How To Work The Facebook Algorithm in 2021
Facebook is the oldest social media platform that created influencers as we know them today. Its algorithm and interface has gone through a series of changes, tweaks, and updates. In 2021, maximising tricks of the trade can help you put your best foot forward on Facebook.
How does the algorithm operate?
Like all other social media platforms, Facebook wants to keep you on their app for as long as possible. They want to encourage consumers to scroll endlessly so that they will see more advertisements, boosting its revenue. To achieve this end, Facebook does not show posts in chronological order.
Instead, Facebook evaluates each post and ranks it based on which post is most likely to garner interactions from a consumer. The media giant says they do not apply a single formula to determine this. Rather, they qualitatively assess the post on the basis of multiple factors and curate a feed for the individual user.
The total set of potential posts Facebook wades through is what it calls ‘the inventory.’ These are first ranked on objective metrics like recency, popularity and so on. After that, facebook deprioritises content which might be misinformation or fake news, content which the user has indicated they do not like, and clickbait-y content.
The last step of the process involves a more nuanced filtration of content. It now takes into account individual tastes and preferences, the history of which forms of content the user has engaged with, variables of time, and also provides a diverse variety of media forms to make the scrolling experience compelling.
What can get your post to the top of a user’s feed?
As mentioned above, there are many factors in play when Facebook is arranging its inventory. But over the years, there have been 4 aspects that repeatedly come up as important to the algorithm.
What relationship does the user have with you? If you’re not a brand, this already works in your favour, because Facebook wants to prioritise content from people you really know. Further, individuals usually have patterns of who they interact with - whether it’s news organisations, authors, influencers, politicians - and these relationships are pushed to the top of a feed.
If your post is performing well with the people a user is friends with, or just users in general, that post is more likely to be shown higher up on a feed. Engagements - from comments, to likes, to reacts, to shares, show Facebook that people are interested in your content.
Newer posts go higher up.
What kind of content have you put out there? Each user has a preference for videos, photos, or links, and this impacts where they see your post.
Tips To Improve Your Engagements
Facebook cares about whether a user has interacted with your posts in the past. So, there’s a couple of things you can do to increase the chances of an interaction. Get your followers to engage with your content by asking thoughtful, topical, or interesting questions.
Emotion targeted content can also get you a reaction as opposed to merely a like.
Discussion-based posts get people talking to each other as well. Particularly on Facebook, these conversation starters are crucial to the algorithm and can really boost your post on someone’s feed.
Like all other sites, it’s a good idea to check your analytics and come up with a content schedule. Analyse your engagement rates and find out when your followers are online. Recency is one of the key determinants of where your post will appear.
Use Facebook stories! Since this is a relatively new feature on Facebook, you can evade the algorithm and its inventory altogether by putting up stories that are pinned to the top of a user’s feed. It’s also very palatable, bite-sized content, which users are very likely to engage with in some form.
Now that you know how the algorithm works, get out there and make the content your friends and followers like to see, and you love to make. Good luck!