… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
I would like to add one more item to the list : change
If you have bee using Facebook for any length of time, you know that Facebook has changed the rules of the game, once again, and sent all the marketers depending on the platform into a frenzy.
If yours is among the businesses which depends on Facebook for traffic, then this page may be the most important page you read today, because…
… a little later I’ll show you exactly how you can survive this imposed change.
Recently, Katie Notopoulus, a senior reporter at BuzzFeed accidentally cracked the code for surviving the algorithm change.
She posted a video of a young woman, and unintentionally, the post went viral.
The post remained on the top of the newsfeed for almost a month. All her family and friends saw the post.
How could they not?
It was on top in their newsfeed every-single-day. Whenever they signed into their Facebook account, the post was there to greet them.
It became such a permanent member of their newsfeed page that after a few days people started complaining. Asking her to stop the post from showing up in their newsfeed or, better still, remove it.
And yet, the post went on garnering more views as it continued to figure in the newsfeeds of even more people.
This happened without her requiring to boost the post or even running an advertising campaign.
What made the post go viral?
Could it be that Facebook gave special treatment to pages belonging to publishers?
It doesn’t seem so.
In fact, the new rules have already prompted one publisher to shutdown because of dwindling readership.
“Little Things” was a flourishing publisher who had a big following on Facebook. Last month they announced that they were shutting down because the new algorithm had reduced their reach and caused their profits to crash.
Also, and more importantly, Katie Notopoulus had not published the post on BuzzFeed’s page but on her own personal page.
Was it because of the nature of the post?
Maybe because the post was a video it got more reach?
This doesn’t explain the phenomenon entirely. Even with the new rules, Facebook allocates more points to videos. But there are many videos which continue to languish in the realm of mediocrity.
At the same time, Facebook gives more prominence to videos published through Facebook Live, and, Katie’s post wasn’t published on Facebook Live.
Then what made this one shoot through the stratosphere?
May be it was the content. Maybe it contained something interesting, something share-worthy and may be it had received many shares.
The video had a young woman who showed off her bland apartment. Hardly what you’d call interesting, unusual and share-worthy.
Blame it on the new Facebook algorithm.
Here’s what happened.
Katie’s post contained the video which was relatively short -six minute. In the initial days, immediately after publishing the post. Katie’s friends viewed the post and went through the full video. The short length, of just six minutes, ensured that the video wasn’t abandoned mid-way.
This made Facebook decide that the video was more suitable for distribution and allocated a higher newsfeed score to this post.
This increased the number of people to whom the post was displayed.
Initially it was this novelty value that made the post spread. After a few days, once the novelty wore off, the post started becoming irritating.
People started complaining about it.
They complained in the comments. Facebook noticed the comments and increase the newsfeed score even more.
When the post didn’t disappear, they commented even more.
They begged her to remove the post
Her family, friends and colleagues complained. The more they complained, the more comments they posted.
Others commented on these comments and it gave rise to a juicy self-propagating cycle of virality.
Facebook love such exchanges. Interaction is the key for the new algorithm.
Zuckerberg on Facebook algorithm change
According to Mark Zuckerberg, ‘… content should encourage meaningful interaction between people.’ And what is meaningful interaction?
Meaningful interaction means comments and more comments.
He wants people to react to, or comment on posts. Those posts that do not play ball will see the biggest decrease in views.
Facebook is going to use social signals, like how many people react to a post, comment on it, or share the post to determine how high they appear in the newsfeed.
Posts that keep an open continuous dialogue and discussion using comments,
…posts that get shared and reacted upon will be favored.
It could be a long forgotten friend reaching out to connect with you, or another seeking your opinion on an outfit, or whether that’s a post from a family member asking for recommendations on the next vacation.
Provided these posts initiate lots of discussion they will get more distribution.
What does this mean for businesses?
For one, this means businesses and brands will have to work so much harder to reach their fans.
You can try to engage people with the help of questions. You can seek their opinions on burning current issues, you can post about relevant current topics.
One more thing you can do is – ask your fans to follow your Facebook page and ask them to choose “See first” in their newsfeed preferences.
You can post Facebook Live videos. These have a higher priority when it comes to organic reach.
Actually, there’s another neat little trick that you can use to beat the algorithm I’ll come to a little later.
In fact, this is something that you can use right away and doesn’t even take a lot of time to implement.
So far, this is what I have found to be most effective… keep reading.
Is there something you can do?
Thankfully, there is.
- You can start a Facebook group around your business or brand and ask your loyal followers to join there as well.
You can use this group to to communicate with them.
2. Use of Facebook Live
To boost the reach further use Facebook Live videos. I have seen up to 70% higher reach for live videos compared to text or images based posts.
3. And here’s a neat trick that you can use to bulldoze your way out of the challenge – use Facebook messenger chats.
You can use Facebook messenger chats to reach out to your fans. This is something that isn’t talked about a lot now a days but it’s still very effective.
You can use automation tools to create a full communication funnel and remain in touch with your fans regularly.
And the best part?
You can start immediately and for free!
I have a webinar coming up on how you can use Facebook messenger chats. To know more click here.