September 19, 2014 | Amanda Martin

The New Facebook Algorithm Update May Actually Help

Updated Facebook Algorithm September 2014

Facebook algorithm update.

Everyone cringes when they see that, don’t they? It’s the Voldemort of social media marketing (don’t say its name! Zuckerberg might hear…).

We all take a deep breath before reading what the changes will do to our efforts to beat Zuckermort at his own game. Famously, Facebook’s changes in the past have “penalized” businesses, making it difficult to reach your fans without paying for ads or promoted posts.

But I have good news! This most recent update has only slight changes, and with some great content strategy, they may help you counteract the negative effects of the previous updates.

Facebook Algorithm Update: Trending Topics

There are times when a topic that is a day or two old may no longer be relevant, but it shows up at the top of your News Feed anyway. Facebook’s new update will change that.

Previously, Facebook only allowed 10% of a brand’s fans (a.k.a. likers) to see posts. If a post garnered attention from those 10%, the post would be shown to more and more people, depending on the engagement the post received.

The new focus is on displaying trending topics as they happen. If there’s a huge spike in talk about a particular topic and your friends are also talking about that topic, it will be pushed to the top of your News Feed.

This new change could mean a loophole for businesses looking to get more exposure to their fans. Hopping on a trending topic could now push your post to the top of your fan’s News Feeds.

This really gets me excited. Why? Because brands will have to post about something other than themselves to succeed, by coming up with creative ways to present their perspectives on trending topics.

Making companies jump in to topics that are popular among their fans may force them to more closely examine their fan bases. It will force them to see more than just numbers, but the actual people behind them. As an Inbound Marketer, it makes my heart skip a beat to see the ideology behind Inbound Marketing forced on those who have not yet adopted it.

So far, Facebook has seen a 6% increase in engagement from this change within a small test group.

Facebook Algorithm Update: Timing of Engagement

The second part of the update revolves around the rate at which your posts are liked and commented on. Currently, you can sort your News Feed by Most Recent and Top Stories, which sometimes sorts correctly, and sometimes doesn’t.

When you post an update and you’re bombarded with engagement right away, Facebook will give more weight to the engagement and the post will stay close to the top of News Feeds. When engagement tapers off, usually after a few hours, Facebook is going to assume that the post is no longer relevant.

This can work with the Trending Topics change to your advantage. Hop onto a trending topic in a natural way, get a lot of comments and likes out of the gate, and presto! This will prolong the length of time your posts stay close to the top of your fans’ News Feeds.

For all of our sakes, let’s just hope Facebook sticks to sports, entertainment, news, and tech when it bumps up trending topics, and leaves out politics and Justin Bieber.

Facebook has said that these changes will be rolled out slowly to its over 1 billion users worldwide. To take advantage of these small but helpful updates, start implementing your new and improved content strategy now.

Stick it to ol’ Zuckermort—er, Zuckerberg—and reach as many of your fans as possible. There’s no substitute for great content and knowing your audience.

And while you're at it, you might as well optimize your Facebook page!

Ultimate Facebook Business Page Checklist: FREE Download

Amanda Martin

Amanda Martin

Amanda is no longer with VIEO, but as an inbound marketing project manager she coordinated with VIEO’s design, content, and strategy teams to create compelling, effective inbound marketing campaigns.

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