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The Facebook Algorithm: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

Most Facebook users know there is an algorithm working away in the background deciding what posts to show on your Feed.



“The algorithm” is actually a machine learning ranking system that is incredibly complex with many layers. It is this ranking system that filters the thousands of posts available for a particular user, down to the few hundred that actually appear in the Feed.


The systems tries to predict what “you’re most likely to be interested in or engage with,” since you last logged in.


So how does the system predict what you’re interested in?

It factors in things like, what & whom you’ve followed, liked or engaged with recently. It also looks at the types of post you engage with most.


When a post you’ve already seen, generates an interesting conversation by your friends, it can be added back into the pool of available content.


As the system evaluates more posts, they go through further checks, including an integrity check. Lastly, the system ensures you get a good mix of different content types.


As content creators it’s also important to know what the algorithm looks at when determining what to add to the content pool.


Meaningful & Informative

Facebook itself says it prioritises meaningful & informative content.

Meaningful: When evaluating content, the algorithm looks at how meaningful the story is to each person. From “how close someone is to the person or page” to the time spent reading or watching videos. Other signals that are taken into account are the engagement levels (likes, comments, shares) of the post.


Informative: The algorithm also looks at what a person finds informative & interesting, again based on past behaviour. Obviously, this is different for every person scrolling through the Feed.


So as content creators, we need to focus on posts that are both meaningful and informative for our audiences.


Accurate & Authentic

Facebook says, “people on Facebook value accurate, authentic content.”

What this means for you as a content creator is people want to see you being genuine and authentic. People are tired of the BS, they want to know that you have the same struggles & challenges as they do. They want to hear your story so they can relate to you!


A couple of tips to let the algorithm know that your content is accurate & authentic:


Clear headlines: Your headline should clearly describe what your post is about. Yes, being creative is good but don’t use deceptive titles or clickbait.


Truthful: You won’t do yourself any favours with the algorithm if you sensationalise, exaggerate or lie.


Spam: Facebook takes spamming seriously, but I don’t think they always get it right (it is AI after all). The algorithm will definitely limit your reach if you engage in spammy type behaviour or posts that it considers to be spam.


It will also restrict your account if it deems you have been writing posts that it classes as spam.


This Pinterest infographic provides an overview of some of the words Facebook doesn’t like.



Engagement

As we’ve learnt, the algorithm gives a higher ranking score to posts that people find interesting. So, it’s important to ensure you reply to any comments on your posts.


Facebook itself says "that if a post triggers a lot of conversation among a user’s friends, the algorithm applies “action-bumping logic” to show that post to the user again."


Stories & Reels

Are designed to help people discover new things. They live in a separate space, away from the main Feed algorithm.


Facebook says, “We’re focused on making Reels the best way for creators to get discovered.”


If you’re looking for new eyes on your content, Reels can be a good addition to your strategy.



Key take-aways

  • Create meaningful & informative content that you audience wants to see

  • Make sure your content is genuine & authentic.

  • Ensure your headlines clearly describe your post and aren’t spammy.

  • Encourage engagement with your audience & respond to all comments

  • Use Reels & Stories to get more eyes on your content.



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