The Facebook Algorithm – How to stay on the right side of it and increase your Facebook reach

With over 60 million businesses using Facebook (as of Q1 2017) – competing for the hearts and minds of Facebook users has become more of a challenge than ever recently. Facebook’s recent algorithm update hasn’t made things any easier and has seen many Facebook pages, that once received hundreds of organic viewings, clicks and likes reduced to single figures.

Facebook’s official line in all of this is that it wants to deliver more relevant content to the end user but the reality for all but the biggest brands is that is you want to get noticed, you’ll need to “pay to play” by sponsoring your daily Facebook posts. But even that’s not enough to guarantee you reach your desired audience. You’ll still be competing with other businesses who are targeting the same customers and also paying to promote their posts. So how do you ensure Facebook puts your posts above those that are competing for the same audience? How do you ensure you win favour with the Facebook Algorithm? Here some useful tips.

Facebook likes positivity

If your strategy is to post “risqué” content which might provoke negative reactions, it’s time for a rethink. The Facebook algorithm ranks posts with positive reactions above those with negative reactions. Negative reactions include unfollows, hiding of posts, marking a post as spam and even negative sentiment in the comments. If your page is regularly receiving negative reactions, it will quickly go down the Facebook rankings.

Facebook values shares and comments above likes

At businesshands we’ve always believed it’s much more powerful to encourage engagement with your audience rather than simply asking them to passively like your post. It seems Facebook agrees so going forward, you’ll need to think about how your posts can encourage debate and add value to the viewer. This strategy will help to weed out business pages that are simply farming out uninspiring content for the sake of posting something on a regular basis. It means if you want to gain favour with the Facebook algorithm, you’ll need to post regular, high quality, thought-provoking content which sparks the imagination and interest of your intended audience.

Facebook doesn’t like clickbait or fake video

Have you ever clicked on a play button on a Facebook post only to be taken to another website? It turns out the video wasn’t a video at all, just an image with a play button linking to a website page. Going forward this is a big no-no. Videos which simply contain static images will also not rank going forward.

Facebook likes real video and it likes its own videos best

Countless studies over the past few years have shown that the best performing posts on Facebook contain video, but did you know that native Facebook videos (i.e. videos uploaded directly to Facebook rather than a link to a video on an external website) are over 10 x more likely to be shared. A study completed by quintly of over 160,000 profiles found that Facebook native videos have a 1055% higher share rate than those from YouTube or other sources. They also have a 186% higher interaction rate (likes / comments).  It’s worth noting that the Facebook algorithm ranks longer videos above shorter ones and also places a ranking on the % completion. The idea being that the longer someone watches the video, the higher the quality of the content must be.

Don’t forget, in addition to posting pre-made content, Facebook also offers its Facebook live feature which enables you to deliver a live feed to talk about key issues or report from a particular event.  Facebook users are 3 x more likely to watch a live video than a pre-recorded one. We’ve used this feature with our clients to great effect and the audience really does love it so it’s worth thinking about how you can incorporate this into your Facebook strategy going forward.

Content sources matter

For many businesses, its simply not possible to create unique, high quality content every day and curating content from other websites is a perfectly acceptable strategy to use. What’s important to remember with curated content though is that quality matters. I can’t count the number of times I’ve clicked through on a link to a post only to find the content is either out of date, completely incorrect or simply not worth posting. Remember, your Facebook page is being graded on the number of shares and comments it receives on its posts. If you’re lazily posting random content without checking it, you’ll pay the price.

Even with quality content however, it’s worth testing different sources. Your followers will have preferences and will enjoy or relate more to content from some sources than others. Finding out which sources your followers prefer will help to increase those all important shares and comments.

That’s it for this article. If you would like more information about how to use Facebook effectively for your business, or you would like to talk about our managed social media services, why not contact a member of the team today on 0207 458 4788.