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October 19, 2012

Facebook Algorithm Change


Facebook has apparently made yet another “unannounced” change to their platform.  This time, the change to the algorithm has drastically and negatively affected brand page performance.

According to reports from agencies and community managers, some brands have seen between 20 and 50% depressions in engagement on fan pages, as well as in the performance of the “Reach” and “Talking About This” metrics.  What does this mean for page managers?  Basically, since brand page post visibility has been significantly lowered by this latest change, it seems the only way to achieve the visibility that was once garnered by compelling organic content is to place Facebook Ad dollars behind the content you want visible.

You heard it right kids.  Facebook is basically forcing brands on the platform to sponsor content in order to maintain the health and performance of the page.  Ironically, brands that have been running sponsored content since this change was made remain somewhat unaffected.  Shocking isn’t it?

There was no official announcement made, no warning shots fired, and VERY little explanation at all from Facebook representatives.  In fact, the only comment that we’ve seen on record from the platform that was reported in a recent Adage article that states the following from a Facebook spokesperson:

“We’re continuing to optimize News Feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.”

Because… you know… …content is always as engaging as posts from your friends/family when someone is paying for you to see it.  Obviously.

So what do brands and page managers do now?  Do we give in to this virtual bullying and fork over the cash to maintain the Facebook post performance that once was?  Or, do we accept the new performance levels as the new industry standard, and wait for Facebook to change it’s ways?  Only time and a few more content calendar post reports will tell.

In the meantime, here’s a few tips on how to satisfy the Facebook algorithm, and make the most out of your posts:

  • Post calls-to-action that require a response from fans. If people are talking, their friends are seeing it and also talking, making your brand more visible
  • Keep content original, and avoid repetition
  • Limit the copy of your posts to under 120 characters
  • Use visual elements like photos, which almost always get better visibility in newsfeeds
  • Don’t force content.  If you don’t have anything important to say, don’t say anything
  • Get your audience involved in the conversation.  Give them something to do, give them a place to do it and let them tell the story for you
  • Test your best days/times to post and the type of content that does well in those time slots and stick with your sweet spot until it changes
  • Don’t over post- one to two times per day should be the max
  • Reward positive user comments with more positivity to encourage that type of engagement
  • Listen.  See what works, pay attention to why, and stick with it
  • Adapt. There is no holy grail. The algorithm could change again tomorrow and you have to be ready to react to it

Have you noticed a decrease of engagement on the Facebook brand pages you manage?

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