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How changes to Facebook’s algorithm could affect your business

How changes to Facebook’s algorithm could affect your business
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How changes to Facebook’s algorithm could affect your business
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Facebook has recently announced that it will be making a number of changes to the way its algorithm works — notably, how organic content is ranked and its subsequent reaching potential. Read on to find out what these changes are, and how small and medium businesses should tailor their content to achieve the best results.

Favourites

For many years, Facebook’s algorithm has – sometimes controversially – focused on promoting content that induces real emotions and meaningful reactions. The Favourites feature takes it one step comfortably sideways, allowing users to ‘favourite’ up to 30 people or pages whose content will be displayed in a separate feed. This feature is designed to give users more control over the content they see, but it will also allow the algorithm to create a better understanding of the types of content they’re more likely to engage with.

For business pages, this can make standing out to new and existing followers slightly more difficult – unless you’ve been picked as one of their favourites!

Unfollowing

Almost since its conception, the Facebook algorithm has placed an equal amount of emphasis on the content users don’t want to see as it has for the content they do. Now, things have become a little bit more sophisticated… ‘Unfollowing’ another user’s account does not lose them as a friend, but any posts that they make will no longer appear in your primary feed, leaving the friend status unaffected. Consider this similar to a permanent time-out on their posts, until the option is reversed.

There are also additional, more nuanced versions of unfollowing, such as the snooze function, where a user won’t see a page’s content for thirty days if they have decided to take a break. This not only hides the page’s content from the user, but the user’s content from the page as well.

How does this translate for your business page or profile? Users may want to switch off from what you’re saying if you’re posting too often – so keeping to a regular number of posts (Hubspot recommends two – five times per week) will avoid getting ‘snoozed’ before your competitors!

Reaching outside your followers

So far, the new structure to Facebook’s algorithm may not seem like it’s in favour to businesses — but if you have positive responses to your post content, it’s exactly the opposite! When followers show interest in your posts (comments and reactions are particularly powerful) the algorithm will recognise that you are posting something of substance and will be more likely to show your posts to people outside of your follower base, treating it as high quality or of interest.

Whilst this helps tailor content towards a follower’s interests, you can consider the process similarly to a Google search: your posts are now more likely to be targeted at users who have a genuine interest in your topics or services, resulting in an overall more positive reception to your content. This makes creating content that invites your audience to like, comment and share your posts more powerful than ever before!

Reaching local customers

There are numerous ways that Facebook can help to promote your business to local customers, but the focus is now much more on creating a connection in real time. What does this mean? Comments and messages are now an important tool in helping your page’s reach go further — and also to redirect existing customers back to your primary business services. Plus, Facebook Live video streams have been given a giant boost, making them one of the most beneficial features that you can now use to reach your audience, with Facebook considering the watch time of a Live to be three times more valuable than the watch time of a regular video!

Quality ranking

At the end of the day, Facebook is ultimately focused on only promoting high-quality, engaging content that brings users back to the platform for more. While the updates covered help to improve the quality ranking of your posts, it’s also recommended to:

  • Post consistently : it’s better to post less often but regularly, if it means you can avoid superficial or uninteresting content.
  • Avoid click baiting, comment baiting or tag baiting : do you remember when every other post said something like ‘tag two friends who you would live on a desert island with’? Avoid this at all costs!
  • Create Stories : only available to your audience for a limited time, these are a good way to keep engagement regular (without cluttering up your post schedule).
  • Avoid outbound links : Facebook wants people to use Facebook, so don’t anger the algorithm!
  • Avoid excessive hashtags : one or two hashtags are enough, ideally placed at the end of the post. If they’re strung throughout your message and replacing #words in your #sentences, they can interrupt the flow of a post and make it seem less ‘human’ — which is not what Facebook wants!

The takeaway

For a long time, it was easy to fool Facebook’s system with content that users didn’t have any interest in. But, with their new algorithm update, the balance has been shifted back to better serve users with relevant posts to their interests. Want to stay ahead? Make sure that your business has something to say, listens to its followers and provides a bit of personality that keeps customers engaged. This way, you can use Facebook to help your business thrive online!

To find out how Capital Space could benefit your growing business,
call 0800 107 4667 or email info@capitalspace.co.uk