We all know the power of social media traffic, and Facebook’s in particular.
Building an engaged fan base on Facebook is a great way to interact with your most diehard followers, increase website traffic and (hopefully) make sales.
But recent changes in the Facebook's organic reach algorithms could have big effects on your website’s traffic and your social media marketing.
Here, you'll find out exactly how this change will affect you, and what you need to do to stay in the game.
How Facebook Social Feeds Work
Facebook uses a combination of organic and paid content in newsfeeds with an algorithm to determine relevance.
Just like in the search engine world, there is paid and organic traffic on social media platforms such as Facebook.
You can pay to “boost” your Page’s posts to your target audience (whether they are your fans or not), using some pretty precise filters. These will show up in feeds as "sponsored" posts. Paying for exposure like this can be worthwhile for posts that you’re monetizing, but it’s not the cheapest or most effective way to build a genuine following.
If you prefer the free option, you can show the post only to your followers, who will comment and share the post naturally, thus exposing it to new potential fans.
Just like some solid SEO, organic posts are gold when they work well and go viral:
- You post something awesome.
- Your fans see it.
- They engage with it.
- Their friends see it.
- Those friends become fans.
- The circle of social media life goes on and on....
But Facebook doesn’t blast out every single one of your posts to all of your audience.
If they did that, newsfeed would be so active that might easily miss posts from friends and family because of business posts — assuming they follow their favorite brands on Facebook.
Can you imagine missing a video of your niece's first steps because some company page you liked two years ago pushed it out of view on your timeline?
There would be riots in the streets! It would be chaos! It would be...like Twitter.
That might sound innocuous to you, but Twitter is meant for brief thoughts and witty repartee. Facebook is more suited to longer thoughts and bigger updates. In fact, the two platforms kind of embody the quality vs. quantity date.
That's why Facebook uses algorithms to decide which posts will interest its users the most and whether they should be displayed in your Newsfeed. It helps keep the "noise" to a minimum.
The more you interact with a person, page or group, the more likely you are to see their stuff. From the page perspective, the more your fans engage with your content, the more people see it.
So What’s NEW with Facebook’s Algorithm?
Because of the algorithm's latest tweaks, posts you make to your page will not get as much exposure in your fans' Newsfeeds if they're seen as too promotional.
Facebook is adding some tweaks to its algorithms. When it deems your posts “too promotional,” it will not push them out to a lot of your fans.
If content is too salesy, or pushes the fan to buy something, enter a contest, install an app or something along those lines, Facebook will restrict how many users get to see it.
Business Page posts have already seen a gradual decline in exposure, but the latest algorithm update is really going to push them out of news feeds if they're not careful.
According to a post by Tim Peterson on AdvertisingAge:
“A Facebook spokeswoman said the company's algorithm will evaluate these promotional posts with the same filters it puts on ads — checking, for example, how many people engage with or hide them — when determining whether to let them into people's news feeds.”
In short, you need to be careful about the kind of posts you create and how much you're promoting yourself.
Why the Change?
There are a couple of main speculations about what has lead to this development.
1. Less organic success means page owners need to pay to be seen!
The most obvious answer as to why these rules have been tweaked is because Facebook likes money.
It's a public company with stockholders and Wall Street to answer to. It needs to show revenue growth in line with projections, or the stock suffers, stockholders are unhappy, the board gets involved, and suddenly everyone is worried about their jobs.
By restricting the organic deployment of these promotional posts, Facebook is telling advertisers that they can still push this kind of content but they are going to have to pay to play.
2. Facebook users get a better experience when their Newsfeeds aren't overtaken by promotions.
Beyond the dollars and cents side of this, there is also a user experience angle to look at.
Promotional posts usually suck. You’re on Facebook to engage with friends and family, maybe find out what interesting things are happening in the world, and some page is hocking its wares in your newsfeed. Maybe it’s the greatest deal in the world, but if you’re not in the shopping mindset then that post goes from pure gold to mud on the bottom of your shoe.
By making promotional posts less effective and forcing those who want to run them to pay for an ad, Facebook hopes to limit the number of these posts in general and give its users a better experience.
How Will this Affect my Facebook Page?
It simply means that if your posts are too promotional in nature, they’ll likely get less exposure.
If you are used to using your brand’s Facebook page to promote yourself, then you might notice a drop in exposure and interaction.
If most of your posts are encouraging people to buy something, enter a contest, or sign-up for something, then your posts will be less likely to make it into your fans daily feeds.
Is it true that big companies like Facebook are always trying to squeeze more money out of you? Probably. Is that fair? Nope!
But you can’t afford to look at it this way. Even without these algorithm tweaks, being too promotional on social media isn’t a good idea.
I’ll tell you why:
- Social networks like Facebook are for forming a community around your brand.
- They’re not the right platform for promotions.
- If you only post sales promotions on social platforms, you’ll lose fans.
Imagine being at a party and right after you are introduced to someone, they proceed to try and sell you something.
You politely excuse yourself but every time you run into them, they are pressuring you to buy something again.
It would be annoying at the party, and I hate to tell you, but it’s annoying on Facebook too.
So What Do I Do Now?
Don’t let these changes faze you. In fact: Make the most of them. Become a social hub of great info!
Take this as an opportunity to update your social strategy. Shift your focus from promotions to solid, valuable content that your fans will want to engage with.
Before you freak out — thinking, perhaps, “I can’t create that much content! Who has time for that?” — I’d like to reassure you that you don’t have to create this content; you just have to find it.
Think of it as content curation: finding and sharing great content.
Here’s how this works:
- You find interesting information from around the web.
- You post this useful information regularly to your Page.
- People who come to your page see it as a source of valuable information.
- You get more interaction for your page, and more exposure in social feeds.
- Then, when you do decide to mention your own site, you’ll have more exposure and genuine interest.
The trickiest part of this process is finding the content to share. To make it easier, you need the right tool. In this case, that tool is the Social module in AffiloTools.
HOW to find and share great content: Social Discovery in AffiloTools
This video will show you the Social Discovery tool in action. You'll see it's super quick and easy to find and post great content to your Facebook page! Alternatively, you can follow the steps below.
Once you’ve accessed the Social Discovery part of AffiloTools, just follow these 3 simple steps:
1. Enter relevant keywords.
Choose keywords that would appeal to your target audience. For example, if you were in the weight-loss niche you could enter words like “weight loss,” “diet” and “exercise.”
You can adjust the content type to suit your audience.
2. Click “ADD TOPIC” to get your results.
This will return a smorgasbord of relevant content for you to choose from.
3. Share the best content right there and then.
When you find something you think your audience will like, share it to your Facebook page by clicking “Share with my Followers.”
As you can see in the image above, this brings up all the editing options you might need, including:
- The text for the post
- A tidy shortened link
- A thumbnail image that you can use or leave out
- A quick way to select the network(s) you’d like to post to
Edit these or leave them as-is — it’s up to you. Once you’re ready to go, you just click “POST” and you're done!
Don’t lose organic reach on Facebook by being too promotional. Try this method now with keywords from your own niche.
You can access the Social module at any time from the left-hand sidebar menu in AffiloTools. See what you find and start posting to generate an engaged audience.