The Facebook algorithm is provide a better experience for users.
But few changes to the algorithm have sparked as much interest and conversation as the recent ‘meaningful interactions’ update, in which Facebook said it would be prioritizing posts that create meaningful conversations, especially those from family and friends.
The reaction to this update was one of curiosity and worry from brands, publishers, and Facebook Page managers, wondering whether or not their organic reach would once again take a hit, causing them to reach an even smaller percentage of their audience on Facebook.
Here’s everything we know about how the Facebook algorithm works and what marketers and brands can do to thrive on Facebook in 2018.
Let’s dive in!
How the Facebook algorithm and News Feed works (2018)
In the recent Facebook News Feed webinar, their team broke the algorithm down into four, very simple components:
- Inventory (content available)
- Signals (considerations about content)
- Predictions (considerations about person)
- Overall Score
These four key algorithm factors serve the sole purpose of providing Facebook users with a better overall experience.
Top ranking factors in the Facebook algorithm
When considering the types of content that Facebook will favor in the News Feed moving forward, it’s important to distinguish between “active” and “passive” interactions.
Active interactions such as sharing, commenting, and reacting will hold much more weight than “passive” interactions such as clicking, viewing, or hovering.
The comment is the very first signal at new Facebook algorithm
It’s important to clarify that using commenting will actually result in a demotion of your posts in the News Feed.
Facebook Page admins should continue to focus on posting relevant and meaningful stories that do not use engagement bait tactics. More on that later in the post!
The second most important step for Facebook algorithm for 2018 is sharing.
In the graphic above on “signals” you might have noticed that Facebook mentions two types of sharing:
- People sharing links or content within Messenger
- Engagement with a publisher post shared by a friend
In other words, Facebook is placing a great deal of emphasis on posts that are shared publicly as well as privately.
But if I share a post from Buffer’s Page and it receives no comments (or reactions) from my friends, then Buffer’s post will begin to be demoted in the News Feed.
Keep a close eye on those shares moving forward!
The third main and interesting signal that Facebook will factor into their algorithm moving forward is reactions.
While not as strong as comments or shares, reactions remain a form of “active engagement” that will help brands’ posts reach more people within the News Feed.
What brands can do to succeed on Facebook
We need to focus on meaningful interactions. But what does that look like in action? Here are a few ways to ensure that your Page finds success in 2018.
1. Focus on content that connects people
Focusing on content that connects people through meaningful interactions may look and feel similar to your current Facebook strategy, but it’s a fundamental shift in how we might approach content moving forward.
Instead of creating content, for your brand, that people interact with, we need to start creating content, for the people, that will spark enough emotion to generate a comment or share.
Creating content for the people requires us to truly understand our audience on a deep level:
- What are your audience’s challenges?
- What are your audience’s motivations?
- What does your audience love to interact with?
- What does your audience care about?
That simple piece of knowledge helps to guide every single piece of content we create for social media.
2. Post content that naturally creates meaningful interactions
There are some types of content that naturally spark more meaningful interactions among users. Video is one of those types of content, and it can have a powerful impact on your Facebook success.
Produced videos already perform better than both links and images in terms of engagement on Facebook, and now Facebook Live videos perform better than everything!
3. Activate niche communities through Facebook Groups
More than one billion people around the world use Facebook Groups. And more than 100 million people see Groups as the most important part of their experience on Facebook.
Groups are the perfect way to build an active and engaged community around topics, issues, and causes that they care about. Whether it’s social media marketing, traveling, fashion, or anything else, there’s a huge group of people out there waiting to connect with like-minded people.
The real secret to Facebook Groups is the fact that they generate conversations among your audience and connect people from all over the world.
That’s why we’ve seen such a dramatic rise in the usage of groups and messaging apps over the past several years. In the sea of News Feed content, groups and message apps offer people a more private and personal way to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions.