How to stay visible on Facebook despite changes in the algorithm
On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced a major change to Facebook’s algorithm.
The news has had the effect of the bomb among community managers, media and businesses.
Moreover, the action Facebook even lost 4.5% of its value in the stock market the same day, following this news.
This update is undoubtedly a game-changer for companies and media that regularly publish content on the platform.
In this article, I will explain everything about the new update of the Facebook algorithm and the solutions to stay visible anyway.
What is this important change in the algorithm?
It’s simple: the profiles’ publications (friends, family, acquaintances, etc.) will be more visible in the news feed, to the detriment of those of the Pages (companies and media).
In other words, Facebook’s algorithm will give them more priority in their ranking.
Prioritizing friends will logically reduce the visibility of public content, “including videos and other media and business publications,” as Zuckerberg announced in his post.
Here are the words that Mark Zuckerberg used to describe the impact of this update (and he was quite clear):
“As you roll out, you’ll see less public content like corporate, brand, and media messages. And the public content you see more and more will be kept to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people. “
We have seen this trend coming for a few months now and it is finally confirmed: the Pages will have more and more difficult to sneak into the news feed without paying.
Mark Zuckerberg is justified in several ways:
1) Friends and family are at the center of the Facebook experience. Clearly, Facebook’s goal is to help people stay connected and share their experiences, not to become a media company.
2) Studies with universities show that long-term well-being can only be achieved by watching videos passively, even if they are entertaining, but rather by talking to the people who matter to us.
3) The space in the news feed is limited. Videos and other public content (corporate publications, media and brands) have exploded in recent years to the point of leaving less space for the contents of our relatives (friends, family, etc.).
Remember: What seems to annoy Facebook is the surplus of public content! And the video is also there because watching a video (like reading an article) is a passive experience with Facebook.
It’s up to us to publish interactive content to appear in the news feed (I discuss this in detail later in this article).
The video explanation of the Facebook algorithm
Do you like videos?
Me too ! Visual content helps memorizing and understanding.
The Facebook team made a great video that explains Facebook’s ranking system much better than I do to determine which publication goes before another in your news feed.
This video, in addition to being very interesting, tells us a little more about the impact of this update on the functioning of the algorithm …
[Note: you can turn on subtitles in the settings]
What should you learn from this video?
The beginning of the video explains the basics of the algorithm: the algorithm predicts the publications with which we are most likely to interact in order to push them higher in our news feed.
To determine the order of publications in our news feed, it takes into account the posts with which we have interacted in the past.
Since the update, Facebook’s algorithm will also analyze whether the potential interaction occurs between 2 people or between a person and a Page (accounts run by companies, media and public people).
An interaction between 2 people will have more weight in the algorithm (and its ranking calculation) than a Person-Page interaction.
In addition, connections with people close to you will get a better ranking because these interactions logically have more value for you.
Finally, the most real exchanges (long and thoughtful comments) will become an important factor in determining the relevance of a publication.
This change is important because now Facebook will be watching if you really interact with a publication.
Previously, if you watched a video passively, Facebook considered that you were interested. This will probably be less the case now.
If you know the 5 main factors (according to TechCrunch) that uses Facebook’s algorithm to classify publications, I explain in this post what changes for each factor.
What consequences for brands?
It’s obvious and the founder of Facebook does not hesitate to say it.
There will certainly be a general drop in reach for Facebook pages. However, pages that manage to maintain a good rate of interaction with their fans will be less impacted.
This means that if you have always favored discussion and community building, as opposed to self-promotion, the negative impact of algorithm changes will be less important for your Page.
So far, the organic reach of a Page publication was mostly based on its engagement (likes, comments, shares and clicks).
With this update, Facebook will be able to “predict” publications that will spark conversations (request for recommendation, publication of text with a question, etc.) to put them forward.
Personally, I find it JUST that Facebook penalizes Pages that use Facebook only to promote. Facebook is a social network, not a market.
Now, to promote, you have to invest in advertising. It’s that simple.
Remember: We talked before generating as much engagement as possible on a publication to get a better organic reach. This is no longer relevant.
1. The publications of your relatives will get more visibility than those of Pages, especially because a Person-Person interaction is more valuable than a Person-Page interaction for the algorithm.
2. Long and thoughtful comments on your posts will get a boost. Pre-recorded videos will not have the same weight as before in the algorithm. A passive view on a post no longer counts for Facebook, and it even looks bad!
How to stay visible on Facebook in 2018?
According to several industry experts, this update is a real turning point for the Pages and we could not give them wrong.
How to stay visible (without paying hundreds of euros in advertising)?
Here are some tips that should help you:
The creation of a community becomes an obligation
Brands will now have to focus on creating a committed community.
This will be done through the creation of a Facebook Group.
