Facebook Algorithm: 3 Things You Need to Know

Here it is, only February, and Facebook has really changed things up in the new year. It can be really difficult to make sense of it all, and then you add misinformation and scare tactics on top of it and it gets really murky.

I came across an article from Buffer this morning that does a really thorough job explaining Facebook’s newest algorithm shift. In addition to the algorithm’s top ‘ranking’ factors, the article goes on to explain some insights into Facebook groups and other helpful information.

Going forward, it’s very important to understand what Facebook is looking for and what kinds of things are good and not-so-good for getting reach within the newsfeed. First and foremost, Facebook is all about engagement. Yes it was always ‘supposed to’ be about engagement, but now they are on a mission to restrict the reach of pages that don’t have much engagement.

Most notably, Facebook will be taking into account the comments on your posts. Also, the algorithm shift will be ‘looking’ at whether or not your page replies to user comments and if there are ‘conversations’ happening. Read: don’t just throw a post out there and forget to check in to respond to your followers’ comments.

Comments are not the only thing that Facebook is looking for. They are also going to give priority to page posts that other Facebook users share. Sharing can be done privately through Messenger or it can be shared to a user’s timeline.

Some people may see this and decide to create a sort of ‘support group’ for Facebook. No, I don’t mean the kind that sits together in a circle and listens to each others’ problems. Some page owners may try to skirt this portion of the algorithm shift by organizing a handful (or so) of friends who agree to share posts from each others’ business pages.

This is a good thought at first glance, but I suspect Facebook has already thought of it. Facebook is also going to look at how much engagement the shared posts are getting. If a user shares your page’s post to his or her timeline and no one engages with it, that’s bad news for your post and potential reach.

Let’s say for example that you publish a post on your Facebook page this afternoon and line up 10 of your friends to share it to their own personal timelines. While shares are great for the newest algorithm, remember that Facebook will also look at how each share of your original post is performing. So if those 10 friends share the post and it’s not relevant to them or their friends, chances are the shared posts won’t get any engagement. That ends up reflecting back on your page thanks to the algorithm.

The third biggest algorithm factor is whether or not Facebook users react to your posts. Some of us might enjoy a post but not enough to share it or even comment on it. That leaves reactions, which is something the algorithm will put into play for pages now.

This is a lot to take in, but the main thing is that page admins need to be thinking about how their posts will resonate with their audience. The more something provides value or sparks a feeling, the more likely a person is to share, comment or react to it. This is what social media is all about: creating conversations and, yes, being social. That being said, Facebook is definitely moving forward with ‘cracking down’ on pages that don’t engage with their followers.

What questions or concerns do you have about this algorithm update?


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