Facebook is one of the best places online for businesses to build brands and strengthen their followership, both which directly influence sales and revenue.
There’s a problem with this statement however, and that is claiming Facebook to be one of the best places for businesses to grow sales and revenue.
Now why would I say that just after stating the claim?
Glad you asked, let me explain.
The statistics about Facebook are really positive in the eyes of all marketers out there, which is why it’s definitely one of the best places for businesses to reach their target audience all the while building up their brands and brand followership.
So why did I say my statement had a problem in it?
Because just like Google’s algorithm changes where SEO is concerned, Facebook changes their news feed algorithm as well. And that means trouble for those marketers not aware of the changes nor reacting to them.
There are literally hundreds of articles out there explaining to you the different steps of creating a successful social media marketing plan, even I’ve written one right here on this blog, but none of them really explain to you why these things work.
Sure, I might have told you this thing works because people like it when they see it on their news feed, but why do they see it in their news feed in the first place?
Now that is a question worth asking for.
And I’m here to answer that for you right here, right now.
But first we need to take a small tour of the changes Facebook has done to their news feed algorithm.
It helps you understand why marketers knowledgeable of Facebook algorithms changed from direct selling to growing a community, engaging with their fans instead of just ignoring them and so forth.
Facebook Algorithm Changes
I’ve included notable changes to Facebook algorithms from the past two years and a short explanation of those in need of it.
December 15, 2011 – Timeline for Mobile
- Facebook introduces the timeline for mobile devices
February 12, 2012 – Page Updates
May 1, 2012 – Promoted Posts
March 7, 2013 – News Feed Revamp
June 12, 2013 – Introducing Clickable Hashtags
August 13, 2013 – News Feed Content Ranking
December 02, 2013 – News Feed Content – More Links
December 17, 2013 – Videos in Auto-Play
January 21, 2014 – Text Status Update
February 24, 2014 – Page Tagging Capability
April 10, 2014 – News Feed Clean Up
June 23, 2014 – News Feed Content Ranking – Videos
July, 2014 – Click-Baiting Smack down
August 25, 2014 – Links Shared comes with Photo Previews
September 18, 2014 – News Feed Content Ranking – Identifying What Matters Most to Users
January 2015 – Promotion Crackdown/ News Feed Content Ranking Affecting Facebook Pages
- Facebook cracked down on people trying to scam others by way of posting on Facebook, and prevented previously reported articles from getting into circulation on people’s news feeds.
- At the same time Facebook released a set of statistics to encourage video posts and ads, with a hint of favouring in the air.
March 2015 – Page Likes Deletion/Removal for Inactive Accounts
- While Facebook updated their way of counting likes, people who own pages would have noticed fake likes and likes by inactive users disappearing from their like counts.
April 2015 – Major News Feed Content Ranking Changes
- In April Facebook prioritized the content posted by your friends in your news feed, which emphasizes the effectiveness of people sharing your content on social media, but limits the reach of your page
July 2015 – User Control Updates on News Feeds
- The latest update allows the users to control their news feed more efficiently for easier personalization
Battling the Algorithm Changes – Understanding How the News Feed Works
No marketer is allowed to go down without a fight, and that is why I’m now going to teach you some of the top industry tricks to stay ahead of the Facebook algorithm changes and keep your reach and engagement up.
First I’ll explain to you what I promised you would learn today: How the Facebook news feed works
Naturally Facebook cannot show you every single bit of content out there, it would be irrelevant to you and annoying to skim through (the number of posts would be in the millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions…).
That’s why they developed the News Feed Algorithm.
It chooses the most relevant and interesting articles for each user, or at least it tries to (they’re getting really good at reading your mind!), with certain factors affecting the decision of what gets shown and what doesn’t more than others.
There are roughly a 100 000 different factors that are extremely personalized, but the five main points under which many of the others fall are these ones:
What this means is that Facebook chooses which posts, videos and photos to show you, and that naturally lead to a decrease of organic reach by Pages (Nice increase for Facebook ads though, well played Mark, well played) by a massive number.
Facebook communicated this change so poorly, that it resulted in many popular pages and companies leaving Facebook, like Eat24 explain in their break up letter.
Whether that lack of proper explanation was due to their unwillingness to disclose to marketers how they decide what gets shown to people to avoid gaming their system, or just simply because they didn’t care, it does mean every marketer truly needs to stay up to date of each and every algorithm change that happens on Facebook.
Buffer has an excellent post that they continuously update for news feed algorithm changes that will occur in the future, so I suggest you bookmark it and check it every now and then for new updates.
And now, to the part where I explain to you how you can keep your reach and engagement up, so throw away your horrified expressions and follow me!
Tips and Tricks to Stay Ahead of Others
Video works wonders on Facebook these days (just take a look at this comparison of Facebook and YouTube videos if you don’t believe me otherwise!), but what most marketers and page owners manage to neglect is the fact about when do people watch these videos they’re being shown?
With a quick dive into the pool of statistics about Facebook video advertising, you can see that around 65% of the views come from mobile users. And when do you watch videos on your mobile device?
Chances are that you might be in a boring meeting, on the subway or walking on the street. That means you do not have audio on, and that’s what you fellow marketers should expect from your viewers.
You all know what hard selling is, but you should forget it when using Facebook to reach your customers and increase conversions.
I’ve proven to you in the timeline of algorithm, changes above that hard selling is out when it comes to Facebook, so now I suggest you try selling to your customers by engaging with them, posting helpful tutorials and videos about your products or your niche.
That way when they think of your category, they’ll be thinking of you first!
Value over hoaxes
As mentioned before, Facebook cracked down hard on the scammers and hoaxers, so you should steer far away from trying to click bait your audience onto your site.
Provide value to them, and they’ll be happy they got there.
People love a good story
It’s no secret people love a good story, just look at the news about people donating money after seeing a video with a heart-warming story. (Sorry I couldn’t get a good link to a news article for this, I know there are ones though!)
By telling your audience a story on Facebook allows you to put in your own brand’s products all the while giving your audience an adventure into your industry.
No need to push your product, just promote your brand with an amazing story.
I’ve covered this in much more detail here!
Last but not least, remember to use a friendly and approachable tone when posting on social media.
Nobody likes to see a sales person speech on their news feed, and thanks to Facebook’s algorithm they won’t have to!
This means you need to change your attitude and tone from all business to a friendly brand wanting to help others around them.
Facebook wants their users to have a relevant and delightful experience when browsing their news feeds.
That means you cannot push your products the way you used to on Facebook, but instead you need to grow as a brand and as a business in the eyes of your followers.
By taking a different approach, like I taught you in this article, you can work wonders to your brand engagement and organic reach.
And don’t forget the best part – If you manage to build an engaged and loyal followership, your brand can go to whole new lengths in the future!
Facebook and branding go hand in hand these days, so make sure you stay up to date on Facebook algorithm changes. Don’t let it damage your brand, use it to enhance your brand.