What Is Meaningful Social Interaction and Why Does Facebook Care?
The answer to that is… complicated, but not unexpected. Facebook wants to increase meaningful social interaction and is taking steps to help us all get there. Take a brief look at this excerpt from their latest press release on their recent tweaks to the newsfeed algorithm.
One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.
We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.
But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
What Does This Mean For Business Pages?
So, you’ve got your business page; maybe you’ve had it for years. And over that time you’ve watched your post reach fluctuate all over the place whenever Facebook changes/tweaks their news feed algorithms. It was not too long ago that effective use of hashtags was enough to spike your post reach into the clouds. But, from the perspective of the Facebook network overall, what does that really get you? And, furthermore, how does that make for a better user experience or a better Facebook… ???
The answer is it doesn’t really get you anywhere!! Certainly not in terms of encouraging users to create BETTER content that’s MORE RELEVANT to your users. Google discovered the same things over the years and has implemented some very interesting algorithmic choices to encourage content generators to create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing sites with well-written content interspersed with images, videos, and calls to action; additionally you get extra points when your site is systematically “well coded” to boot. Google couldn’t just allow meta tag descriptions, titles and keywords to inform the search engine crawlers as to the content of a website or web application; they needed to build sophisticated indexing/web crawling mechanisms that actually read and interpret the content, aesthetics and overall value of a site or web app and then make a determination as to how relevant that content is to the user initiating a specific search phrase. One result of the changes over the years is that content generators have had to step up their game to rank well. This is now true on Facebook as well; paralleling the trend.
For business pages on Facebook, the tweaks to the algorithm mean more work; but potentially much higher rewards for the effort. Facebook wants to improve it’s authenticity by inciting meaningful social interaction; so by rewarding posts that get people to engage (with a preference towards comments) and taking into account the amount of time-spent interacting with “after-click” content that a post links to, Facebook believes [rightly] that it will improve the utility and overall offering that Facebook serves to it’s users.
Riiiiiight… but what to do?
So glad you asked! I’ve made up this helpful list of suggestions, specifically designed for business page managers and owners.
- Create Well-Written, Meaningful, & Aesthetically-Pleasing Content
- Ask Pointed Questions To Inspire Interaction
- Keep Your Promises & Don’t Use Tricks To Lure Clicks
- Be As Relevant As Possible
Let’s explore each of these points in a bit more detail…
1) Well-Written, Meaningful & Aesthetically-Pleasing Content.
The reason for this should be mostly obvious… but, all the same, when you consider the basic criteria that Facebook has laid out for their new algorithm; they’ve all but spell this out for us! They want people to interact and engage, and they want people to spend time with the content you’re posting as a testament to whether or not that content is MEANINGFUL for you. So… if you write a dull article, that’s short, riddled with spelling errors, no featured image, no categorization or tags; even if you have 800K likes and use good hashtags, you will likely be noticing a huge fall-out in post views. On the other hand if you write an article so beautiful that it brings people to tears for 5mins+ while they devour every last word and include beautiful images/video content PLUS you write a thoughtful post on Facebook and start getting likes, shares and comments from friends; even if you only have a couple hundred likes on your page, your content could all the sudden go viral! Again the rewards system on Facebook has been altered dramatically – it’s time to shed the old strategies and put a heavy lean towards authenticity in the content you are sharing.
2) Ask Pointed Questions To Inspire Interaction
Remember, Facebook is giving a huge priority to posts that inspire folks to interact with eachother; especially when comments are involved! If you can start a conversation on your post, that is best! For organizations, this usually means you need to get your people involved, ask your co-workers to share/comment/like, ask your fans to offer their thoughts or ask them a specific question designed to spark a debate or conversation around the topic. These are considered meaningful interactions and will boost your post’s visibility significantly.
3) Keep Your Promises & Don’t User Tricks To Lure Clicks
Promises & Tricks for Clicks… Everyone knows click-bait when they see it now and though it has been a successful strategy in the past; it’s time is passing (thankfully). In hundreds of thousands of user surveys, results were overwhelmingly indicative of folks having a bad taste in their mouths when it came to click-bait leading to overall distrust in the platform… The idea here is simple; tricking folks into clicking doesn’t benefit you if your audience doesn’t stay and read the content. So, when you say something like, “You Will Be Shocked To Know This Secret!” it had better be a darn good secret you’ve got!
4) Be As Relevant As Possible
Something big happening in your industry, topic, category, etc, etc? Staying on top of what is trending and capitalizing on those trends will help your page stay relevant in the ever-changing Facebook environment. For example, if a particular TV show – say the Walkind Dead – is trending and you make an analogy for why the main character, Rick Grimes, would make a perfect spokesperson for the product/service you’re selling in an article that you share on Facebook; you may find your post caught up in the whirlwind and being seen by a larger-than-anticipated audience. This doesn’t just go for TV shows of course, any trending topic can have the same effect. Remember this: Facebook wants to be the #1 news platform in the world; why do you think they call it a news feed?
When it comes down to it, the changes to the Facebook Algorithm will nudge us all to truly become better content creators. Will this inspire meaningful social interaction? We certainly hope so!
Thanks for reading and good luck with your Business Page!