The algorithm for how Facebook decides which messages will be presented in any given user’s News Feed seems like it is ever-changing. Depending on what you like, share, comment on, and follow, you may or may not have a higher likelihood of being inundated with pop-culture news, updates from your college buddies, or photos of your cousin’s latest offspring. As a Business Page administrator, you might feel like it's a bit... rigged. The more you understand about how the algorithm works, the better chance you have of placing your content in a way that will bring it to your audience's attention.
We've discussed the power of EdgeRank before – the affinity, time decay, and weight a certain post might have could increase your visibility to the masses. But recent news has shown us that EdgeRank has, over time, decayed. It is now amplified by more than 100,000 different factors that Facebook uses to determine which of the 1,500 stories that could be displayed in your feed at any given moment actually appear.
Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay still play a role in the current algorithm, but many other factors are also taken into account. Factors like how many people “hide” the post when they first see it, choose to interact with it, if they’ve specified their relationships with other Facebook users, and where they are geographically located. The types of posts people interact with also matter – if they have a tendency to “like” posts that are photos or videos – there’s a greater chance that more of those kinds of posts will be grabbed and placed at the top of their feed.
Story Bumping & Last Actor
Another set of features that play into your post popularity are story bumping and last actor. These new terms refer to two of the major factors that determine who see your posts and when. Story bumping means that Facebook considers all the recent stories that a user hasn’t seen, and shows the most relevant to the user (even if they are a bit older). So a story that may be from early in the morning could be “bumped” to the top of your feed if Facebook believes it to be relevant to you when you log in around lunchtime. Last actor refers to posts that you may have interacted with in the morning, and because of your proven interest, Facebook may show you that post again later in the day so you can see who else has interacted with it.
Relevant & Engaging Content
Facebook is highly focused on presenting users with the most “relevant” content – so finding ways to incorporate trending topics could help your post move to the top of your followers' feeds. You want to be careful, of course, that you understand the trending topic and that an association will actually make sense to your audience, not take light of a serious topic, or drudge up negative conversations. Pretty much everyone of Facebook is tired of hearing about Miley and her twerking, so give it a second thought before you jump on a pop-culture bandwagon.
Inject some humor into your posting and incorporate visuals (photo, video, animated GIFs) whenever possible. Your audience is following you to stay up to date on the latest news from your company, and be advised of any special offers or deals that may be available to them as social followers, AND to get to know your company better. Don’t be afraid to show your personal side to endear yourself to your audience.
Use Insights to Your Advantage
Take a look at your last 10-20 posts – which ones have the highest engagement? Are they posts that feature an image? Was it a stock photo, or a picture featuring your customers or staff members? Perhaps the latest video you shared garnered the most likes and comments. Take this into consideration, and try to produce more content in the style that fosters engagement.
Get to know your audience a bit better – if your follower base is made up of 18-22 year old males, your 35-year-old female content manager may need to consider that what she finds funny or entertaining may not land as successfully with your social channel’s audience.