The Facebook Group allows you to do what the Page does not necessarily allow: allow “super fans” to share an opinion or ask a question to all members including the administrator.
Of course, there will be links that will be created between the members and moderators of the Group.
Page’s publications will have the potential to provoke discussions like those in your Group.
In any case, that’s what I noticed since the creation of a Private Group associated with my Page.
But every time I talk about creating a Group, I’m told “it’s not possible for my company”.
The problem is here.
The Facebook Page is a way to develop your branding. It represents your company or your person.
The Group, on the other hand, exists to share around a cause or a common area of interest.
In other words, the Group is not there to represent your company. This is the role of your Page.
This is a key difference and you must always have it in mind.
For example, our Facebook page is in our brand name “Meltin Afterworks” but our Facebook Group is about Startups based in Barcelona.
Another example to better understand:
You are the owner of a Spanish restaurant.
The Page will be in the name of your restaurant as you have understood but your Group could talk about Spanish culture.
Everyone would share typical Spanish recipes, places to visit, and more.
If you manage an ecommerce, you could also create a group reserved for your customers. In this group, we could discuss the uses of your product and you could preview your latest creations, offer exclusive promotions to members of the Group, etc.
Do you see the opportunity behind Facebook Groups?
Groups are extremely powerful to grow your community but at the same time as time-consuming as you have guessed.
That’s why you must quickly find one or two moderators to give you a hand at first.
Then, the Group will “live” on its own thanks to interactions between members without you having to be present every day.
I will not explain in this article how to animate a Facebook Group but if you want to create your own Group, I recommend this article written by Neil Patel to create and animate a Facebook Group.
Publish interactive and engaging content
Facebook has warned us, Pages that publish interactive content will be rewarded. Interactive content is content that elicits comments, real ones.
The first interactive content that comes to mind is of course Live Video.
According to Facebook, users comment 10 times more on live video than pre-recorded videos.
What seems to be working these days is the live type series with episodes.
That’s what Canadian marketer Robin Vézina does. He goes live once a week on Wednesday morning to talk about Facebook marketing and that’s it!
I love his show.
He talks only about Facebook marketing and answers questions from people who watch Live.
It creates a real discussion with people who listen and no doubt it works! He doubled his fans with this technique in one year.
Do not you dare to get into the Live? Are you afraid of being alone?
Fortunately, Facebook allows you to program your Live, if you ever have this fear.
I convinced you to go Live? So here are some ideas for your next Lives …
The classic: Make a Q & A session
Jasmine Star, branding expert, spends several times a week in Live to answer questions from her fans.
Exactly, Jasmine Star explains that a 25-minute Live in front of her Webcam has worked much better than a “professional” video (edited with a video software) to increase the subscription to its newsletter by using Facebook advertising.
Teach something for people viewing your Live.
I’ve already watched some of Tai Lopez’s Lives (in fact he’s just doing this on his Page).
At each Live, he offers gifts (iPad, Macs, money, etc …) to people who answer questions related to the content of Live.
It is a way of encouraging people who listen to stay to the end.
Make an exclusive interview.
The advantage of the interview … is that you are not alone. This is ideal for making your first Live.
Does this mean that one must make only Lives to be visible?
No, but it’s recommended.
Hubspot sees even this new update as a new opportunity for brands to change their content strategy and produce content that provokes a meaningful dialogue (“meaningful” to use the words of Zuckerberg).
In other words, each publication must be able to generate COMMENTS (remember the words of Zuckerberg, Facebook wants to “encourage meaningful interactions between people”).
You will be rewarded with a larger organic reach.
The comments will therefore be a serious indicator that your post has been created to encourage a discussion with your fans.
It will also be up to you to encourage this discussion by asking questions in your publications and responding quickly to comments to feed the discussion.
Be careful, avoid answers like “Thank you for your comment”.
It’s not called interacting, it’s called being boring.
We want real interactions and the best way to engage the discussion after a comment is to ask the person a question or leave a valuable comment for others to join the conversation!
Encourage your fans to follow your Page
Did you know that you can change the tracking settings of a Page?
This means that you can love a Page and decide to:
See its contents first;
Do not follow it anymore (you will not see its contents anymore but you still like the Page).
You can encourage your most loyal fans to see the contents of your Page first in their news feed.
Very few people know this option, so why not take the opportunity to let them know?
You could think of an original way to let them know, like creating a short video that shows them how to do it.
Will your fans run if you just show them a video that shows them how to change the tracking settings of your Page?
You must give them a reason to follow you! You could write this kind of post:
“Do you want to be kept up to date on the latest digital marketing news? Make sure you see us “first” in your news feed so you do not miss the news of digital! “
Use a different message if the most important content of your Page is a recurring Live or a special promotion.
