9 TIPS FOR WORKING WITH THE FACEBOOK ALGORITHM

Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what posts people see in their news feed. It's a complex algorithm based on several factors. Here's an excerpt from an article I found this morning on the Hootsuite website, about Facebook's newest 2020 algorithm and strategies to get the most out of it.


1. START CONVERSATIONS THAT GET PEOPLE TALKING TO EACH OTHER

According to Facebook, one of the algorithm’s key ranking signals is whether a user has previously engaged with your Page. And while no one is going to interact with your brand Page like they would with their friends’ pages, those likes and shares go a long way towards increasing your reach on future posts.

That means you have to put in the elbow-grease before the algorithm can start to recognize and reward your Page’s value.

And by elbow-grease we do not mean shoddy, obvious engagement-bait. (The algorithm can tell, and it will down-rank your post and maybe also your Page.)

At the end of the day the best way to earn more engagement is to be genuine. Or maybe try curious, funny, interesting, or inspiring. Regardless, we have plenty more simple tips for increasing your Facebook engagement over here.

And always remember that you don’t need to seek out controversy to get engagement. Tapping into a strong emotion (cats; baby cats; baby cats uncomfortable; baby cats in danger) will do the trick, too.


2. POST WHEN YOUR AUDIENCE IS ONLINE

Recency is another ranking signal that matters as the algorithm selects which posts to show people. Newer is better. Now is best.

But when is your audience online? Well, according to our data:

  • B2B brand posts perform best between 9am and 2pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

  • B2C brand posts perform best at noon on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Take a look at your Facebook Page Insights or Hootsuite Analytics to test and benchmark the best time for your audience, specifically.


3. NEVER POST CONTENT THAT WILL GET YOU DOWN-RANKED

We know you would never do this anyway. But still, just FYI, here are a few categories of content that Facebook has explicitly stated will get your Page down-ranked immediately:

  • Links to sites that use scraped or stolen content with no added value

  • Borderline content (a.k.a offensive but not prohibited content)

  • Misinformation and fake news

  • Misleading health information or dangerous “cures”

  • “Deepfake videos” or manipulated videos flagged as false by third-party fact-checkers

4. POST HIGH-QUALITY VIDEOS LONGER THAN 3 MINUTES

In May 2019, Facebook announced that the newsfeed will increasingly surface quality, original videos. The algorithm is increasing the influence of these three ranking factors:

  • Loyalty and intent: videos that people search for and return to;

  • Video length and view duration: videos that people watch past the 1 minute mark, and that are longer than 3 minutes;

  • Originality: videos that aren’t repurposed from other sources and that have plenty of added value.

If you’re a video creator on Facebook, keep those guidelines in mind so that you’re giving the algorithm exactly the kind of video it wants. (And don’t forget tip #1: baby cats in danger.)

Pro Tip: If you’re a wiz at video, make sure you’re using Facebook live video, which averages six times more engagement than regular video.


5. POST OFTEN AND CONSISTENTLY

According to Facebook, Pages that post often are more likely to be meaningful to their audience. Therefore, posting frequency is a ranking signal that can affect how high up in the newsfeed your posts are placed.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: a social media content calendar goes a long way towards achieving the kind of consistent quality that will keep your audience engaged and attentive.

Hootsuite’s planning tool takes care of all of that, if you’re inclined to give it a try.


6. LEVERAGE FACEBOOK GROUPS THAT ARE MEANINGFUL TO YOUR AUDIENCE

At Facebook’s 2019 F8 conference we heard that Groups continue to be one of the most valuable parts of Facebook, according to user behaviour. What’s key for brands here is that Facebook said people “may see more content from Groups in their newsfeed.”

Facebook itself is doing its part to promote the feature with a redesigned Groups tab that shows new activity. As well, by helping people discover new communities with a Suggested Groups sidebar (as well as in other high-vis spots throughout the platform, like the Gaming tab and Marketplace).

With Facebook’s “F5” design refresh devoting significant screen real estate to Groups, and the algorithm prioritizing Groups content, brands should plan to take advantage.

How? Consider starting a new Group based on your brand Page. A Group can be where you foster discussion, education, problem-solving and, yes, solid entertainment about the topics that matter to your audience.

Check out our complete guide to using Facebook Groups for business for a more in-depth look at strategies to help you connect with your super-fans and build engaged communities.


7. SUPPORT YOUR ORGANIC WINS WITH PAID ADS

While your brand’s organic content can deepen your relationship with your audience, Facebook ads remain the best way to expand your brand awareness to the 2.4 billion potential customers who use Facebook.

And Facebook’s targeting capabilities may get even more important for advertisers who care about audience data, given Google’s recent announcement that Chrome is phasing out third-party cookies.

As you track your high-performing content, make sure you capitalize on the ability to turn it into low-CPC (a.k.a cheap) advertising for your brand’s voice. With Hootsuite Ads, you can set up, test and analyze an entire funnel’s worth of ads:


8. LET YOUR FOLLOWERS KNOW HOW TO PRIORITIZE YOUR CONTENT IN THEIR NEWSFEEDS

With Facebook’s move towards increased transparency in how the newsfeed ranks content, your audience has more control than ever over what they see.

Let people know that when they follow or like your Page, they can also check the “See First” preference to let the algorithm know that your posts are important to them.

Of course, this tactic works best when you are consistently producing content that resonates with your audience and directly supports your Facebook marketing strategy.


9. EMPOWER YOUR PEOPLE TO ADVOCATE FOR YOU

The decline of organic reach has savvy marketers turning to tried-and-true tactics like good old word of mouth. Except, you know, at scale.

This is certainly the premise behind influencer marketing, but another, possibly even more authentic way to spread the word is by tapping your brand’s employees.

Whether it’s just you and your dog, or you pay salaries in five different currencies, an employee’s good word is solid gold. (After all, they’re the ones who know the inside scoop on your brand.)

And even if they don’t have the 1 million followers your official Page does, their organic reach is less limited.

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