Similar to Santa, Facebook is constantly watching over your business’s activity on Facebook to determine how “nice” your content is.
Facebook recognizes that each user has hundreds of connections to friends, family, and businesses on Facebook who are all regularly sharing content.
“Every time someone visits News Feed, there are on average 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow, and Pages for them to see, and most people don’t have enough time to see them all.” – Facebook
In an effort to avoid overwhelming individuals with Facebook News Feed content that they believe people might skip anyways, Facebook introduced the News Feed Algorithm (formerly known as EdgeRank), to deliver the right content to the right people. What that basically means is that just because you post something to your fans does not mean they will all see it. This may sound unfair, but the News Feed Algorithm actually makes your (and your fans) experience on Facebook more enjoyable.
The News Feed Algorithm uses several factors to determine what content will get the most airtime in the news feed. Here are the three most important factors Facebook considers when deciding whether your content is naughty or nice.
1. Engagement rate
Facebook calculates the official “Engagement Rate” for each post by adding the number of clicks, likes, shares, and comments on a post together and then dividing that number by the total number of people who saw the post. Engagement rate is calculated to illustrate what share of your audience engaged with your content, consequently indicating the quality of your content.
High engagement rates are great because they indicate that many of your fans interacted with a post, but optimally the best content generates engagement from a majority of the individuals it reached. If one post is reaching a significant amount of people but not producing much engagement (take a look at your text-only posts), Facebook will conclude that the post is uninteresting to your audience and will reduce the frequency of your content in the news feed.
What can you do?
Focus on understanding what type of content your audience likes, comments, shares or clicks on to create the most engaging content that will help you stand out in the news feed. The more that your fans engage with your content, the more likely they’ll see your content again!
2. Negative feedback
When you clutter up your fans’ news feed with unwanted, spammy or irrelevant content, it is also likely to produce a high rate of negative feedback. Negative feedback is when fans hide or report your post as spam within the news feed. This negative feedback indicates to Facebook that you are posting bad content worthy of the “naughty list.”
What can you do?
Take the time to dig into your Facebook Insights to see which content is attracting negative feedback from your target audience. If the same type of content is generating a negative response again and again, it may be time to rethink your strategy.
Steer clear of posting too many images or off-topic content to avoid increasing your negative feedback rate. Instead, focus on quality content that’s relevant to your audience.
Facebook keeps track of the last fifty people or pages a fan interacted with, and gives a small boost to the visibility of those last fifty people/pages in the news feed. These interactions include engagement, profile, and photos views. As a business page, it is ideal to be a part of those last fifty interactions in order to ensure your content gets seen. If you go too long without posting, you risk the chance of falling out of a fan’s last fifty interactions.
What can you do?
Set an attainable goal for the number of posts you want to publish each week — I recommend posting 3-4 times a week. By sticking to a schedule, you’ll generate regular engagement (Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm likes this). It’s easy to lose track of the week and miss a post. Consider using Social in Constant Contact to schedule half of your weekly posts at the start of the week to keep you on track.
Focus on quality content
Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm may sound intimidating, but you better not pout, and you definitely better not cry, because getting on Facebook’s “nice list” is not that hard. Just focus on creating quality, engaging content that your fans will love, and when Facebook makes their list and checks it twice, you will find yourself on their “nice list”!
Want to learn more?
For more help with your social media marketing, sign up to receive our Hints & Tips newsletter.
Editor’s Note: Originally posted in 2013, this article has been updated for relevance and accuracy.