The Facebook algorithm decides what people see when they scroll through their newsfeeds.
It’s also about to get a big makeover.
Why should businesses take note?
Because people are going to start seeing less public content from businesses in their newsfeeds. When businesses publish an unpaid post, it could get less attention than similar posts in the past.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the new algorithm will favour content from ‘friends, family, and groups.’
How do businesses get the most out of the new algorithm?
Zuckerberg has given businesses a handy hint about getting their unpaid posts to appear in people’s newsfeeds. According to Zuckerberg, ‘the public content you see … should encourage meaningful interactions between people.’
These ‘meaningful interactions’ will be the key to helping the new algorithm to value posts by a business. Savvy businesses will post content that helps people to connect with each other. The name of the game is good quality content that encourages people to comment and share.
How is this different to the old algorithm?
The old algorithm used a few different signals to decide where to rank content on people’s newsfeeds. A lot of the biggest influencing factors were passive interactions like clicks and views.
With the new algorithm, ‘active’ interactions such as comments and shares will be much more important for getting the new algorithm’s attention. Get people to talk amongst themselves in the comment section of a post, and that post will be much more likely to appear in people’s newsfeeds.
But what kind of posts encourage ‘active interactions? A safe bet is content that people care about. When you tell meaningful stories, they spark meaningful conversations.
Instead of posting viral-style content that grabs people’s attention (here’s looking at you, click-bait), businesses should focus on posting content that people want to talk about, instead of just passively consume.
What to avoid
A final word to the wise: businesses should avoid ‘Tag baiting’ (posts with captions like ‘Tag someone who does this’) and ‘comment baiting’ (posts with captions like ‘Comment “Yes” if you agree’).
The new algorithm will be smart enough to distinguish between these kinds of passive comments, and the active, meaningful comments that it actually cares about.
Why we shouldn’t be scared of the new algorithm
The new algorithm is going to be different, but it’s also a chance for businesses to up their marketing game and post content that helps people connect in a more meaningful way. And that’s a really exciting prospect for businesses to grow a community instead of just an audience.
While the new algorithm poses some challenges, in the end it will encourage businesses to create content that will be more engaging, more memorable and more likely to build strong, trusting relationships with their potential customers.