Are you disillusioned or frustrated with Facebook?
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard bloggers say that they are unhappy with the changes Facebook have made to their algorithm in the last 12 months – changes that make it harder for those who ‘like’ your page to actually see your updates.
I admit to this frustration too.
12 months ago on a webinar I declared I was considering switching most of my social media efforts away from Facebook to other social networks because I was so frustrated. I’d put years of effort into building my Facebook following only to see the company make changes to show fewer and fewer of my updates to followers.
It hurt to see all that effort seemingly go to waste.
However it wasn’t wasted and rather than giving up I decided to try to understand and work within the changes Facebook had made.
Thankfully that approach has paid off.
As regular readers of ProBlogger know – of late I’ve been investing even more time into Facebook as a place to share the content published on dPS and to build community with our readers.
I wrote about this a few weeks ago in a post titled How I Increased Facebook Reach and Engagement by 200-300% this Week.
I’ve continued to experiment with and evolve the strategies mentioned in the above post on the dPS Facebook page but today wanted to point readers to Facebook’s own words on the changes they’ve made over the last few months – words that I think give some hints as to how a blogger should approach building their page on Facebook.
Towards the end of August Facebook published a post on their Business Blog titled News Feed FYI: Showing More High Quality Content which spoke of the changes that they’d made.
While it didn’t give specific information on exactly how their algorithm decides what updates to show it does give some good hints that I think are worth pondering as a Facebook page owner.
The post indicates there are thousands of factors that determine if someone who has liked your page will actually see your content but that really it boils down to a few main things. Here they are in the words of Facebook itslef:Make your posts timely and relevantBuild credibility and trust with your audienceAsk yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”Think about, “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds?”
The concepts here that stand out to me are that for a post to show up in news feeds it needs to be timely, relevant, trustworthy and shareable. Ultimately I think they’re talking about delivering high ‘value’ to those who like your page.
This is common sense on many levels and is similar to the advice I’ve given here on ProBlogger on building an audience of a blog.
High quality, high value content and building trust with your audience.
So what can you do to deliver this?
Ultimately it will different from niche to niche but what I’m attempting to do on the dPS Facebook page is this.
My followers want to improve their photography – so the bulk of what I share aims to help with this. Regular content that solves problems is what my main focus is – this is ‘relevancy’. I avoid fluffy and general questions to get cheap comments – but rather keep on topic and focus upon the topic I know those who’ve liked my page want to see.
My followers love to share great images, cool and geeky tips and humorous content. As a result I try to make as many of the updates that I do as shareable as possible.
Posts that link back to my blog always have shareable images in them and I will often put together collages of great images because I know those also trigger shares with our audience.
My niche being photography I know that many of our followers are most active in taking photos on the weekend. So we’ve started doing ‘share your photo’ posts on our Facebook page at the end of the weekend (see the latest one here).
I’ve done these the last 3 weeks and already our readers are starting to look forward to them and anticipate us doing them. This ‘timely’ content seems to be driving some great engagement.
I suspect that doing different types of posts regularly would be a good way forward and I’d like to do more of this.
The quality of updates is paramount. Publishing low quality content could at the worst cause followers to react negatively (hiding your posts, marking you as spam etc) or simply make them ignore you (not commenting, liking sharing).
This not only impact whether that post might be seen but goes toward decreasing the trust and credibility of your page!
Also in Facebook’s post there’s reference to negative factors that could harm a status update ranking well. Facebook recommends asking yourself these questions:Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)Would you call this a low quality post or meme?Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?
These points are well worth considering. I see a lot of bloggers who seem to be posting ‘like my stuff’ type updates or sharing fluffy/cheap quotes and graphics that don’t have a lot of value in them.
If my reading of the Facebook advice is correct – it is this type of update that Facebook is focused upon removing from news feeds and that could impact the trust/credibility of your page.
Perhaps a good question to ask before publishing an update to Facebook is ‘does this update run the risk of annoying my followers?‘
If you are posting updates that primarily ask for likes or that are after cheap shares or comments (which also have a high annoyance factor) then you might want to rethink your strategy.
Not only will these posts go unseen – they’ll impact the overall trust and credibility of your page which will impact whether ALL of your updates are seen!
I suspect also that the frequency of your updates could come into play with ‘annoying’ readers (and causing people to ‘hide’ your content).
The hard part about all of this is that there is sometimes a fine line between creating updates that are liked/shared/commented upon and tipping into annoying your readers. Really I guess it comes down to monitoring how your readers are responding and tweaking your approach.
A factor that I’m increasingly convinced is important to consider when thinking about your updates in Facebook is to mix up the types of posts that you do.
A factor that Facebook seems to consider when determining if it should show your update to someone who has liked your page is whether it is the type of content that they’ve interacted with in the past.
For example: if a follower has a history of engaging with images and your update is an image, they’re more likely to see it.
On the other hand if the follower has a history with engaging more with ‘link’ updates on the pages that they follow and all you post is images – then they may not see many of them.
So mixing up the type of updates that you post will mean you are reaching a larger number of your followers.
Typically I try to post at least one image/s post per day, one link post per day and one discussion type post per day.
My hope is that by doing this I’ll be producing content that different types of followers are going to respond to – which increases their engagement and trust with the page (which can only have a positive flow on impact).
I also hope that by mixing up the type of content that readers will be less likely to become bored with the same approach and stay engaged.
Let me finish with an encouragement to those of you who are disillusioned with Facebook.
I understand your frustration – really I do.
However when faced with any obstacle in life or business we have the choice in how to move forward. We can walk away – or attempt to hurdle it. I think this one is well worth attempting to hurdle and encourage you to spend some time thinking about how to evolve your approach to work with the changes Facebook has made.
While I know some are skeptical about Facebook’s changes and think they are more about trying to force pages to advertise (and there may be some truth in this) I do believe that for Facebook to continue to be sustainable and successful that they need to provide those who use the site with the best experience possible.
Facebook will only continue to be a viable proposition if they deliver value to those who use the social network.
As a result what I see them doing is making changes to their algorithm to ensure that those who use Facebook see high quality content.
This is an opportunity for bloggers who are producing great content!
With almost 1.2 billion active monthly users I think to ignore this opportunity would be crazy!