The Algorithm is Gonna Get You: How Facebook is Changing Your News Feed

Facebook is always changing. From last year’s ever-so-slight logo facelift, to fun new ways to react to posts, to the addition of Facebook Live, the original social network is constantly upping its game.

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This shouldn’t really be a surprise, considering the fact that what Facebook hasn’t changed are its core values. Zuckerberg & co. have always made it clear that “friends and family come first.” So when the majority of users surveyed said they wanted to see more from their friends, and less from media companies, Facebook did what they do best: they started tweaking the News Feed algorithm.

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With 1.6 billion daily active users sharing 1.3 million pieces of content every minute, there is a lot of information to sift through. This means posts need to be ranked in order for you to see what you actually want to see (and to guarantee that you’ll keep coming back for more).

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An algorithm is “a set of steps that are followed in order to solve a mathematical problem or to complete a computer process.” (Thanks, Merriam-Webster.)

What this looks like in Facebook’s new friends & family algorithm is that priority is given to content posted by those in your personal network, meaning you will see more from actual friends than you will from media companies and businesses.

What does this mean for fans?

The goal of these changes is for Facebookers to see more of what they want to see and to not miss posts from the people that matter to them.

But hold on, what if the people that matter to you include news outlets, Broadway shows, or, say, a really awesome advertising agency like The Pekoe Group (wink wink)? After all, Pew Research Center found that 44% of adults in the United States regularly read news content on Facebook.

If you want to be sure you’ll still see content from the outlets and companies you love, here is what you need to do:

1. Engage with posts from pages you want to see more from.

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Facebook may be doing all the math, but users can definitely influence the equation. Show that algorithm what you care about via reactions, shares, link clicks, and comments.

2. Update your settings. It’s easy; just follow these steps:

>>On your phone…

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Step 1: Make sure you “Like” and are “Following” the page

Step 2: Click on the down arrow next to “Following,” and select “See First”

>>On your computer…

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Step 1: Make sure you “Like” the page, then click on the down arrow next to “Liked”

Step 2: Select “See First”

Step 3 (Optional): Click the edit pencil icon and adjust your notifications so you won’t miss anything!

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What does this mean for brands?

Here’s the hard truth: if your brand relies solely on organic posts shared from your brand’s page, you may see a decline in reach, which could mean less referral traffic to your site.

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But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your brand has to be completely lost in the Feed. The algorithm change is the perfect opportunity to rediscover who your audience is and what they really want.

Here is what your brand can do to connect with your followers and target markets on Facebook:

1. Engage, engage, engage.

The more important you are to users, the more important you are to Facebook. If your followers are sharing and reacting to your posts, the better reach you will have. This is called “content amplification.”

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Photo via Marketing World.

2. Give content a boost. (With your money)

We can all admit that we’ve known “free Facebook marketing” has been fading for a while. If you really want to reach your audience, a boosted post or sponsored ad is the way to go. By creating targeted Facebook ads – and making space in your budget for them – you’ll find a much easier way into the Facebook Feeds of the users that matter to you.

See you in the News Feed!