Updates to the Facebook algorithm always seem to induce the butterfly effect: One little change suddenly has a huge effect on your entire strategy on that platform.
Today is no different. In an announcement this afternoon, Facebook made some small (but serious) changes to the way text and link statuses get ranked in your News Feed.
According to the announcement, people generally don't like to interact with text statuses from companies as much as text statuses from friends -- so the social network decided to demote the importance of text status updates from companies in the News Feed.
And that change will have two different ramifications to other parts of the Facebook algorithm:
1) Other types of status updates may become more -- or less -- effective.
This makes sense, though Facebook was vague about the specific effect for other types of status updates. I guess we'll wait for another announcement. No action item here.
2) Links within the "link-share" will get promoted.
This is the tricky part of the announcement. Basically, when people share links on Facebook, they share them one of two ways:
Within the text status update itself ...
... and as a "link-share" with all of the link metadata pulled in.
Facebook wants people to share their links the second way -- with all of that good metadata to support it. So it will now be promoting links that have all of that in the News Feed, rather than those text status updates with links.
Kinda nitpicky, but it makes sense. Images have been shown to be the most effective for company pages to post, so wouldn't you think that links with images would get more exposure than those without them?
But I know what you're thinking: How do you make sure your link is a link-share and not a text update?
How to Make Sure Your Update is a Link-Share
You can take a breath -- it's actually quite easy to make sure your link-share is working.
In Facebook's status update box (or in HubSpot's Social Inbox compose box for customers), all you need to do is add a link into the box and let the metadata populate. Then, you'll see the link's Open Graph image, page title, and/or meta description populate, and voila! You're good to go.
Only thing you need to remember? Don't click the X next to that metadata that just popped up:
Besides that, you should be good to go!
Takeaways From This Update
Besides giving you another thing to remember when posting to Facebook, this update is a reminder to us all that if we want to build an audience on Facebook's platform, we need to pay attention to the details of what makes readers tick ... and, of course, what Facebook's algorithm is doing.
So keep Facebook in your arsenal of marketing tactics, but remember that it isn't really owned media -- you're renting space from Facebook, and they can change the rules of the game at any time. Make sure you're devoting time to building up content assets you own, such as blog posts, marketing offers, and landing pages. That way, the next time Facebook updates its algorithm (and it will), your business won't take a nosedive. Bonus: You'll have something to populate that new link-share update. ;)
What do you think of this News Feed update? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.