Article

Julia Deutsch
Julia Deutsch 9 December 2014

Can You Remember A Time Before Social Media?

Since its creation in a Harvard dorm room way back in the early 2000s, Facebook has changed the way we interact with one another, in particular, the way brands communicate with consumers.

Can you remember the time before social media? I can’t. Since its creation in a Harvard dorm room way back in the early 2000s, Facebook has changed the way we interact with one another, in particular, the way brands communicate with consumers.


Facebook’s Algorithm

As social networking services evolved, so has the marketing strategies of companies. And with a fifth of the world (that’s about 1.3 billion people) logging onto Facebook at least once a month, it’s easy to see why.

Read more on Digital Doughnut.
 

Since its conception, Facebook has continuously updated its visual look, the options available and its algorithms, sometimes to the dismay of its users.
 

With constant changes it can sometimes be difficult for a brand to stay up to date with the best way of angling a story or campaign. Facebook posts only reach a small percentage of fans. That is down to Facebook’s ever changing algorithm. 
 

Previously known as EdgeRank, the changes to the algorithm keep companies guessing on how the latest modification will affect the promotion of their products and services.
 

What are the Core Components of the Facebook Algorithm?

The core components of the algorithm, which calculates the stream of updates, photographs, videos and stories users see, haven’t changed...much. The three integral mechanisms are:

Affinity - By looking at explicit actions, Facebook calculates affinity score based on how frequently two users interact.

For example, two users who have a large number of mutual friends and post on each other’s walls often, will have a higher affinity score compared to two users who have few mutual friends and interact rarely. The affinity score calculation is based on explicit actions taken by users, factoring in three different variables:

  • The strength of the action
     
  • The closeness of the relationship with the person who took the action
     
  • The time elapsed since the action was taken


Edge Weight - Edges are actions that Facebook users take, which the Facebook team attributes different weights to. For example: A comment is worth more points than a like. Therefore, they are likely to be more stories in your newsfeed about your friends commenting on posts, rather than liking them.

Time Decay - This refers to when a story was posted. As a post gets older, it loses points and is less likely to appear on your newsfeed.

 

The Latest Algorithm Update

Despite the main ‘rules’ staying essentially the same, Facebook has tweaked and added various additional guidelines.  
 

In September of this year, Facebook made another edit to its algorithm, centred on timing. It is speculated that the most recent algorithm change may have arisen as a result of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. As Twitter was dominated by tweets about the protests in Ferguson, Facebook was inundated with videos of celebrities completing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Facebook is for ice buckets, Twitter is for Ferguson.

John McDermott, DigiDay.
 

Despite Facebook attempting to be a one stop shop for information, critics believe that Twitter is still the "hard news king" destination, where users will find information and updates on breaking news.
 

As Twitter delivers tweets of the people users follow in real-time, with no filtering, Assistant Professor at the UNC School of Library and Information Science, Zeynep Tufekci, said, "But I wonder: what if Ferguson had started to bubble, but there was no Twitter to catch on nationally? Would it ever make it through the algorithmic filtering on Facebook? Maybe, but with no transparency to the decisions, I cannot be sure."
 

This latest Facebook change based on timing will add more weight to posts that correlate to trending topics on the site. Those topics will appear higher in the News Feed and when the topic has stopped trending, will shift lower or disappear altogether. 
 

Our Tips to Improve Organic Post Reach

For brands reaching out to consumers, the algorithm updates are hard to predict and respond to, so follow our tips to improve your organic post reach:
 

  • Optimise the times you post - Use different reporting tools to see when your audience is most active and when competitors aren’t. Post during those peak times to receive greater fan engagement.
     
  • Add a Call to Action - Write copy that explicitly asks for fans to like, share or comment on content.
     
  • Use More Visual Tools to Create Content - Social users aren’t going to visit your Facebook page to read content. They are relying on seeing it in their News Feed, so use videos, infographics and pictures to grab attention quickly.
     
  • Be a Human, Not Just a Brand - Make sure to interact with fans of your page when they comment on a post or give feedback on a service.

 

With 864 million people using Facebook daily and scrolling through updates on News Feeds for, on average, 21 minutes, algorithm modifications are important to stay abreast of.
 

Understanding revisions to the algorithm and following our handy tips list will certainly assist in boosting organic post reach. Facebook and social media has become an integral part of a digital marketing strategy so be sure you aren’t left behind.

 

This article first appeared here.

Read more on Digital Doughnut.

 

 

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Life of a Twitter Influencer [Infographic]

Life of a Twitter Influencer [Infographic]

The following infographic Illustrates the life of a Twitter Influencer and includes everything from earnings, cheatsheets and social movements started on Twitter. While Twitter may not be the most popular social channel it is still one of the most powerful channels to spark online conversation. If you're a Twitter influencer, this infographic is the ultimate guideline to your future tweets.

Chiara Di Rago
Chiara Di Rago 30 November 2016
Read more
50 Chrome Extensions That Will Boost Your Productivity

50 Chrome Extensions That Will Boost Your Productivity

Today you can find Google Chrome extensions for almost anything that you can think about. In the sea of available extensions, it can be a hustle to choose which one are the best for your type of the business.

Aleksej Durdevic
Aleksej Durdevic 29 November 2016
Read more
Digital Marketing - The Wave of the Future

Digital Marketing - The Wave of the Future

With social media platforms like Facebook holding well over 1.6 billion users world-wide (and counting), these digital platforms have become the new marketplace. In order to properly promote business brands and products or services, an online company needs to employ the services of a specialist known as a digital marketer.

Mohammad Farooq
Mohammad Farooq 29 November 2016
Read more