What The New Facebook Algorithm Tweak Means To You

What The New Facebook Algorithm Tweak Means To You

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  • September 19, 2014

Yes, Facebook has tweaked its algorithm yet again. In this article, I’m going to give you my opinion as to what it means. It’s just my opinion and may not be worth the two cents that’s offered, but I’m pretty sure you’ll agree. I kind of have that swagger to believe that this isn’t a tough game to learn. You just have to be diligent.

You have to remember. There is no standing still in social media. Things are constantly evolving in our world. If you’re not keeping your nose to the grindstone and keeping your skills honed, you will fall behind.

So what’s the big news? Facebook wants to be like Twitter. The News Feed will be more about..well…news. The social network wants more trending topics showing up. If you think about it, a trending topic is what it is because more people want to hear about it. Which means more interaction.

“Our goal with News Feed is to show everyone the right content at the right time so they don’t miss the stories that are important to them.”

In fact Facebook says they’ve seen a 6% jump in engagement already. The whole idea is to show content that people actually want to see and are interested in.

When you dig deep into their announcement, you can also see how important timing is. I don’t know anybody who sits on Facebook all day, so more than likely what’s trending when I’m on Facebook in the morning, may not be trending when you’re on in the afternoon.

Some people advise against increasing post velocity. Personally, I adopted Guy Kawasaki’s posting model and began posting a lot more on both Twitter and Facebook. Guy’s reasoning was that mainstream media stories are often repeated through the day because people don’t watch the news all day long.

Here’s a newsflash for you…people don’t sit on Twitter and Facebook all day either. So what you post in the morning, may not even be “feedworthy” later in the afternoon. Facebook has realized that as well.

“There are also times when a post that is a day or two old may not be relevant to you anymore.”

I recently have had discussions with the CEO of a large marketing company who wants to take an ill-advised social approach of posting what HE believes people should see about his company. I’m pretty sure he’ll be wasting his time. Facebook’s announcement may in fact underscore what I’m thinking about his approach.

“One way we show timely content higher-up in News Feed is to show people stories about things that are trending as soon as they occur, so you can immediately know what your friends or favorite Pages are saying about the stories of the day.”

Look at that quote real hard and let it set in. Facebook isn’t shy about telling you that they are manipulating the News Feed to show content that THEY believe is best for audiences. They also seem to indicate that they absolutely want you to be commenting and taking action on the stories that are trending. Doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of room for misinterpretation.

The aforementioned CEO has actually admonished that he doesn’t believe that being involved “in the conversation” is a good idea. He feels that curation and giving opinion on what people actually care about is an impediment to the success of his business.

That may be true based upon his objectives. But if it is true, he might as well not post on social media at all. Why? Because it’s wholly against what Facebook wants to see on pages and profiles.

“This means that when a friend or Page you are connected to posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner”

Furthermore, my friend the CEO, like some others, repudiates the obvious value of engagement. What you always must remember, is that every client, every customer ( how I hate that word), and every prospect…is a person first.

That business owner, brand manager, team executive,…every single person that you want to do business with, eats, goes to the bathroom, feels pain, feels love, likes to laugh, sometimes cries, gets angry, has a favorite television show or movie, loves music, probably has some family issues, has a political affiliation, and certainly has an opinion about something. How do I know this? Because they’re friggin walking, talking, pooping humans!

And guess what they want to see in their News Feeds?

“Early testing of a small percentage of posts has shown that this update on average leads to a more than 6% increase in people engaging with these stories (e.g., more people share, comment, like or click).”

A second update is in regard to “when” people are interacting with stories. They’ve measured interaction for quite some time as a sign of relevance. ( which means posts no one cares about have always been buried…deservedly so), now they’re also taking a hard look at timed velocity.

“With this update, we are going to begin looking at when people are choosing to like, comment and share. If people are engaging with the post right after it is posted, and not as much a few hours later, this suggests that the post was most interesting at the time it was posted, but potentially less interesting at a later date.

Based on this signal it is more likely to appear higher in News Feed earlier on and lower at a later date.We are also going to start taking this signal into account when considering which stories we bump in News Feed.”

The bottom line on social media has always been and will continue to be the creation, curation and publication of timely, relevant, content that your audience (not your customer), wants to see.

The audience is in control. ANY executive at any company who doesn’t understand this foundational premise of social media, shouldn’t be on social media. It’s very simple and it’s been said many, many, times by people a lot smarter than me. YOU no longer control the message. It is being controlled for you. There remains one, and only one caveat.

“Pages should keep producing great content that is relevant and resonates with their audience.”

Anything to the contrary is simply a waste of time and neither Twitter or Facebook wants your pablum in their feeds. Which leads me to one last, but very important point. The problem a lot of brands and businesses may have, is that they don’t know how to align their content with a trend. Aaah…the art of newsjacking. That my friends, is why guys and gals like myself get the big bucks! :)

If you’re not spending money on Facebook, this algorithm tweak doesn’t matter. If you’re posting anything, without supporting the content with money, no one is going to see it anyway. So if you’re one of those business owners or execs who still operates under the mindset that social media is free, you’ve already lost. Hear this loud and clear. Organic reach is dead and buried.

Here’s the new formula…and if you read between the lines, it’s quite clear.

the formula for social media reach...for now

the formula for social media reach…for now

Until the next tweak that is. C’ya around the campus!

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Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Helping brands & sports teams become the media. Making consumers happy one innovative campaign at a time. #socialtv Click to join Barry Cunningham on Google+ Google

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