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What The Hell Happened To All The Engagement On Social Media?

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

where did all the social media engagement go?

Do you remember how easy it was to keep up with your friends on Facebook or Instagram? As soon as they posted anything you would see them in chronological order on your timeline. However, Facebook changed its algorithm to make it so people will see their friends and family before business or brand content. You’ve probably heard of brands who used Facebook for marketing complain of their organic views tanked considerably. Business and brand marketers had to knock their heads and try to game the algorithm of Facebook and revise their content strategy.

Why Did The Algorithm Change?

In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg posted that he was aware that people were not connecting as much with their friends and family and kind of forced businesses to adapt to changes in order to stay between posts of cats and babies.

Facebook Algorithm

However, there was a dangerous amount of misinformation and fake news spread through Facebook that caused illness or injuries such as do-it-yourself miracle cures instead of seeing a doctor. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to work the algorithm, but in order to do that, you need to see if there’s a way to figure out how exactly it works.

So How Exactly Does The Algorithm Work?

It made things a little harder for brands to adjust, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. There are factors that affect how content is ranked. Content that has no quality will most likely not draw in comments or likes, which also affect how that content is ranked. This forces brands to create content that elicits conversation. It also helps that the content is relevant. Some marketing professionals will stay on top of relevant topics and try to spin it in a way that drives comments onto a post.

While Instagram is currently testing removing the like feature entirely, Facebook puts a little more value into the time spent to choose a different react emoji other than “like”. That means getting love or laugh reactions can help your content rank better and appear more often on someone’s timeline than one that just has only likes.

Mark Zuckerberg has also put value into a conversation. He wants users to not only engage with a post but engage with each other as well. That’s why when you open your Facebook and start scrolling, you’ll see more content that is already highly engaged with because of how much better its ranking than other content.

You also have to consider how often your content is shared, not only on their own walls but through Facebook messenger as well. The algorithm basically wants people to tale about content that their sharing. That’s why engagement on a shared post is just as important as well. It isn’t as easy as just having people share a post anymore because without active engagement, then Facebook won’t rank it as high.

Timing of your posting is also very important not just based on the algorithm, but based on what time is the most users on Facebook or Instagram at a given time. As this data is constantly changing, you can use this graph below to give you some good insights on what we call "hot spot posting"!

Best times to post on Facebook
Best times to post on Facebook

It might all sound very confusing, but to boil it down, if you want to have more eyes on your brand or business, then you need to create something people will react to and talk about with each other. This includes Instagram as well since it is now owned by Facebook. However, Instagram leans more heavily on the type of content that you’re engaging with.

For example, if you’re mostly liking, commenting, and sharing content related to dogs, then your feed will prioritize content about dogs. Instagram did confirm that what you do on its platform is what you’ll see more of. Instagram also focuses more on the quality of video and pictures uploaded to its platform, so if you want more eyes on your brand, then you may need to invest in a better camera.

A Couple More Tips For Content Ranking on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook is a little vague on how the factor of time spent on content affects ranking. Some think that having longer posts to read will affect how well it’s ranked, but you need to run those numbers yourself by making some shorter posts and longer posts and gauging which one does better for you. You also have to know your target market and what time they’re most likely going to be around to engage. You might not get much out of a post when your target group is sleeping at three in the morning. Finally, in order to curb “fake news” and misinformation, you would need to make the post as relevant and informative as you can.

While a new algorithm for social media means you need to adjust a bit, you’ll find new challenging ways to drive new business to your brand through engagement.

User Relationship

how to rank higher with the new algorithm
Engagement on your post

Users are more likely to interact with the posts of an account that they have already interacted with.

When a user likes, comments, shares or saves a post, they are much more likely to see another post (from the same account) at the top of their feed when they log on next.

Instagram and Facebook do this because they want to provide a personalized experience for their users. The more personalized the experience is, the more time their users will spend on their network (in theory), and as we already know, the more money they will make.

This algorithm ranking factor puts a heavy emphasis on business accounts publishing high-quality content, every single time they time post.

Every post you publish has a knock-on effect for your future posts. This means that posting low-quality content, in the hope that posting MORE will mean you’re seen more, will actually have the reverse effect.

The Bottom Line

While brands should certainly focus on improving their organic reach, there’s no denying the power of Paid advertisements.

The good news?

Data shows us that Facebook ads produce an overwhelmingly positive ROI with 93% of marketers already on board. Laser-targeting combined with so many creative options, Facebook ads offer marketers freedom unlike any other ad platform.

Double-dipping some of the tips above, you can create a video ad that grabs the attention of your followers.

Coupling your organic efforts with Facebook ads can give you the best of both worlds. The writing has been on the wall for brands to embrace Facebook as a “pay to play” platform, so experimenting with ads now is a sound idea for the long-term.

If you’re totally new to paid promotion on Facebook, you can have our team of sharks deal with your Facebook marketing with a Facebook Full Service Plan. Features like The Social Sharks paid performance report can break down your paid and organic campaigns to better determine your ROI.


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