Have you heard of Facebook Zero? This phrase refers to the expectation that organic reach on Facebook for pages will drop to zero percent. You’ve probably heard people running around like they’ve got snakes in their hair, screaming about the end of Facebook’s value to businesses. As with each and every algorithm change that’s come before, things aren’t quite as bad as the predictions.
On January 11, 2018 there was a release from FB that outlined the changes your page will see and I’m going to take the opportunity to break it down for you so that you can understand more clearly what it means and how you can adapt.
Facebook is prioritizing posts from Family & Friends
This isn’t that new of a concept (see their News Feed Values). It’s what the users want, they always have. Facebook tried some experiments around paying to have Publishers (news organizations) and celebrities create content. During that phase, we saw more content that wasn’t our first choice. It means there will be less content from pages across the board.
Simply put, your Page content will be seen by less people. Users will see more from Friends and less from Pages. But that’s really the way it’s always been. People use Facebook to maintain relationships with people not be sold to.
Increased emphasis on posts that create conversation
In this instance, posts that encourage conversation and comments will fare well. If you regularly post content that no one interacts with or only garners Likes, you will feel this one. Every time there’s a change in the algorithm, I get complaints from business owners and marketers that this is unfair. Remember how you feel as a consumer of FB and how much you just LOVE boring content. I suspect the word “fairness” is really a disguise for unwillingness to amend lazy posting behavior.
If your page puts out quality content, that’s valuable to your audience, you won’t experience a big change due to Facebook Zero. I too get lazy and “phone in” posts, I’m human, but I know that I could’ve done better. Facebook is no longer letting us slide with garbage posts. There simply isn’t the space in the News Feed for fluff. So, it’s time to bring your “A” game or suffer the consequences.
No More Engagement Bait
We’ve all seen these posts. “Give us a Like!” “TAG your friends” “Click Like if you agree”. If you are manipulating people into engaging with your posts, Facebook is onto you (and so is everyone else.) This will no longer fly and your posts will be demoted. FB learned how much the users dislike and distrust this type of content so they are punishing content creators that use this crutch. Learn more about engagement bait, what it is, and what to avoid.
Why did they do this?
They don’t hate businesses and they don’t have it out for us. They’ve learned that when users passively consume content that doesn’t spark engagement, it’s bad for a person’s mood. The top dogs at Facebook want their users to enjoy their experience, makes sense right? They’re adapting to the changing habits of their audience and tweaking the News Feed to provide they’re asking to see. The users are voting with their time spent on the channel. As their happiness decreases, they leave, plain and simple.
Let me express this in another way. If you have a DVR or Tivo, you don’t watch the commercials, do you? No, no you don’t. That’s because no one likes to be sold to, marketed to, or overtly pitched. Most businesses in the Feed act desperately and the users are over it. It boils down to posting quality content.
Learn How Ranking Works
The first part to surviving Facebook Zero is learning how they rank your content. Adam Mosseri (VP, News Feed at Facebook) broke down what Facebook uses to rank content in the News Feed. It’s important that you know this detail as well that he stated during the 2017 F8 Summit, “The most critical input into what you see in your news feed is who you decide to friend and what [pages] you decide to follow in the first place.”
These are some of the signals that will affect your ranking on Facebook:
Who posted a story
Frequency of posts from that person / publisher
Previous negative feedback on an author
Average time spent on content
Overall engagement a post already has
When the story was posted
A recent comment from a friend
Completeness of page profile
Posted from a friend or page
How informative the post is
How You Can Adapt Your Content to Facebook Zero
Proofread your copy
Double check your links
Create content likely to elicit positive feedback
Publish content that promotes engagement and an investment of time
Kerry is a Social Media | Technology Trainer | Speaker | Author based in Santa Rosa, CA. She offers consulting and social media training in the form of individual lessons, customizable classes, and is available to speak at your event. People and tech, together changing the world.