Outbound Links vs. Grumpy Cat: Getting a Grip on Facebook's Quality Control

batman slapping robin meme

Yep yep, Facebook’s still playing games. Remember this setback in brand reach? Here’s part II.

You’ve probably heard the news that the recent changes by Facebook to its News Feed algorithm are an attempt to keep any content Facebook deems low-quality or irrelevant effectively hidden from most followers’ feeds. (Trouble is, what Zuckerberg’s henchmen deem low-quality isn’t necessarily what every one of your followers would sneer at.)

So, is there something wrong with the content you are posting? And if not, why isn’t it reaching your followers?

Some Background

It may sound cruel, but Facebook has had it with the ubiquitous Grumpy Cat and believes it and other memes do more harm than good for users.

On December 2, 2013, Facebook announced a change to its News Feed algorithm would increase the amount of “relevant content” users see and cut down on distracting, crappy posts created to bait users for likes and shares. The algorithm favors posts with outbound links to content that is deemed relevant to a business’s followers and hides other posts. Status updates that receive comments from followers also receive a boost in users’ feeds.

To put it bluntly, Facebook is trying to clamp down on businesses that create posts for the sole purpose of jacking up their metrics.

Is Everyone Getting Their Butt Kicked?

The short answer is yes. The recent changes by Facebook to its News Feed has had a negative impact on organic reach for a majority of businesses. But organic reach has also decreased simply because the number of businesses on the site has steadily increased over the past three years. More businesses are on Facebook, and each one is competing for the attention of the site’s users. Given Facebook’s effort to improve the quality of its newsfeeds and the overall user experience, each and every business on the site is going to have to step up its game in order to increase its organic reach.

Think Organic

There are no shortcuts when it comes to engaging your current and potential customers. There’s no magic formula for a Facebook post that will garner likes and shares, or drive people to buy whatever it is you sell. However, there are some definite guidelines you can follow that will help your business increase its organic reach:

  • Post content that is relevant and useful to your followers.
  • Use Facebook’s Page Insights to study and analyze your followers and determine what type of posts are resonating with those followers.
  • Focus on engagement; don’t just ask people to like or share a post. (In fact, avoid doing that altogether!)
  • Post stories that include links, and with every outbound link you post, be sure you are directing your followers to high-quality content.
  • Don’t post memes.
  • Find out when your followers are online and time your posts accordingly.
  • Schedule and test different types of posts at different times of the day.

As of November 2013, there were 25 million small businesses with active company pages on Facebook. Additionally, considering all of the non-profit organizations, creative ventures and musical groups that maintain pages on the site, the number of pages that stand to benefit from Facebook’s quality control initiatives is huge. Ideally, more quality equals improved user experience which in turn generates revenue, both for businesses and Facebook.

However, with the percentage of small businesses that use the site to advertise still in the single digits, and the potential for organic reach still shaking itself out, the bottom line benefit of Facebook’s quality control can seem elusive to even the most conscientious page admin. Signet Interactive follows Facebook’s algorithm changes closely and we’ll keep you up to date as to how the changes may affect your business.

In the meantime, stay away from Grumpy Cat.


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