Facebook algorithm changes

A few weeks ago Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the hotly anticipated news that the Facebook algorithm was changing yet again. This time it was going to hit Pages, the function most used by businesses, really hard. The aim was to make Facebook more sociable, to encourage interaction with people and causes that really mattered to them, namely friends and family. So Pages, and promoting, were out. Unless you paid…..

What this actually means to you, if you have a Facebook Page, is that the number of followers that see your post has dropped significantly, organic reach has really been hit. In the initial minutes following you posting something from a Page, Facebook will monitor its impact. If it gets likes and, more importantly, comments, then it will show that post to more people. If it doesn’t, then it’s going nowhere.

The aim of the game is to get comments, and respond to those comments, so that Facebook can see conversations happening. This can be tough sometimes, people just scroll through and don’t feel the need to comment unless they feel really strongly about it, or a competition is involved. However this is where problem two begins. Facebook are also restricting what they call “clickbait” posts; comment below with your choice, leave us a comment to be in with a chance to win, like and share, tag someone below. So that is out too, but let’s move on from here and talk about what you can do to encourage interaction on your page.

First of all you need to check out your “Insights” to see when most of the people who like your page are online. You can do this by going to your Facebook page and clicking on Insights from the top menu. Then click on Posts from the left hand menu. This shows you when the people that like your page are online, use this info to decide when to post.

Now you need to think a bit more carefully about what you post, don’t post for the sake of it, we’re definitely going for quality not quantity now. You need posts that are going to resonate and spark conversation. Live videos are great and allow you to say things you can’t get away with writing any more. No, we’re not talking about naughty words! We’re talking about asking people to comment and share, put that in text now and you’ll be restricted for using clickbait. If you’re not brave enough for a video quite yet then meet the team posts work really well, behind the scenes ones do too. Anything that offers a real life glimpse into your business and tells a story is perfect.

We would also advise you put a post out explaining to people just how much a comment can now mean to a small businesses Page. People without businesses will have no idea what impact an algorithm change has had, or even that there has been one! However, if you explain it to them your real fans (and your friends and family!) will be more inclined to comment once they know the impact it can have. You can also explain how they can see your posts first in their newsfeed by selecting the Following option underneath your cover photo and then selecting See First. Not many will bother to take the time to do this, but some will and every little really does help.

It’s really important to be genuine, don’t post for the sake of it, post when you really have something interesting to say. Another great way to spark interaction is to ask a questions, so that people feel compelled to answer. Oh and always respond to a comment, even if it’s just a thank you. They will be more likely to comment next time.

You can also do a poll. This option doesn’t show until you click on “See All” underneath the various options in boxes underneath where you write your post. On a Page you only get the option to include two choices. Some of you will have seen polls with more options than two but these will have been within groups where you can pretty much add as many as you like. We recently did a Poll on whether people liked or disliked coffee Revels. It didn’t really relate to our business but we said we were having a debate in the office about it. We knew it would divide opinion and it did, which in turn created comments and conversation, it was a success.

The key is to make your content great, build your own little community on your Page. The pages with original content and active conversations won’t feel the hit of the algorithm change as much as the ones that don’t. Try different things and see what works for you, and share what does, we all need to support each other.

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