Over the years Facebook’s algorithm—it’s a process for determining what to show users—has gotten more and more complicated. It’s no longer a matter of posting at the right time. Today we have to take into consideration so much more when we’re trying to reach our audience on Facebook. Just like we have to optimize our website, we now have to optimize our posts. But Facebook’s algorithm is a little different than SEO on our websites.
The 4 Steps of the Facebook Algorithm
Step 1: Inventory
First Facebook takes “inventory.” This is a compilation of all things that your friends and pages you’re following have posted since the last time you checked Facebook.
Facebook then looks at “signals” to determine how to rank content for that user. Who shared the post? What type of device is the user currently on? What time is it right now?
Here’s some of the signals that Facebook looks at specifically:
- Frequency of postings from the person sharing content
- Previous negative interactions with that person
- Average time spent on certain types of content
- Engagement the post has received from others already
- Completeness of the sharer’s Facebook
- Whether the content is coming for a friend or Like Page
- The information within the post/how informative is it
Then Facebook makes “predictions.” How likely is it that you’ll click on, like, comment, share, or spend time viewing, each individual post?
It also looks at how likely it is that the post is clickbait and not actually informative content.
After making all of these predictions Facebook attaches a “score” to each post based on how relevant they are to the user.
This process happens every single time a user opens up Facebook. This is what determines what they’re shown and not shown.
Make the Algorithm Work for You
Now, you can’t “beat the system” even though you know what the system is, but you can do a few things to attempt to make it work for you rather than against you.
- Share informative content
- Keep it relevant
- Proofread copy
- Double check that all links work
- Share content that will generate positive feedback (no “angry” reactions!)
- Publish content that users will spend time on (video is great for this)
- Encourage interaction by posting social content
- Share posts that will gain clicks (but NOT clickbait)
- Make sure your Facebook page is targeting the right audience
While there’s no surefire way to make sure your posts are seen on Facebook, following these basic guidelines can help. And knowing how Facebook determines what users see can help you determine what needs to be done!