With more than one billion daily active users on Facebook, it’s no surprise brands are choosing the social media giant to tell their story and engage with their customers.   What is surprising, however, is how few brand-generated posts actually display in news feeds…even those belonging to their fans.  This leaves many social media marketers scratching their head asking why?

Since 2006, Facebook has used an algorithm to evaluate and deliver content determined to be the most relevant to each specific user.  The goal is to provide a greater user experience, more frequent Facebook visits, and more impressions for Facebook’s two million advertisers.

I, for one, am grateful they filter my news feed!  Can you imagine logging on to Facebook and being presented with every single post from each and every so-called “friend” and brand you follow?  How many hash-tagged memes, pop culture quizzes, event RSVPs and inspirational quotes would you have to endure before you finally got to the good stuff?  And, by good stuff, I mean the birthday party photos I was desperately searching for to determine if I behaved until the end of the party – even though I don’t remember the end of the party.  Whew.  #DignityRetained.

As more and more people and brands join Facebook, the amount of content available increases, shrinking the amount of content generated by your friends and followed brands making it into your news feed.  Facebook estimates that the average user who spends 20 minutes per day, has access to more than 1,500 posts but only looks at 300.

So what feeds the Facebook News Feed algorithm?

  1. Engineers continuously assess the billions of likes, comments and clicks Facebook users make each day to discover ways to make us like, comment and click more. You know… science stuff.
  1. Contract workers are paid to scroll through their personal news feeds to assess how well Facebook presents stories relative to their personal preferences. Yes, professional scrollers! I should be so lucky.

So what influences the algorithm?

Creator – How often you like a person or page’s posts, comment or share their posts, or communicate with them via Facebook messenger determines how often their posts make it into your newsfeed.

Post – The better a post performs with other users, the more likely it is to make it into your news feed. And, actions speak louder than likes.  Simply liking a post is better than nothing at all.  But, the algorithm gives an extra boost to certain actions that convey greater engagement – such as writing a comment or liking a post after you’ve clicked the link.

Type – The type of post you engage with the most (photos, news links, videos, status updates) will get delivered to your news feed more often.

Freshness – The newer the post, the better chance it has of reaching your news feed. However, older posts with impressive engagement rates will be resurfaced or “bumped” if you did not scroll long enough to see them before.

What can brands do to be seen?

Be visual.  Posts with videos, photos or graphics get more engagement.  Posts with videos are more likely to be shared.

Be brief.  Posts with less than 50 characters are more engaging than long posts.

Be deliberate. Know when your audience is online and most active.  Analyze the performance of your previous posts and see if time of the day or day of the week impacts engagement.

Be informative and entertaining.  Posts that are insightful, entertaining, and relevant to your audience will motivate your fans to engage.  Nobody visits Facebook to look at ads so don’t create any.  It’s okay to work a product or service that differentiates your brand into your content mix occasionally, especially if you are promoting the benefits your customer could enjoy by using your product or service.

Be targeted.  By boosting your Facebook posts, you can reach people who are not yet fans of your brand.  You can target your ideal customer demographics (you name it, Facebook can target it). You can even target audiences that follow your competition.

Be inclusive.  Invite your team to help spread the word.  Your employees have the ability to grow your social army exponentially.  However, it’s a volunteer army so be careful not to sound like it’s a requirement.

Are you in need of a social media content strategy?  Training for your team?  Promotions to gain  followers? Tips for using social media as a business development tool?  Contact the social media experts at Electrum Branding.