Facebook’s Algorithm Update: What it means for small businesses

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Have you noticed that your Facebook news feed is cluttered? Maybe all you want to see is pictures of your niece’s dance recital or how your business is doing with its outreach, but clickbait posts keep fishing for likes, shares and comments.

Enough users have complained to Facebook about these posts that the social media platform will change its algorithm for which posts people see the most in an effort to crack down on what it’s calling “engagement bait.”

In a Facebook blog post on Thursday, the company explained it will demote engagement bait posts and pages starting this week.

In the release, News Feed Head Adam Mosseri wrote, “Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships. One of the ways we do this is by connecting people to meaningful posts from their friends and family in News Feed. Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.”

In addition, Mark Zuckerberg posted the following:

According to the Facebook blog post, as this update takes place, Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Meanwhile, Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see “less of an effect.”

While this will most likely be a welcome change for Facebook users who loathe scrolling through news feeds littered with clickbait posts, some small businesses without much social media outreach could stand to suffer consequences from these changes. However, those with keen social media approaches – such as those who actively engage with their audiences through features like Facebook Live – won’t have to worry.

Facebook Live is more important now than ever, and will be an important part of social media strategy. Sharing content like this is not only a tactical outreach plan, but it is also going to be one way in which businesses are able to overcome the algorithm changes in order to directly communicate with their consumer bases.

According to Alfred Lua of Buffer Social, Pages that won’t see much of a change in their algorithms include those with:

  • Posts with many likes, comments and shares
  • Posts that receive a high volume of likes, comments or shares in a short time
  • Posts that are liked, commented on, or shared by friends
  • Linked posts
  • Post types that users seem to prefer more than others (e.g., photo, video or status update)
  • Videos uploaded to Facebook that receive a large number of views or extended viewing duration
  • Posts that are timely or reference a trending topic
  • Posts from Pages that one interacts with often
  • Posts from Pages with complete profile information

 

Pages which will experience the most negative effects include those which primarily interact through the following:

  • Clickbait
  • Like-baiting
  • Posts that include “spammy” links
  • Frequently circulated content and repeated posts
  • Text-only status updates from Pages
  • Posts that are frequently hidden or reported
  • Posts that ask for likes, comments, or shares
  • Posts with unusual engagement patterns (a like-baiting signal)
  • Overly promotional content from Pages—pushing people to buy an app or service, pushing people to enter a contest or sweepstakes, posts that reuse the same text from ads

 

We believe that, while this update harms small businesses, it’s really putting an emphasis on what makes social media more social. Engaging with those interested in your business or product is a virtue in the 21st century as it’s a way to connect with people as not only your brand but also as individuals.

Brands need to adapt to the digital age and stay on top of updates like these in order to continue community involvement and company growth.

Have questions about the algorithm update and how it might affect your business? Reach out to Ellen. Or, tune-in to our Facebook Live at 10 a.m. Wednesday to have your specific questions about the algorithm answered.

Contributing Author: Alexandria Mansfield, Hello Social Co.

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