Shouting Into the Void: 4 Ways to Beat the News Feed Algorithm
January 11th, 2018; a day that will live in infamy for any small business with a Facebook page.
It may not have been the first change to the algorithm that determines what content is most relevant to the average Facebook user, but it certainly had the most immediate impact. Once Facebook started prioritizing content from your friends & groups, small businesses were left scrambling trying to figure out how to get people to see their posts.
What most small business owners or Facebook page admins don’t realize is that there is a way to beat the algorithm, at least to a certain degree. Facebook will most likely continue to find ways to alter the News Feed algorithm, especially in ways to save face over public outcry, but there will always be ways to get your content seen by your followers.
1. Create Engaging Content
Yes, I’m coming out of the gate with the most obvious answer to beating the algorithm, but it goes deeper than just creating engaging content, because you can’t fall into the clickbait or engagement-bait trap. You’ve probably seen a post come across your feed at some point that prompts you to “Like for A, Comment for B.” This seems like a fool-proof method to getting people to engage with your posts on the surface, but this is the exact type of content that Facebook is trying to limit on your News Feed.
It’s true that likes & reactions show engagement, but they are very low commitment and therefore are not valued very much by Facebook. Commenting is the highest ranked form of engagement in Facebook’s eyes, but it has to be organic. You can prompt your followers to comment to add to the conversation, but if you’re asking them to comment for no reason other than an obvious ploy to increase engagement, the algorithm is smart enough to recognize this kind of spammy behavior that offers little to no value to the user.
Following this first rule is a surefire way to not only get your engagement up, but it will also train you to become a better content creator once you sit down and figure out what your audience wanted to see when they liked your page in the first place.
2. Live Video is King
Videos on Facebook play a large part in algorithm visibility, but live video is ranked at the top of the content food chain as an entirely separate entity from the non-live variety.
Rather than give my own two-cents on why live video can help your small business’s visibility, I’ll defer to someone who is an expert in the subject. I asked Vincenzo Landino, CEO & Head of Innovation of the full-service media agency, Aftermarq, his thoughts on the subject:
“Live video allows you the opportunity to connect with your audience in real time while providing them a way of communication that can feel personalized to them. Not only does live video open up your business to your customers’ biggest questions, it [also] allows you to provide them the answers when they want them.
Your content is ranked heavily by engagement, and with live video, the comments and sharing can be kicked up a notch, thereby helping the algorithm see that your content is valuable through that engagement.
This helps small businesses get in front of an audience that otherwise may not be seen on Facebook with regular text, image, and video posts. Simply engaging with the people you already have worked hard to acquire is the difference between a big month and a slow one.”
3. More Likes = More Eyes On Your Content
Before I get into it, it’s imperative to know that page likes are not a be-all, end-all indicator of a successful Facebook page for your business, but it certainly gives you a wider audience without having to spend ad dollars.
Once you start getting valuable engagements out of your posts, take a look at the people who liked and reacted to them. When you click on their names to see who exactly reacted and in what way, you will also be able see whether or not they like your page; you’d be surprised at the number of people who react to your posts that don’t already follow your page.
Normally, you’re only able to invite people to like your page if you’re mutual friends on Facebook. Now that they’ve already shown that they’re interested in what you have to offer, this opens the door to being able to send an invite even though you’re not friends. All you have to do now is click the button to send each person an invite to like your page and get a couple free page likes with relatively little effort.
4. Connect With the Community
If you have any connections to relevant Facebook groups, congratulations, you now have a direct line to a number of people who could benefit from seeing your content on a regular basis.
As mentioned before, the News Feed algorithm prioritizes human connection above all else; putting the social back in social media, in other words. Sharing your posts in a group takes some of the legwork out of relying on your followers to do the same. Your neighborhood undoubtedly has some sort of Facebook group, so why not utilize it as a bulletin board for your brand? Just be sure that sharing your posts isn’t a violation of the group’s rules or you could risk getting banned.
With an ever-evolving algorithm that continues to shift more towards community and a human connection, it is important, now more than ever, to take your small business’s social media presence seriously or risk getting buried underneath mountains of vacation photos your aunt just uploaded. We here at J Miller Marketing understand the anxiety that comes with owning a small business and feeling as though shouting into the void on social media, but as long as you follow these 4 rules, you’ll be in the clear!
Written By Nick Shulda
Online Media Strategist