It’s up to you, but always give a reason to follow your Page. Otherwise why would anyone follow you?
You could do this type of post once a month and do not be afraid to do your self-promotion on this occasion. If you produce quality content, your fans will not mind if you offer this option!
Finally, do not hesitate to boost the publication to all your fans to make sure no one misses your message.
Friend marketing is now a thing!
Anyone can be an influencer – a brand, a publisher, a vlogger or an individual with a sizeable audience. The influencer marketing ethos is about finding those people or entities that have an influence on the consumers you are trying to reach.
The goal here is to turn your actual community, followers, customers into brand ambassador who can share your original content in their newsfeed. Your post will be able to be seen to all their friend sand then unlock you a new audience thanks to the word of mouth of your ambassadors.
The platform Spitche aim to be the first to surf on this new marketing trend and we help brands set up their ambassador campaigns on Facebook.
Brands will have to bet on Facebook advertising
And even more for Pages that do not create engagement!
However, the cost may increase.
Indeed, there are already 6 million advertisers on Facebook and this number may increase with the decline in organic reach.
Facebook advertising works on an auction system, so costs increase with the competition.
Facebook wants you to advertise, no question, but they want your advertising to add value.
Facebook’s worst nightmare is that its users are deserting the platform.
So how does Facebook judge whether an ad needs to be shown or not (as long as it follows its advertising rules)?
The answer: the relevance index.
Many think that there is only one algorithm of Facebook …
This is not entirely true.
There is a second one: the advertising algorithm, which will evaluate the relevance of your advertising.
In this way, it is not necessarily the companies that outbid the most that will appear first in the news feed.
Indeed, the distribution of your advertising does not only depend on your auction but also depends on the relevance of your advertising.
If you are not familiar with the relevance score, it is simply a score of 1 to 10 that Facebook attributes to your ad to assess its relevance to the target audience.
Nobody really knows how Facebook calculates this index of relevance, but we know that the positive feedback (comments, likes, shares, clicks) contributes to increase your score while the negative feedback (low click rate, hide advertising, report the advertising as spam, etc.) tends to decrease it.
This feedback will have more weight depending on the purpose of your campaign.
If you’ve chosen the “Traffic” goal, clicks will be more important than mere interactions on the post.
The audience you choose will also influence your relevance score.
To better understand, I found you a scenario imagined by Facebook:
1) Relevance index of 2/10: You target a very large audience (men and women) and yet you sell women’s handbags! Many people will find your advertisement irrelevant and not interact on it. Plus, your image is blurry and people are hiding your advertising. You are flunked to Facebook’s advertising review …
2) 5/10 Relevance Index: You have better defined your audience. Your image is less blurred. The message is better but does not contain a clear call to action. There will be less negative feedback but little positive feedback (clicks, interactions, etc.). You’ve just passed the Facebook advertising review …
3) 8/10 Relevance Index: The audience is even more defined. You are targeting women interested in the fashion industry. The message is clearer and this time contains a well-defined call to action. You have successfully passed the Facebook advertising review …
As you can see, the relevance index directly influences your costs.
Indeed, if your advertising is relevant to your audience, Facebook will reward you and spread your advertising for a lower cost.
If your relevance index is too low, Facebook will penalize you and spread your advertising on its platform.
You will see that it will reach few people and you pay dearly to the CPM (cost to reach 1000 people).
What should we remember?
Target your ads correctly. We always come back to the same questions:
Who are you talking to?
What are the hobbies or your interests of your ideal client?
Which magazines / blogs does he read?
What are his problems or frustrations?
Who are your competitors?
Of course, always think of the user and create an advertisement that brings value, rather than removing it.
Avoid looking too seller or offer expensive products to strangers.
Nobody likes this and even less Facebook …
In my opinion, it should be remembered that Facebook will reward companies that will seek to (truly) engage their audience by creating conversations and creating a community.
And this will be done via Live, the creation of a Group and the authentic content.
It will also be necessary to remain vigilant to the practices of the bait commitment which consist in explicitly asking the engagement of the Facebook users, for example:
Share baiting: “Share with your friends to enter the contest! “.
Tag Baiting: “Tag a friend who needs to watch this video”
How Baiting: “Say YES in comment if you agree”.
Facebook had already announced in December (as a prelude before this new announcement) want to fight against commitment bait by penalizing the Pages that explicitly request the engagement of users through the mechanisms I mentioned.
It seems that Facebook really takes it seriously.
As a result, you would do well to ban social replies such as “share this post”, “like publication if you agree”, etc., from your social media vocabulary.
To end this article, it goes without saying that pages that continue to do self-promotion (without investing in advertising) are likely to be penalized in terms of their organic reach.
What do you think ? This update seems fair to you or do you think that Facebook takes the opportunity to encourage brands to advertise?