RECENT CHANGES TO FACEBOOK’S ALGORITHM AND HOW TO CREATE ENGAGING FACEBOOK CONTENT

Facebook has been making more changes to the way it deals with posts from business pages lately so as a PR agency that uses the platform every day for our client campaigns, we take look at the changes and consider what they might mean to your business …

The change – Facebook’s algorithm is prioritising ‘authentic posts’

In a bid to curb fake news, Facebook has recently introduced further changes to its infamous algorithm, placing more importance on what it calls “authentic posts”. This means it will be giving pages that it thinks are authentic higher preference in the news feed than those that look less authentic.

What this means to you …

Providing you are posting relevant, interesting content that is well-received by your audience, this shouldn’t cause you too many problems. But there are a few things to be aware of:

  • First things first, make sure you are using a verified Facebook business account – it’s a simple but important check to make. Unverified pages will undoubtedly be ranked lower with these changes.
  • Avoid too many posts that ask for likes, shares and comments. Think about crafting your call to action into your copy in a meaningful way. For example, “tell us what you think about this issue in the comments below” or “we’d love to hear your views on this issue – share them below” etc.
  • Respond to your community. Facebook likes to see a conversation taking place, so if someone leaves a comment on your page or post, respond to it! This takes time, but it will indicate to Facebook that you’re authentic and it will help your organic reach to grow.

The change – the way Facebook is ranking videos

Another recent change on Facebook is the way it is ranking videos. Put simply, videos will now be ranked on “percent completion” – which means the percent of each video that is watched.

The more people that watch your video to the very end, the higher your video is ranked. Conversely, if most people switch off by the third second, it will drop down the rankings.

What this means to you …

It’s tempting to create lots of super-short videos in response to this one, but the solution is probably a bit more complex than that. Sure, shorter videos tend to be a better bet on social, but they still need to engage your audience. Offer them something that’s interesting and relevant first and foremost.

Play around with format. You may want to look at creating longer versions to post on your YouTube account, with social ‘shorts’ to give your audience a flavour of what they can see if they watch the long version.

One thing is certain – don’t let this change frighten you away from video altogether. It remains the most engaging content type on social media and shows no signs of losing popularity. On Facebook, around 100 million hours of video are watched every day and on Twitter, a video Tweet is six times more likely to be retweeted than a photo Tweet.

More top tips for engaging content on Facebook

  • Utilise polls – people love a quick-fire question, and polls are a great way to grab your audience’s attention without taking too much of their time. The trick is to keep the question simple and ask for further explanation in the comments. Then you can respond to the comments and take the conversation even further. You can also upload images and GIFs to each answer to help grab people’s attention even more.
  • Use video captionsresearch by Sprout Social reveals that 85% of Facebook users watch video with the sound off and captions on your videos can increase the video view time by 12%.
  • Tag your products – if your business sells products, it’s crucial that you set up a Facebook shop showcasing your products. Once you’ve done this, you can tag your products in your posts, encouraging people to click through to find out more and then click through to your website. Facebook’s algorithm prefers this approach to a simple link to an external source, so it’s worth putting time into building your Facebook shop.
  • Tag people – think about how YOU use Facebook. Would you be more likely to look at something if a notification appeared to say you’ve been tagged in a post? Most probably. Use this feature wisely – only tag people when they are relevant to the content you’re sharing – then it is more likely that they will engage with it.
  • Photos – use apps like PicMonkey and Canva to create eye-catching images. These apps allow you to easily overlay text, add filters and use templates. Try to stick to a similar colour palette and font to give your images unity.
  • User-generated content – got a loyal audience that is posting about your products/services? Repost their images, videos and reviews (with their permission of course). It not only gives you free content, it also helps to create a feeling of community on your Facebook page. Plus, they are likely to share the posts with their friends and followers, encouraging more people to engage.
  • Look beyond the Facebook feed – be creative about how you reach people. There are lots of popular Facebook groups, for example, and these can give you access to a highly-targeted audience. Be mindful about how you interact – simply posting about your company probably won’t be tolerated, so get a feel for the group first and then approach the admins with ideas of how you could post in there to add value to its members.

See our article How to create content that gets great engagement on Facebook for more ideas and inspiration.

What useful tips and tricks do you use to increase engagement on your Facebook posts? Share your ideas below, or tweet us @Ambitiouspr.

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