You may or may not be aware that Facebook made some pretty significant changes to their news feed algorithm earlier this year. Now the dust has settled, we can look at how you can make the most of these changes to better your #SchoolMarketing.
Top factors in the new Facebook algorithm
Zuckerberg's vision for Facebook, post-2018, was to deliver more "meaningful social interactions". This meant that branded content was not the primary focus for Facebook anymore, with many businesses worried about the impact that would bring. Instead, content that delivered engagement and conversation would now rate higher in news feeds. A new tactic is need.
So, what are the top factors in the new Facebook algorithm?
Posts that encourage commenting are a big factor. The art is to produce amazing content that people want to discuss.
Be mindful of posts that actively provoke someone into taking an action (such as "Tag a friend" or "Comment YES if you agree"), as these will be punished by Facebook and demoted on news feeds.
Content that gets shared more will feature higher in feeds. It is worth noting there are two main methods of sharing that Facebook will look at:
- posts that are shared to friends (in the usual way) and engaged with
- posts that are shared as links via the Facebook Messenger platform (expect to see more emphasis on Messenger in general).
As well as this, the shared content will need to generate good engagement to rank higher. Bottom-line: you want to create engaging content that people want to share.
Facebook have also promoted Reactions as a key metric. While many people may not want to comment or share, reactions are proving are great third way to assess how engageable content is.
Content that evokes emotive responses - funny / sad / makes you think - is more likely to be something that people want to React to.
8 tips for delivering content that ticks all the boxes
 Use video NOW!
Video continues to dominate in the content marketing world, especially when it comes to LIVE video:
- 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook. (HubSpot)
- 100 million hours of video are watched each day on Facebook. (TechCrunch)
- Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. (Wordstream)
- Facebook videos receive 135% more organic reach on average than a Facebook photo. (Socialbakers)
- 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot)
So, with video driving greater engagement, more shares and a higher rate of comments, it makes total sense that video should be incorporated in your #ContentMarketing plans for Facebook.
Did you know: Facebook LIVE ranks even higher than normal video! This is because people spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video compared to other video content.
If you want to hit that top-level engagement and have a greater influence on your content's ranking, you should absolutely be LIVE streaming from your school.
 Deliver more conversation-driven content
Generating content that drives conversation is a winning formula. It may sound difficult but the simple truth is this: if you share good content that your community wants to see, it will drive comments and conversation. It doesn't take an awful lot of savvy, it just takes knowing your audience.
When people do comment, be sure to Like and Reply to appear more personable and make your community happy.
 Utilise your community to share your content
As above, if you are putting great content out there your community will comment and share it. There is no harm in giving your audience a little nudge to share your content more, just be mindful how you nudge.
You should not out and out say, "Please share this post". Facebook recognises this and will punish it by demoting posts! Instead, thank people for sharing a post or give them the almighty thumbs up like.
As well as this, you can work a little more internally, and ask staff to help promote your content. In all likelihood, most staff will be following your Facebook Page,. Asking them to share your posts will help rank them higher, as it comes from Family and Friends. Stats prove that content shared in this way are 16 times more likely to be read!
 More native content
Native content - content that is uploaded directly to Facebook (i.e. photos and videos) - is already a proven method for better engagement. Facebook are giving it even more impact, looking for people to share their content on Facebook, as opposed to other channels and then sharing it as a link (i.e. a YouTube link).
We strongly believe that any post should have some form of media with it (remember...show, don't tell) so look to add this natively. Try it out, share a YouTube video you have uploaded one week, and then share a video uploaded directly to Facebook the other. Which one has better engagement (when looking at your Insights?)
 Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups have been through a funny life. At one point they ruled Facebook, then they became incredibly niche. Now they seem to be returning and it's time for you to be thinking about how you can utilise them.
One group in particular screams out at us, one we think most schools should have. Can you guess what it is?
Alumni! Create an alumni group and begin to invite people to join (you most likely have a database of all your alumni's details). The beauty with groups is you can feature them on your Facebook Page, so you are still driving people to the right places.
 Be more savvy with your targeting
Facebook allows you to narrow down the demographics of who will see your posts. While this may not be perfect for your community, it can certainly help you with sharing content to a wider community of your choosing (e.g. a certain age group of people within a geographic region).
A good time to use this might be when promoting your Open Days. Facebook targeting should not be confused with Facebook Advertising, though it does mimic some features.
 When should you post?
Sending posts out at the right time of day, on the right day, will maximise who sees it and so the level of engagement you can expect.
Consider using Insights to help work this out, but a good rule of thumb is to post before the school run in the morning (7-8am) and early evening when parents are winding down (6-8pm).
 Facebook Ads
Of course we have to mention Facebook Ads - there is no way that Facebook would let these fall by the wayside! Facebook Ads remain an unrivalled method to boost your content and allows you to be incredibly specific with who gets to see it.
It takes a little learning (we can also help with this - get in contact) but Facebook Ads are often well worth the investment.
There we have it! 8 tips to help you utilise Facebook's new algorithm and be masters of the content you share.
Have you seen an impact to your marketing efforts on Facebook? What tactics have you employed to "beat" the algorithm changes? We'd love to know! Please comment below.