As the audience, reputation, and perception of Facebook grows and changes, so must our methods of audience involvement and marketing. Users are calling for more meaningful content from friends and family, while disparaging published posts that feel impersonal, “spammy,” and inaccurate. In order to keep up with the demands of its users and fight its downward trend in traffic, the team at Facebook has rolled out new changes to the algorithm that determines which content appears in your News Feed.
The new update is designed to weed out any content that appears inauthentic and impersonal. Posts with phrases such as “Like this post if you agree we need more Mondays!” or “Tag friends who love waterskiing cats as much as you do!” will no longer rank high in the News Feed, replaced with original content from Facebook friends and posts that inspire organic engagement in comments.
The algorithm changes most directly affect pages that use what Facebook calls the “engagement bait” strategy to drive traffic. Posts that directly tell people to like, vote, tag, or comment will result in official demotions for the page, causing it to be less visible in the News Feed. According to a recent post from Mark Zuckerberg, the goal is to “encourage meaningful social interactions between family and friends over passive consumption”. Posts that generate participation from friends and family will be prioritized over content from news organizations and businesses. Publishers can still post freely and create engagement within the new algorithm updates, but the key is to really know your audience and encourage genuine interactions to raise your ranking.
Create social content
All pages will see an initial decrease in traffic and reach, although content that is commented on by friends and family will rank higher than content that has no social interaction. Asking for recommendations or advice will not result in a demotion, but baiting phrases (“like this”, “share this”, “comment on this”, etc) will automatically lower your ranking. Focus on knowing your audience and tailoring your content in a way that is authentic and meaningful to them. Make sure that any links will lead to high quality web page experiences, free of clickbait, engagement bait, and misleading content. The basic idea is to encourage authentic conversation and participation through the creation of more relevant content. In the long run, this bait-free engagement will build an audience that cares (and sees) your content.
For a complete overview of the type of posts that you should and should not publish, check out the official Facebook New Feed Publisher Guidelines.