Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Katherine W. Morse, January 4, 2020
After a productive conversation with a client this afternoon, I realized that many do not understand Facebook and how it works. When looking at the business page, a company is using to have a social community connection with its customers; this is my best attempt to assets those like my client to understand some basics of the ever-changing landscape of marketing on Facebook.
First, what is the difference between a Facebook Profile and the Facebook Page? A user has a Facebook Profile. Meaning, it is “the default form of a personal Facebook account (Guinn, 2019).” The profile is for personal use and made to be as public or private as you choose, depending on what the individual wants. Now, the Facebook Page is a “Facebook ‘Profile’ for a business (Guinn, 2019)” and can be separate, not tied to a personal Profile (Guinn, 2019). Business pages can sell like e-commerce or be informative about the brand.
Second, users can “Like” your business page and then either also become a follower or strictly followers. A user that clicks “Like” on your business Facebook page “has chosen to attach their name to your Page as a fan (Kirkbride, 2017).” Whereas if the user clicks to be a follower, that person “has chosen to receive updates that you post in their news feed (Kirkbride, 2017);” and of course, this becomes “subject to the Facebook algorithm (Kirkbride, 2017).”
What one has to understand is how the Facebook algorithm and it continually changes and can affect the organic reach without paying to boost popular posts. So, what is the definition of a Facebook algorithm? The Facebook algorithm ranks and displays your company’s content on user News Feed based on factors that Facebook creates (Ahene, 2019). The next question is, what does the Facebook Algorithm look like at the beginning of 2020?
According to Nii Ahene (2019), there are four factors that Fakebook’s algorithm ranks and displays your company content. The first of the four factors is the availability of all the posts displayed in the inventory (Ahene, 2019). Do not forget post includes the images and videos that users will be able to see in their News Feed that is posted by friends and publishers (Ahene, 2019). Therefore, the posts need to be public.
The second factor is the signals. What does that mean? “Signals represent the information that Facebook can gather about a piece of content (Ahene, 2019). Okay, still a bit lost? I don’t blame you. “Signals are the single factor that advertisers have control over … [meaning] inputs that Facebook interprets; type of content, the publisher, its age, purpose, and more (Ahene, 2019). Overall, it has to tell Facebook that it is not only meaningful but also relevant to your company’s target audience (Ahene, 2019). A target audience is the particular type of group of persons that your company wants to reach with the marketing message who are likely to purchase the products or services that are united by similar characteristics such as common behaviors or demographics like age, location, or spending patterns (Newberry, 2018).
In terms of signals, there are two categories: passive and active. Passive signals are the view time, story type, time posted, and non-active metrics (Ahene, 2019). Then there are active signals that include reactions, shares, comments, and other engagements (Ahene, 2019).
The next of the factors is predictions. This factor represents the possible behavior of a user and the likelihood of having a positive interaction with the content your company has posted (Ahene, 2019). The final of the four factors is the final score that gets assigned to the content posted based on the factors mention (Ahene, 2019). What is the score then? It is the last number assigned to the content based on the probability that users will respond positively (Ahene, 2019).
There is more. Yes, I know, right! Facebook likes engagement and conversation. After all, Facebook is an online social community. It is part of the modern word-of-mouth for companies. Video is a must in your company’s social media marketing strategy. Video content drives higher engagement and interactions from your company’s users, and now there is a Facebook video ranking that drives the importance of video content (Barnhart, 2019). Originality and storytelling without selling to sell. Use Facebook Live to create compelling, real-time content (Barnhart, 2019). It produces notification that ping fans and followers on your company Facebook page (Barnhart, 2019), and users can later view it as long as you publish to the page allowing for engagement to continue.
As a marketer, I recommend eye-catching images, storytelling content, videos including live feed, and getting your staff to join in on the online conversation and share content. Social media, with platforms like Facebook, is an online community with no boundaries. Look at the data, use it to know when to time posts, and pay to play on Facebook. Pay to boost popular posts. Facebook is great in reaching your company’s target market audience, but paying to promote or advertise increases the chance for gaining new fans and followers but maintain those you already have. Be responsive, politely, and positively. Address negative comments and reviews. Do not ignore those that engage with the content. Be a part of the conversation and not just the conversation starter.
Ahene, N. (2019). How the Facebook Algorithm Works in 2020. Tinuiti. https://tinuiti.com/blog/paid-social/facebook-algorithm/
Barnhart, B. (2019). How the Facebook Algorithm Works and Ways to Outsmart It. Sprout Social. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-algorithm/
Guinn, K. (). Page Likes vs. Follows on Facebook: What’s the Difference? MayeCreate Design. https://mayecreate.com/blog/page-likes-vs-follows-facebook/
Kirkbride, A. (2017). Facebook Likes vs. Followers, What’s More Important? Twirp Communications. https://twirp.ca/2017/12/likes-vs-followers/
Newberry, C. (2018). How to Define Your Target Market: A Guide to Audience Research. Hootsuite. https://blog.hootsuite.com/target-market/