When you follow an individual or a business page on Facebook, you expect to see status updates from those users in your news feed, right? If you only follow a handful of people and businesses, then you probably would see most of their updates. However, the more you follow, the more cluttered your news feed will become — especially if you follow active users and businesses. Facebook attempts to show you the most relevant updates possible. However, this means that some updates will not be shown to you. Understanding how Facebook makes these determinations is important for business page owners and managers. After all, when you post a status update, you expect it to be shown to your followers, right?
How Facebook Determines What to Show
Facebook uses a complicated algorithm to determine what to show and what to hide. For starters, users have some control over what appears. Each post has a down arrow in the upper right corner where users can report a post as spam, ask Facebook to stop showing posts like that, or
even unfollow a person or page right then and there. Users can even participate in a short question and answer process to fine-tune their news feeds. In addition, users can add pages to interest lists.
Users who do not interact with certain post types or individuals will eventually have fewer of those served up in their news feeds. For example, if you follow a business but never comment, like, or share that business’s posts, Facebook will stop displaying future posts. It’s as if you never followed the business in the first place. On the other hand, if you constantly like photos and regularly share YouTube videos, Facebook will likely allow more photos and YouTube videos into your news feed.
Facebook also considers the device you’re using as well as your current Internet speed when determining what to display. If you’re accessing Facebook from a smartphone with a slow connection, you may not be shown as many videos as you would on your desktop.
What This Means to You
These are but just a few of the thousands of factors Facebook considers when determining what to show in your news feed and the news feeds of your followers. However, understanding that how users interact (or don’t interact) with your posts will influence whether or not they’ll see your future posts is crucial. You need your followers to like, comment, and share your posts!
With that in mind, you need to write posts that compel users to like, comment, or share. As they do so, they are sending a signal to Facebook that they enjoy seeing your updates in their news feeds.
Prompting Users to Like, Comment, and Share
Your success on Facebook boils down to engagement. You should have a goal for each update. With each status update you post, think about what action you want your followers to take: like, comment, share, click link, visit a Facebook tab, and so on.
Next, think about what’s in it for them if they do. For example, why would someone want to comment on a Facebook post? Here are a few reasons: to share their opinion, to share their expertise, to blow off steam, and to make friends.
Craft your status update to address that inner need. Let’s say that you are linking to an industry report that just came out, your goal is to get comments, and you think that your audience would like to share their opinions about it, you might post the link and ask your followers about their opinions on a controversial point brought out in the report such as, “Did you read the Acme Report? What did you think about its conclusion about secondhand smoke?”
In the example above, your goal isn’t to drive traffic to the report but rather to discuss the report’s findings. The link is there as a courtesy for your followers who haven’t yet read it. It’s clear that they should return to your Facebook page after reading it to share their opinions.
In addition to setting goals and addressing the “what’s in it for me” question, include a call to action. This can be as simple as saying, “click like if you agree.”
Finally, keep an eye on your page’s insights. Some updates will be much more engaging than others. Examine your winners and losers to see what’s working and what isn’t. Do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.