Facebook Algorithm Changes - What it Means for You

Facebook has rolled out another algorithm change in December.  This may not be news to some, but unfortunately this is news to many and they don’t understand what it means.

How will these changes affect your posts on Facebook?

To answer that question, you first need to understand why.  Facebook’s desire is to return to their roots.  The whole reason they became into existence.  They want to create meaningful connections between humans.  Warm, fuzzy, joyful, heartfelt, and bonding connections.  They will assist in this endeavor by determining which types of posts are creating those warm and fuzzy feelings and which are not.  This has come down to 3 things you want to STOP doing on Facebook.

Stop “engagement baiting”.
Facebook wants authentic engagement.  They do not want you to ask for your customers to engage in a post.  This includes asking people to like, share, comment, tag, vote, etc.  Facebook wants the content of the post to fend for itself.  They theory is this:  If the content is good, you don’t need to ask for engagement.  

Those who use baiting will begin to see a decrease in their post views.  Those who continue this practice will be punished by decreased exposure to their Facebook page.

Don’t share content that only gets passive engagement.

As I stated above, Facebook wants positive interactions that create meaningful relationships.  What does passive engagement mean to Facebook?  They measure this by the interaction that is generated by the content.  This could equal comments and tagging friends.

You want to share content that sparks a conversation.  How do you spark a conversation? Or encourage people to tag their friends without asking for it?  No one said you couldn’t ask for it …. Wait.  What?  But I said earlier … what I said was you can’t request a specific action like “comment below …”  You CAN ask people for their reaction to your post.  See the difference?  No?  Ok.  See these examples:

Don’t: “Comment on this post if you like bunnies.”
Do: “Think bunnies are cute or scary?”

See.  It is in the WAY you are encouraging engagement.  The don’t method doesn’t encourage a conversation.  The Do method does.  Naturally humans are going to want to provide details for their answer which sparks more conversation.  Simple.

Don’t share untrustworthy, uninformative, or sensational links, videos, or news.

This last no-no is two-fold.  The first is to address ‘untrustworthy’ posts.  It is no secret that Facebook is taking the initiative to combat what may be considered fake news.  There is no insight as to what the criteria is in determining what Facebook considers as an untrustworthy source.  You will have to use your judgement on this, but a simple solution is if you are not familiar with the source or can’t collaborate the information, don’t share it.

The second part addresses the uninformative and sensational aspects.  These types of post typically generate one of 2 responses:  none or argumentative.  Neither of these create a meaningful conversation or connection.  

However, there is good news in all of this for small businesses that depend upon a local customer base.  Facebook will put more of an emphasis on information that is local.  So, if you are sharing March Madness game results vs. local high school basketball results, your local basketball team will get better exposure locally.
In conclusion the moral of the story is to start conversations.  Help create meaningful connections.

One great way to get people talking about your product or service is to start a Facebook group.  I bet many of you belong to at least one group on your Facebook page.  How would you rank participation within the group compared to outside the group?  Something to think about.