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How Does Facebook’s Algorithm Work, And How Do I Use It?

Facebook's Algorithm

How Does Facebook’s Algorithm Work, And How Do I Use It?

Facebook is one of the most powerful levers to develop the notoriety of companies and brands, whatever their size and their audience. However, when you start managing your page, you are often disappointed by its performance, significantly the scope of its publications. Among the recurring questions about Facebook pages, the most frequent is by far the following.

Why Do My Posts Reach So Few People, And How Can I Fix It? 

To understand how Facebook manages the visibility of publications, we must first understand that the content published on a page does not appear in news feeds by chance. Their distribution is orchestrated by an algorithm introduced by the social network in 2010 and in constant evolution since.

The latter constitutes the cornerstone of exchanges between pages and profiles by filtering the available content according to increasingly numerous and increasingly precise criteria. It has recently been called the Newsfeed Ranking Algorithm, which replaces the previous version, EdgeRank. For those who run a pro page, the Newsfeed is a constraint you must learn to take advantage of.

And to optimize your publications to maximize their impact, you must first take an interest in the functioning of this learned system. Let’s take a quick look at some theoretical elements before discussing the practical tips to help you reach a more broad and relevant audience.

Understand Why The Newsfeed And How It Works

The problem is the same for all social networks: the multiplication of content saturates them a little more daily. On Facebook, while individuals, pages, and groups produce in quantity, the ability to receive from users is, on the contrary, limited by the time and attention they want to give to their feed News. 

If Facebook is so popular, it is precisely thanks to its ability to prioritize content likely to retain its users through the mass sorting operated by the Newsfeed. By comparison, let’s talk about how Twitter works, which until very recently was satisfied with the sole criterion of temporality to organize the distribution of content. The most recent tweets appeared first in the followers’ feeds without any personalization factor or consideration for their quality. 

Where Facebook’s system has been pushing professionals for years to offer ever more relevant content for their audience, Twitter’s had the opposite effect: to be more visible, you had to post in quantity… to the detriment of the rest. Newsfeed’s exact recipe is kept secret to discourage Page admins from calibrating their posts on items that are purely quick to satisfy a mathematical formula. 

However, we know the main lines, thanks to the platform itself as well as the work of social network professionals. Despite the name change, the latest changes made by Facebook have yet to transform the algorithm fundamentally. The News Feed remains in the continuity of the EdgeRank. The most recent source of information is Adam Mosseri’s speech at the last F8 conference. There are three main criteria:

Story Type

It corresponds to the format of your content. Over the years, Facebook has increased the possibilities of expression for individuals and businesses. Alongside the traditional posts with or without a link, with or without a photo, you can, for example, now add a video or an article, share a moment live with your fans or add a call to action button on your page and in your posts. Not all formats have the same value: content more likely to attract attention will naturally be preferred.

Commitment

This is part of the immediate engagement relating to the post itself. Facebook measures it by the time spent on your content and the level of interactions generated from the first minutes. By level of interactions, we mean clicks, “likes,” and other reactions, comments, and shares. We can use this image of concentric circles to fully understand the role of immediate engagement in disseminating content.

Within minutes of posting, your post is shown to a small proportion of your audience.  If the latter reacts, the scope extends to a second circle, more comprehensive and affecting both your fans and their friends, until the reactions run out. This explains the phenomenon of the virality of certain publications.

Post-specific engagement is combined with overall page engagement. The logic is simple: the more the content of a page has generated interactions in the past, the more its future publications are likely to generate reactions. Facebook, therefore, favors pages capable of sustainably engaging their audience.

Freshness

This is the time component of the algorithm. To constantly renew content, the rule is that the reach of posts decreases over time. Learn to take advantage of Newsfeed Ranking. By looking at the logic of the Newsfeed, we better understand how to create compelling content on Facebook. So let’s move on to practice with a series of simple tips to put in place to optimize the posts on your page.

Prioritize Visual Content

In the great battle for attention being played out every second on social networks, visual content has a definite advantage over others and is therefore favored by the Facebook algorithm. Clear : Pay attention to your visuals and use the Story Type to your advantage. For example, to post a link, you can choose to include it in an editorial by adding a photo in the following way:

Think Mobile

In 2017, more than two-thirds of Facebook users connect to it daily via smartphone. Think of them:

  1. Create content adapted to small screens, for example, by avoiding too imposing editorials or by using clear and readable visuals on mobile
  2. Think about the gestures of mobile users and how they can allow you to interact with your fans. The carousel is an excellent example of “thumb-friendly” content and easily replaces the album to share a series of photos: 

Use Native Options

Facebook has only one goal: that we spend as much time as possible on it. With this in mind, native options multiply, and their use by pro pages is highly rewarded. Let’s take the example, mainly speaking, of video content: On the right, the video uploaded directly to Facebook retains the user.

On the left, the link to Youtube makes him leave the platform, with the risk that he detaches himself from it in favor of a competing social network. You will increase their potential and effective reach by uploading your videos directly to Facebook.

Understand Your Audience

To identify which type of content most strongly engages your audience and inspires you for the future, go to your page’s “Statistics” tab. In the “Posts” section, start by examining your engagement rates by clicking on the arrow at the top right of the table grouping the data relating to your posts: Go further by exploring the different options offered by Facebook. 

For example, you can study more precisely how your posts engage your audience by calculating your rates of clicks, “Likes,” or more engaging reactions. By selecting “Hidden Posts: All Hidden Posts,” you can also track any adverse reactions from your audience. Warning: these impact the general engagement of the page,  reducing the reach of your subsequent posts.

Foster Valuable Interactions

Regarding engagement, not all types of interactions are created equal. Logic dictates that the more time and attention the interaction requires, the more it is valued by the algorithm. Therefore, a share or a comment will have more impact than a “Like” or a simple click.

To get more interactions that matter, feel free to engage your audience by clarifying what you want from them. For example, you can ask him questions and invite him to comment or be more direct through calls to action. “Click,” “Share,” and “Tag a friend in the comments”… are all words which, used well, will help you multiply reactions.

Publish At The Right Time

The system of concentric circles and the criterion of freshness mentioned above should encourage you to seek interaction quickly after each publication. Facebook allows you, still in the “Publications” tab of your statistics, to have a precise overview of the days and times when your audience is online. This information is valuable: it gives you a first point of reference. 

In the example above, we observe a slight peak in connections around 12 p.m.-1 p.m., so we will choose to post around 11:30 a.m. You can schedule your posts in advance directly from Facebook to make it easier for you. To do this, go to your page’s “Publishing tools” section, then “Scheduled publications.” Here, it is necessary to bring a precision of size. 

Engagement doesn’t necessarily follow connections; you must find the best times to post yourself. There is no secret to this: test, observe… and start again. The algorithm developed by Facebook and worked on daily by its engineers makes it a subtle machine that gets a little sharper daily.

Today, if we set aside these few tips, which remain applicable to the vast majority of pages, it becomes increasingly complex to generally advise structures on managing their content because what is valid for one is more necessarily so for the other. Each company is unique, and implementing a unique solution for each must be privileged.

Read Also: Top 20 Tools For Community Managers In 2023

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