What to Do About Changes to the Facebook Algorithm
By Giovanni Gallucci
A weekly series for Shane Media clients
Last week’s article on Facebook must’ve made you feel like someone walked past you and told you your cowboy hat was on backwards. So much for all that time and effort we put into Facebook, right? Well, yes and no.
So what do we do about the changes in Facebook’s algorithm? First, learn what “reach” actually means. Understanding the different levels of reach on Facebook is critical.
Facebook reach is the number of unique people who saw your content. This is the umbrella that covers all other metrics on the site. It includes engagement, views, comments, likes, click-thrus and any other feedback on both posts and pages, whether they be organic, viral or paid.
Where should your focus be? That rests on whether an individual piece of content or event is most important to you or whether you want to grow your overall brand on Facebook. For an event, a video or a single item, you need to focus on average “post” reach. For your brand, focus on your organic “page” reach.
You want as high a viral reach number as you can get. This indicates that your content is being shared on Facebook outside your immediate fanbase. This can include shares from both organic and paid sources.
Second, change how you view performance on Facebook. People typically think about the percentage of reach as the number of unique viewers vs. their total number of fans. That’s not a realistic way to look at it. Look at the graphic below from an account with 22,500 fans.
This shows, in the “DAYS” section, the average number of total unique fans who logged onto Facebook during the week. The graph below it, labeled as “TIMES” shows us how many of those 17,500 fans are on Facebook on average during each hour of the day.
We see that our best hours for posting are between 11AM and 10PM with most of our fans being online at 8PM. At that time of the day we usually have just under 8,000 fans logged into Facebook.
If at any given time only 7,000 of your 22,500 fans are actually logged onto Facebook, it doesn't make any sense to include those additional 16,000 users who weren’t even logged in at the time you posted.
If a post reaches 500 people, don’t look at it as 2.2% reach (500 out of 22,500) but as 7.1% reach (500 out of 7,000). The 100% reach metric is from the pool of 7,000 active, online fans at the time you posted. That’s the yardstick you should be using to measure your performance. This is critical when you explain Facebook performance to others.
What else can you do about the changes in Facebook’s algorithm? Get off Facebook.
We’ll talk about that next week.
ABOUT GIOVANNI GALLUCCI: Giovanni teaches how search, social, and online media align with marketing and PR strategies. On one hand, he's a recovering programmer turned internet journeyman while on the other hand he is a professional photographer, filmmaker, and online content creator. Learn more about him at http://LiveLoudTexas.com or follow him on twitter: @giovanni
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