Facebook changed its algorithm significantly in 2018 after it came in for extremely heavy criticism for promoting fake news and dodgy links during and after the 2016 USA election and UK referendum. The aim now is Authentic Communities.
In real terms this means that if you share content with too many links, your visibility and reach will be penalised. Facebook has always been a closed community but has now taken that one step further in actively punishing content that contains a link even if it is interacted with actively.
The ratio seems to be 80% in-app content (posts with pictures about the community for example), against 20% of posts with links to external sites. While this is designed to cut down the amount of fake news, the net result means that marketing posts have also been penalised. It will also heavily penalise clickbait of any sort, including types that used to do very well on Facebook, such as self-promotion, polls, asking for likes or shares.
Consistency and authenticity are also rewarded in an attempt to thwart trolls and click farms. Therefore, if you are a user with a long history on the platform, you have a detailed credible profile, and you use the platform every day for a good amount of time, then your posts will be prioritised over a part timer or recent sign up. This also seems to apply to business pages.
Gaining Visibility on Facebook
- Make sure all pages and accounts are filled in comprehensively. Comprehensive, detailed and credible accounts are rewarded and prioritised aver sketchy untrustworthy ones. Remember that creating a profile is really a full-on advertising sales job. It should be designed to immediately tell people what you do and why they should care. Profiles are restricted in space, so you have to use it creatively and fully.
- Be consistent and use the platform daily. This doesn’t have to be posts (although that’s best) but should also include reply to comments on your posts, as well as commenting on other business’s content.
- Post good relevant community content most of the time. Post links only 20% of the time and make sure they are to content that is relevant to your network and of good quality. By good quality I mean a trusted, preferably medium or high-ranking domain. Unfortunately this excludes most SME websites – if yours is one of these you need to spend time and energy improving it.
- Live video is rewarded, as are stories. Use them as often as you can.
- Make sure your posts get ‘Meaningful Interaction’. This is good engagement on them within the first hour – so create a ‘like’ team that has been on the platform for some years and uses it every day is ideal to like and comment and share your posts. Long comments are rewarded over short comments and sharing over messenger is a plus point. Reply to every comment on the post. Sharing is a huge driver.
- Content that inspires conversation on personal networks is prioritised especially if it runs over time (such as an event with multiple strands), especially if it gets consistent engagement and the details evolve. Stories and community events are ideal.
- Clickbait of all sorts is punished. What’s clickbait? Using a emotional and inflammatory post whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page. The page may not even be related to the post.
- Use paid content as a booster for organic reach and visibility. Advertising is Facebook’s bread and butter and they reward brands that use it. People who interact with your adverts will then be shown organic content, thus increasing reach and – hopefully – engagement. try and run adverts every couple of months at least.
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