What inventors should know, and do, about Facebook’s latest changes
Facebook updated its algorithm to prioritize friends, links, pages and groups users want to hear from most.
BY ELIZABETH BREEDLOVE
One of the challenging things about using social media as part of your marketing strategy is that the way the most popular networks work is constantly changing.
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter frequently update the algorithms that determine what content is shown in users’ feeds. This means that a strategy that works well one month may cause a dip in engagement a few months later. Therefore, it’s important for inventors to pay attention to any sweeping changes these platforms make and adjust their strategy accordingly, so your content can be seen.
In May, Facebook announced a few changes to the way it was ranking information to fill the news feeds:
“As we’ve said in the past, it’s not about the amount of time someone spends on Facebook, but rather the quality of time spent. That means making sure people see what they want to see—whether that’s posts from family and friends or news articles and videos from Pages they follow.
“To do this, we try to understand what people are already doing on Facebook—what they like, comment on and share. We also use surveys to get more context about the posts people want to see and who they want to see them from. Today, we are announcing two ranking updates based on surveys we’ve conducted: one prioritizes the friends someone might want to hear from most and the other prioritizes the links a person might consider most worthwhile.”
Later in the month, Facebook added:
“We know that friends are not the only reason people come to Facebook. Many people come to see the latest from the Pages they follow and the groups they are a part of. In addition to surveying people asking them which friends they were closest to, we started two additional surveys asking people 1) how interested they are in content from a specific Page they follow, and 2) how important a specific group they’ve joined is to them.
“Using these survey results, we have updated our algorithm to prioritize the Pages and groups we predict an individual may care about most. Some of the indicators of how meaningful a Page or group is might include how long someone has followed a Page or been a part of a group; how often someone engages with a Page or group; and how often a Page or group posts.”
To summarize, Facebook updated the algorithm to prioritize friends, links, pages and groups users want to hear from most.
Making it work for you
So, what does this mean for inventors using Facebook to promote their inventions?
At the most basic level, the best way to “beat” the Facebook algorithm and make sure your content is seen is to post content that your audience finds interesting and valuable. If your content isn’t meaningful, it’s going to get buried by other more interesting posts.
Don’t be intimidated, though. Here are a few ways to create content that is more meaningful and engaging, to ensure you’re able to spread the word about your invention.
Avoid engagement bait: Gone are the days of posts asking users to “like if…” or “share if….” followed by some broadly applicable qualifier (for example, “Share if you’ll be celebrating the 4th of July at the beach.”).
Now, Facebook’s algorithm picks up on these types of posts and views them as shameless engagement bait. You’ll be penalized for using posts like this to get engagement on your posts. However, there are still ways to encourage engagement on your posts. For example …
Ask questions to drive engagement: There’s nothing wrong with encouraging discussion in the comments; Facebook wants users to interact with its platform, so the algorithm won’t penalize you for posting something that encourages comments.
Building from the previous example, instead of telling your audience to share your post if they’re celebrating the holiday at the beach, include a question in your post such as, “How are you celebrating the 4th of July this year?” Engagement is still a major factor in how Facebook ranks posts, so keep this in mind and craft posts with which your users are likely to engage.
Use native content: One thing that hasn’t changed with Facebook’s algorithm updates is the platform’s prioritization of native content.
Think about it this way: Facebook prefers not to drive content offsite. Those who build the algorithm have to balance content users care about with the need to keep users onsite to increase advertising revenue, so interesting native content will always win. Look for ways to use video, photos, polls and other native options to publish content your users will care about.
Use live video: If you’re unsure of how to implement more native content into your social media marketing strategy, consider Facebook Live. Facebook Live has many benefits beyond just being native content:
- It provides a much more personal, perhaps behind-the-scenes look at your company by being more casual and letting users respond to you in real time, and vice versa.
- It allows you to build a connection with your audience.
- It’s cost effective because you won’t have to worry about expensive video production costs.
- It’s likely to be seen in the News Feed, and users may also get a notification that you’re live.
The benefits are nearly endless.
Use Facebook Groups: Don’t forget an important part of Facebook’s algorithm update, Facebook groups. Facebook groups are all about conversation and discussion, so they are a great place to create interesting, valuable and engaging content. Consider starting your own group for fans of your invention to connect with each other. If others are posting and interacting with content centered around your product, the word will spread and you’ll grow your audience.
Use Facebook Ads: Although Facebook does care about high-quality organic content, the platform is still a business that makes money from ad revenue. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your time spent managing your social media, combine organic content with Facebook Ads.
Facebook offers many different types of ads. To get the best ROAS using these, you’ll most likely want to work with a Facebook ad agency. However, if your goal is to manage your own ads, try boosting an organic post that is already performing well; throwing some ad spend behind it should help it perform even better.