Facebook page you’ve liked; for the average Facebook user, that’s more than 1,500 posts; if you have several hundred friends, it could be as many as 10,000.
Then, according to a closely-guarded and constantly-shifting formula, Facebook’s news feed algorithm ranks them all in what it believes to be the precise order of how likely you are to find each post worthwhile.
In all, the famed Facebook Algorithm incorporates somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 individual factors to determine what shows up in a given news feed…
…including the news feeds of your prospects!
So it’s to your substantial marketing advantage to have a working knowledge of how this algorithm functions, particularly following a change in how its calculations are made.
(1) Facebook Posting Frequency
One of the most common questions I field is “So how many times should I post on my Facebook Fan Page, Bart?”
Here’s the first item you must take into consideration:
When you first post to Facebook on any given day, each subsequent post receives 60 fewer clicks.
So what does this mean for your business?
It means “less is more” and that you should post to your Fan Page no more than 1-2 times per day.
Further, you should wait between 6-9 hours before posting a second time to your page.
Ideally, you want to save your premium content for these two posts.
“Premium content” is that content crafted to engage your page followers, such as fill-in-the-blank, questions, surveys, teasers, solicitations for opinions, input or feedback & anything else which generates curiosity or that encourages and inspires people to interact with you.
And to expand on premium content, when it comes to questions, stick to those which begin with the following words:
Try to avoid questions which begin with “How” or Why”, as these typically require a longer answer & this can reduce engagement. Remember that most Facebook visitors are on a mobile device, so the notion of typing out a long-winded answer will turn off a lot of them. The “less is more” approach works best for asking questions.
If you have other content you wish to post during a given day, it’s highly recommended that you consider the vastly underutilized “Facebook Stories” feature.
(Facebook Stories: Unveiled in March 2017, this is a mobile, Facebook App-based feature which functions as a second news feed; it allows you to upload short videos or pictures to your page which can be shared with all of your followers or just with a single individual; once posted, the content remains visible for 24 hours, after which time it disappears. NOTE: Facebook Stories may not be available on your Facebook Fan Page app.)
(2) Do NOT Use Links In Your Post Description
In the “Write a post…” or “What’s on your mind, [NAME]?” field, do NOT include a link which will take your visitor OFF the Facebook platform & to another site.
This makes Facebook’s algorithm very angry and it will punish you by refusing to show this post to friends & followers, which obviously runs counter to your marketing objectives.
If you need to include a link, use the comments section instead.
(3) Avoid certain statements in your news feed
Facebook’s algorithm is configured to classify certain words or phrases as “Fishing” posts (i.e., artificially seeking comments or input to make a post appear as it’s more appealing than it actually is).
Any solicitations to “Please like”, “share”, “comment” or “If you’d like to know more, send me a PM” will set off the algorithm’s alarm bells and your post will, effectively, become invisible.
TIP: Courtesy John & Nadya Melton, if you want to include “Comment below” in your post, just substitute an emoji in place of the “o” in “Comment”, like this: “C 🌕mment below for more information”.
(Do this sparingly, as your posts will otherwise take on a spammy appearance; PLUS, it’s only a matter of time before the folks at Facebook get wise to this tactic.)
(4) Do Facebook Live videos
Facebook likes original content.
And right now, video is king & I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.
The advantage of Live videos is that you can solicit feedback without the need to worry about being punished by the algorithm.
And the more comments, likes & shares your video receives, the longer Facebook will keep your video in others’ news feeds.
(5) Create evergreen content
“Evergreen” means content that’s as relevant or useful today as it will be next week, next month or next year. For example, a video course on how to play the harmonica isn’t going to be rendered obsolete by tomorrow’s technological advances.
Why do you want to do this?
Because Facebook doesn’t show your posts to friends and followers immediately.
In fact, it can take as long as 48 to 72 hours for posts to show up in news feeds!
I learned this the hard way.
I was giving many of my posts a day designation (e.g., “Friday Fill-In-The-Blank”, or “Survey Saturday”).
Don’t make the same mistake.
(6) Space out your replies to comments
You want your posts to be relevant for as long as possible, right?
A great tip you can follow, and one which may require a measure of willpower on your part, is to wait a day or two before replying to a comment.
Another tactic which will give your posts longevity is to ask additional questions in the comments section.
For example, let’s say somebody comments “Thanks for the information, Bart. Does your [xyz program] provide [feature]?”
After waiting a day or two, you can reply with a question of your own: “Is [feature] important to you?”
John & Nadya Melton also suggest using the vertical mode for your Facebook Live (or Instagram) videos, as it’s more of a native look for these platforms.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to repurpose these videos for YouTube or Vimeo, then the landscape format would obviously be the wiser choice.
If you derived any measure of value from this post, please comment below. I look forward to your input!
Yours in success,
“Who Controls Your Facebook Feed” by Will Oremus; http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/cover_story/2016/01/how_facebook_s_news_feed_algorithm_works.html
“4 IMPORTANT Facebook Algorithm Updates for 2019” by Dr. Lisa M. Thompson; https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=hBN8inNMFlI
“The NEW Facebook Algorithm – Tips & Tricks for 2019” by John & Nadya Melton; https://mylifestyleacademy.com/new-facebook-algorithm/?fbclid=IwAR0bScabQfTKbT3FPGKw24JQgxNrJfFksaly6EYjos8wb05iqbuPsPcBMvo