Your customers engage with your brand through Facebook. That means that whenever Facebook changes its algorithm, your business sees significant effects. You might not be concerned if your likes and comments start to drop, but the overall impact can be chilling. If your customers aren’t seeing your brand on Facebook, they’re less likely to click through to your website, and your bottom line can be seriously affected as a result. Yes, the Facebook algorithm, which determines what appears on users’ news feeds, will change again — but in the meantime, you could suffer some serious problems if you don’t respond. Staying informed about changes to Facebook helps you minimize negative effects, maintain customer engagement, and stay in touch with your users.
Understanding the Facebook Algorithm
So how does the Facebook algorithm work, anyway? When you log in to your personal page, you may wonder why you see posts from some people and not from others. Because millions of posts hit Facebook daily, the platform has to decide which stories to show to each user. A frequently changing set of rules — the Facebook algorithm — makes that determination.
As a Facebook user, you don’t have access to the exact algorithm, but you can figure out some of its elements from looking at your news feed. Facebook clearly prefers informative and entertaining posts. It also analyzes the behaviour of each user to decide which stories they’re likely to find interesting.
This means that if your customers don’t like, comment on, or click on your posts, Facebook may interpret their behaviour as meaning that they’re not interested in your company. The Facebook algorithm will then stop showing your posts to them — and your outreach on Facebook may suffer accordingly.
How Can Algorithm Changes Affect My Business?
Occasionally, Facebook makes changes to its algorithm, usually to make the experience better for users. These changes may help your business — or they may not. In January 2018, Facebook announced it would start showing less "public content," by which it means fewer posts from publishers and businesses.
As a business owner, that means your company’s Facebook posts are likely to reach fewer people. This is especially true if your stories generally don’t get many comments or reactions. As a result, the people who follow your page may never see your posts, which means lower traffic to your website.
Ways to Stay Informed
Staying informed about Facebook algorithm changes can help you react quickly. The best place to get updates is the Facebook Newsroom; each time the company makes a change, it explains the change in a news story. Entrepreneur also keeps a running list of all algorithm changes, along with useful tips that can help you adjust. It’s also a good idea to monitor publications such as the Toronto Star or Macleans, both of which frequently publish stories that can help you stay up-to-date on Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm.
Shifting Your Facebook Strategy
If this all sounds intimidating, don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to keep your company’s marketing strategy relevant on Facebook, even when the algorithm changes. Fortunately, Facebook is usually clear about what it wants. During the January 2018 update, the company specifically said it wanted posts that "spark conversations and meaningful interactions." With that information, you can change your posting strategy to inspire discussion. Try streaming a live video, or ask questions that inspire your customers to have discussions in the comments section. Keep in mind that Facebook always prioritizes business pages with lots of customer interaction. To boost your engagement, you can use contests, post polls, or simply invite your customers to share your posts.
Facebook is always changing, which can be confusing for businesses. When you stay updated on algorithm changes, it’s easier to react quickly to keep your company’s Facebook page afloat.