Facebook is rather secretive about how exactly it determines what posts appear in your news feed. If you are unfamiliar with this, Facebook has developed a complex algorithm in an attempt to determine the type of posts it thinks you want to see in your news feed. This is very frustrating for many business owners that want to reach fans that already like their business. With that said, there is simply too much low quality content being published, and Facebook feels it is necessary to edit out some content. Their goal is to make sure that every user’s news feed isn’t flooded with this undeserving content. Facebook’s expressed aim is to make the news feed relevant to each user’s interests.
The current Facebook news feed algorithm uses three main factors to determine what it thinks you want to see: 1) Timing (if it’s more than 24 hours old, you likely will not see it); 2) Popularity (the more engagement a post gets, the more likely you are to see it); and, 3) Interaction (the more you have clicked on a person/company’s posts in the past, the more likely you are to see their posts in your news feed). Additionally, most people will only view business content in their news feed (as opposed to viewing content on a business’s Facebook page). This means it is critical to get your content included in your fans’ news feeds. One business, Eat24, was so frustrated with this algorithm (and more importantly that Facebook wants businesses to pay them to get into news feeds) that they publically “broke up” with Facebook:
“Dear Facebook, Hey. It’s Eat24. Look, we need to talk. This isn’t easy to say since we’ve been together so long, but we need to break up. We’d love to say ‘It’s not you, it’s us’ but it’s totally you. Not to be rude, but you aren’t the smart, funny social network we fell in love with several years back. You’ve changed. A lot.”
This resulted in a somewhat tongue and cheek, and uncharacteristic response from Facebook’s communications director: Brandon McCormick:
“There is some serious stuff happening in the world and one of my best friends just had a baby and another one just took the best photo of his homemade cupcakes and what we have come to realize is people care about those things more than sushi porn,” McCormick said. “So we are sorry that we have to part this way because we think we could still be friends — really we do. But we totally respect you if you need some space.”
But enough with this middle school drama (not to mention the hypocrisy in Facebook trying to get business to buy ads that they are telling us that people do not want to see). I am a solutions oriented man, so instead of gossiping, I will focus on how Facebook can improve their news feed algorithm, and maybe, just maybe, Eat24 and Facebook will get back together.
1) Punish businesses that over share
There are certain companies that I follow because I love what they post. They write or share interesting articles that are relevant to my life. However, some businesses don’t know when to relax on the constant posts. I don’t want to log onto Facebook and see that my top 4 stories are all from the same company. Instead, limit the posts I see from a particular entity to once every login. Let these businesses post as much as they want, just don’t flood my news feed with posts from one business.
2) Reward businesses that improve
Not every business has Facebook figured out from the get-go. It is a learning process for any business. The problem is that when this business first started posting, I ignored their low quality posts. But even though they have improved, I still don’t see their posts because I have a history of ignoring them. Over time, give these businesses a 2nd and 3rd and 4th chance. Not every business has it figured out from the first post.
3) Let your users grow
I recently found myself wondering what we could learn about people based on the content of their news feed. What shows up in a person’s news feed could be an accurate indication of who that person really is, as my news feed is full posts that are an extension of my personality. Then it hit me: Facebook only shows me things that I have told them that I like. This is a great way to get the same message over and over. Now obviously don’t send me Fox News updates if I like The Daily Show (or maybe Facebook should), but perhaps Facebook could try showing me something that I potentially find interesting or challenges me, not merely stuff I already like.
4) Make “suggested pages” significantly more prominent
Facebook wants businesses to advertise. We get it. In fact, it is only fair. But right now many businesses feel tricked. Not only do we need to pay to get likes, but now we also need to pay to reach the people who like the page. The organic reach for buisnesses is steadily decreasing, as Facebook tries to force the hand of buisnesses to advertise their content. Instead of this technique that feels somewhat like bullying, Facebook could make some “good faith” recommendations to potential fans. If a business’s page is stagnant, they likely are not going to see the value in advertising. But if Facebook can help a business gain some momentum, they will be more excited about posting on Facebook, and thus more likely to purchase ads.
5) Let businesses delete fans
Not every fan is created equal. And if Facebook determines who seems my posts based on how engaged my fans are, I likely do not want passive fans. Sure my overall number of fans will be smaller, but they weren’t seeing my message anyways. What good is a fan in another country that will never purchase my product or even engage with my posts?
Read more: 13 Ways to Beat the Facebook Algorithm