The Facebook algorithm has been in the news quite a bit lately, when I say news I mean Social Media news of course, doubt the Daily Mail will be running a head line Facebook algorithm hits rock bottom! Besides we all need to know what Kim Kardashian is up to
Most of these stories and research spoke of how hard its getting to achieve organic reach for brands. One company got fed up with the whole thing and wrote this love letter to Facebook about the end of their relationship, Ogilvy released this chart on what the reach is on Facebook brand pages
It’s not looking good. Brands are pissed. Social media managers are kicking off and community managers are having breakdowns.
So I’ve written a post here to show you how I went about making my clients Facebook pages counter that algorithm. This is the first part. Enjoy
In case you are sitting there thinking “what is he on about”, lets quickly explain the Facebook Algorithm :
Lets say you and I are friends on Facebook, lets say we met at a party had a good chat and thought lets add one another. For a few weeks we start to see each others updates. I see your fantastic instagram pictures and how much you love your dog Keith. You see me quoting Miley Cyrus lyrics and creating one direction galleries. I click like on your photos, you comment on my picture of Harry. Great. All is well. After a few weeks I start to get a little board with your now ‘Hipster’ photographs and don’t interact with them. I don’t comment, nothing. Facebook starts thinking, this guy isn’t interested in this guy anymore maybe we should show a little less and serve stuff he’s interested in. Facebook keeps doing this until it finally stops, pushes you all the way down in my most engaged friends. I no longer see your content.
The same goes for brands. But even quicker. If you ‘like’ product X a while ago, but never interact with their stuff. Facebook will stop sending you that content. Plus, you probably never go back to the actual page you liked, you consume the majority of the content in your news feed. Once again, if Facebook sees you aren’t interested it will start to remove it from your timeline.
This is a good thing, well for you. A massive pain in the ass for brands.
If there was no Facebook algorithm you would see each and every page you like, each and every post of your 400 friends. (who has 400 friends?)
So how do I go about counteracting this?
Every single post you publish on Facebook starts deteriorating from the get go. You need to make sure each and every post is something that works with your audience. Yes I know this sounds like a quote from some Social Media conference presented by Captain Obvious. The reason I stress this is that the weak ones will effect your reach. What this means is, If your first post kicked ass and loads of your fans engaged by sharing, commentating and so on but then your second didn’t do so good Facebook will take this into account and start to penalise your reach. Bastards!
This is another way Facebook is ensuring brands are posting quality content, not just those Spammy ‘Whats everyone up to for the weekend’ Its up to you to ensure that that content is working. Which I will be explaining how I do it in part 2 of this post.
There are factors to take into account alongside quality of content. One is Frequency – how often do you post? Facebook will see you as spammy if you regularly post weak performing content. your reach will start to drop. (Plus a user that sees too much content from you will unlike) – there is no set formula for post frequency, it differs per fan base. If your current social agency or guy has quoted you on 4 posts a day, they are bullshitting you. You need to find your frequency.
So at this point we have quality of Content and Frequency to take into account.
I look after a fashion retail client that has very specific brand guidelines, but they want high engagement plus lots of eCommerce traffic. Now over time I’ve worked out what content works with their audience, plus how often it should go out. Their reach has remained well above the benchmarks we established. However they want to show the sales numbers too, thing is their audience does not like sales messaging. Most fans will get irritated if they are constantly pushed sales messages.
So heres what we did :
- Once frequency was established we stuck to that
- We defined the types of posts and content that was effective
- We then slotted the sales messaging in between that.
Simple right? Think about it, you post quality content, they love you and engage, you then post a sales pitch and no one really reacts from an engagement point of view. Yes a load of users will see it, and hopefully your call to action is sending them to your site, but once Facebook sees you are posting a low engaging piece of content – it starts to penalise your reach. So you counter it and slot in your next piece within your frequency and keep it up.
In other words for every sales message make sure you have great content before and after. This is only for when you are planning sales messaging, keep the 80/20 rule for content. 80% great content 20% sales messaging.
That make sense? It’s all about keeping those fans happy.
Thats a simple version on how I could post content I knew the audience didn’t like but still maintain that reach
In the next part I’m going to show you the little tricks I used to find what post types and content worked then another post on how paid media wakes up dormant fans and gives your page a little bit of a boost – but I’ll show you how to use it effectively.
See you then