Since its founding and debut in 2004, Facebook has grown exponentially and continues to be one of the driving forces in social media. In their first year, while still exclusive to college students, Facebook had already amassed close to one million users. Fast forward to today and that number has grown larger than anyone could have imagined.
Facebook Provides a MASSIVE Audience
Facebook is currently on pace to surpass two billion users before the end of 2017. That number dwarfs the user numbers of any of Facebook’s social media competitors. Many of these users visit the site multiple times daily. With those kinds of numbers and that many eyeballs consistently on the site, it makes Facebook a prime location for advertising.
The Evolution of Facebook
Over the years, the site has made tweaks and additions slowly morphing into what we all know today. Most of the features we most closely identify with Facebook were not a part of the original launch. The famous “like” button wasn’t introduced until 2009, five years after the initial launch and three years after the site was opened for public use.
Not all the changes made along the way were greeted with open arms by users. Now featured as a major part of Facebook, the News Feed made its debut in 2006. At the time, it faced tremendous backlash and scrutiny as people felt it was an invasive and pointless addition.
But, over time the public anger subsided and gradually the new feature was accepted and has now become integral to the experience. A big reason for its success has been the algorithms and technology used to bring users content they will enjoy.
Now of course there are ways to “push” your content via paid advertising and ad boosts. And Randall-Reilly can help to optimize and capitalize with that approach as well.
But this article will concentrate more on how to use the News Feed feature to position content in front of prospects or clients without having to break the bank.
Learning to Use the Feed
The site continually tries to feature content that appeals to the user in the News Feed. Users see everything from class reunions, weddings, new movies, and, more importantly for our purposes, advertising content. Companies regularly now try to utilize the News Feed to reach their audience. But to use the News Feed and get the most out of it, you first must know how it works.
So, how does it work? The folks over at Facebook have boiled it all down to four major factors. It is these four factors that the algorithm seeks to isolate and zero in on to determine whether an article or post would be interesting to a user and therefore posted in their News Feed.
A user’s engagement to these four categories also plays a role. For this discussion, engagement is anytime someone likes or shares an article or post. Facebook also considers how much time is spent on a page or article after someone clicks it in the News Feed.
The Four Pillars of Facebook’s News Feed
1. Who Posted It?
How often does the user engage with the poster of the content? Has the user engaged with any previous content they have posted?
2. Type of Content Featured
How often does the user engage with this particular type of content? (type of content meaning: links, photos, videos, etc.)
3. Interactions with the Post
How many interactions has the post received by users with similar likes and interests?
4. When Was it Posted?
People want to be current and up-to-date, so newer or “fresher” content usually ranks higher. (Life events such as graduations, new babies, engagements, and marriages are deemed relevant even if they are not as current as competing posts.)
What Does All of This Mean to You?
The biggest takeaway should be your content and what you choose to post really does matter. The News Feed is a huge asset that allows you to get content in front of potential and current customers.
And you can make this impact at virtually no cost other than time and effort. To feature prominently in a person’s feed, you need to consistently produce content that is relevant and/or useful to that user. Doing so encourages interactions and engagement with your posts, which in turn, factor into how your future posts rank, making them more likely to be selected over something posted by a competitor.
The big key is to focus on the customer. Providing useful and informative content for them will promote far more interactions than constant self-promotion. As counterintuitive as it is, by not overtly promoting your brand and focusing on customer-driven content, thus moving you into a more advantageous position in the News Feed.
To get the most out of Facebook’s News Feed, you must feed your audience. Take the time to know and understand exactly who they are and address their specific needs and pain points. Keeping the focus on them and not yourself will bring more interest to your brand and product. Providing quality, current, customer-driven content will rank you higher in the News Feed to help win the battle for attention.