Facebook recognizes that each user has hundreds of connections to friends, family, and businesses who are all regularly sharing content. In an effort to avoid overwhelming individuals with Facebook News Feed content, Facebook introduced the News Feed Algorithm (formerly known as EdgeRank) to deliver the right content to the right people. That means that not everything you post is seen by all of your fans. This may sound unfair, but the News Feed Algorithm actually makes your (and your fans) experience on Facebook more enjoyable.
The News Feed Algorithm uses several factors to determine what content will get the most airtime in the news feed. Here are the three most important factors Facebook considers when deciding whether your content will get a coveted spot in the news feed.
Facebook calculates the official “engagement rate” for each post by adding the number of clicks, likes, shares, and comments on a post together and then dividing that number by the total number of people who saw the post. This rate is calculated to quantify what share of your audience engaged with your content, providing an indicator about the quality of your content.
Ultimately the best content generates engagement from the majority of the individuals it reaches. If one post is reaching a significant amount of people but not producing much engagement (take a look at your text-only posts), Facebook will conclude that the post is uninteresting to your audience and will reduce the frequency your content appears in the news feed.
Image source: Photospin.com
Steps you can take: Focus on understanding what type of content your audience likes, comments, shares, or clicks on to create the most engaging content that will help you stand out in the news feed. The more that your fans engage with your content, the more likely they’ll see your content again!
When you clutter up your fans’ news feeds with unwanted, spammy, or irrelevant content, it likely to produce a high rate of negative feedback. Negative feedback is when fans hide your post or report it as spam. This negative feedback indicates to Facebook that you are posting bad content, which should not be shared out widely.
Steps you can take: Take the time to dig into your Facebook Insights to see which content is attracting negative feedback from your target audience. If the same type of content is generating a negative response again and again, it may be time to rethink your strategy. Steer clear of posting too many images or off-topic content to avoid increasing your negative feedback rate. Instead, focus on quality content that’s relevant to your audience.
Facebook keeps track of the last fifty people or pages a fan interacted with, and gives a small boost to the visibility of those last fifty people/pages in the news feed. These tracked interactions include engagement, as well as profile and photos views. As a business page, it is ideal to be a part of those last fifty interactions in order to ensure your content gets seen. If you go too long without posting something new, you risk the chance of falling out of a fan’s last fifty interactions.
Steps you can take: Set an attainable goal for the amount of posts you want to publish each week —aim for 3-4 times a week. By sticking to a schedule, you’ll generate regular engagement (Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm likes this). Since it can be easy to lose track of the week and miss a post, consider using the Facebook Scheduler to schedule half of your weekly posts at the start of the week to keep you on track.
Quality content is the key
Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm may sound intimidating, but you better not pout, and you definitely better not cry, because getting on Facebook’s “nice list” is not that hard. Just focus on creating quality, engaging content that your fans will love, and when Facebook makes their list and checks it twice, you will find yourself on their “nice list” all year long!
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Ellen Williams, Constant Contact Regional Development Director, New York and Southern Connecticut
Ellen has over 20 years of technology and marketing experience and has presented to over 4,000 small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Her advice on best practices help organizations understand how to build great customer relationships that inevitable grow their businesses.