If you want to succeed on Facebook, you have to learn to play by its rules. That means learning about the Facebook algorithm and creating content that makes the social network work for you rather than against you.
But can you cheat the algorithm so that your posts show up on everyone’s feeds without boosting them? Can you create content specifically to beat the algorithm?
First, let’s take a look at how the algorithm works.
How The Facebook Algorithm Sorts Content
In simple terms, the Facebook algorithm shows a user exactly what they want to see (or what Facebook believes they want to see). How the algorithm figures this out is by studying a user’s behavior over time and collecting that data.
Facebook uses thousands of variables from each user to rank posts and choose what to show. But at the same time, Facebook weighs posts based on its company strategy.
From experience, my team and I have learned that the following are important factors in what Facebook shows a user:
- Friends Over Pages. Your friends and what they post are scored higher than what pages post. Facebook is primarily a social network, so your friends get a bump over everything else.
- Type of Content. Facebook believes that certain types of content are more interesting to users than others. A text-only update is at the bottom of the ladder, above that is a post with an image, then video, then live video at the top.
- Post Engagement. The more engagement a post gets, the more it will show up in other feeds, especially if the engagement happens quickly. That means your content had better be something that people want to interact with!
- What You’ve Already Seen. If someone sees your post, scrolls past it, then goes to find it later, it will probably be gone. Once a user passes a post, Facebook assumes they don’t want to see it and removes it from the News Feed.
- Trendiness. If the topic of a post has been trending, Facebook will give it a bump. If you’re posting about the Super Bowl while it’s happening, your post is more likely to be seen.
- Preferences. If you’ve decided to hide the posts of a friend or page, they’ll never get shown no matter how amazing they are. But Facebook also looks at your user behavior to figure out your unsaid preferences, so remember that brand posts can be hidden even without users actively choosing not to see them.
So the question is: Since we know all of the things that Facebook uses to weigh the content it shows, is there a way to game the system?
Working With The Facebook Algorithm To Increase Engagement
The bad news first:
There is no way to game Facebook’s algorithm.
Every user on Facebook is different, so what they see is different too. It would be impossible to create content that ticked the boxes for every user connected to you. No page could reach every one of its followers with a single social media post.
The good news is:
There are a few techniques you can use to increase the engagement and visibility of your posts.
- Focus on engaging content. You want to post something that makes users stop their scroll. A photo or video will stop a user for a moment and make them more likely to interact with the rest of your post.
- Use trends to your advantage. Can you create a post that is relevant to a current trend? Is a current news story connected to your business in some way? If so, it’d make the great base for a post.
- Investigate your audience. Create content they want to see. Use your audience insights to find out what age your followers are, what interests them, etc.
- Vary your content. If you continuously post the same type of content to your page, you’ll bore your dedicated followers and also annoy followers who aren’t interested in that type of content. User A might love your photos but hate your videos. User B might love your videos and hate your photos. To please them both, you need to make content for both.
Remember above all that Facebook will show users what they want to see. If you make content that nobody would want to look at, then nobody will see it. It’s just as simple as that, so focus more on your content and less on gimmicky marketing tips for an algorithm that will change soon anyway.
Do you have more questions about the Facebook algorithm? Let’s discuss them during your free consultation with The Go! Agency!