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Adapt or Die: How to Outsmart Frequently Shifting Algorithms


In the ever-changing landscape of social media, it is imperative to adapt your social media strategy to fit updated algorithms. Facebook notoriously implements regular changes to its algorithm, making it more and more difficult for marketers to have their content displayed.

In the middle of Q2 of 2016, Facebook made two major updates to its algorithm in a continued effort to reward high-quality content. The first update puts a greater emphasis on engagement time. The platform now gathers data based on how long people spend viewing Facebook content — particularly articles. Using this information, Facebook can prioritize a user’s news feed based on how long that user has spent on similar posts from an author or publisher in the past.

The second algorithm update will reduce how often Facebook users see several posts from the same publisher in a row. This change stemmed from the comments of users who felt their timelines had become monotonous and boring by featuring content from the same source.

Here are a couple courses of action to adopt in order to combat the inevitable effects these new algorithm changes will have on your Facebook efforts:

Quality > Quantity
In terms of posting frequency, long gone are the days when posting each and every day was a necessity. If content does not provide value or drive action, it’s useless to a consumer. Instead, focus on delivering high-value content at the time of day when your following is most active.

While photos and videos should already be part of your strategy, it’s important to utilize content that is not only engaging and aesthetically pleasing, but also speaks to the decision-making segment of the consumer’s mind. By nature, we as humans are very egocentric. Every piece of content you push out to social media needs to answer a fundamental question for the consumer: “What’s in it for me?” Anyone can visit a company’s website and gather a summation of what it has to offer, but consumers count on social media to provide an in-depth feeling of exclusivity They obviously followed you for a reason — give them something useful!

Promote the Soft Sell
The two newest Facebook algorithm changes are nothing compared to the stipulations it has set in place for promotional posts. Overtly sales-oriented language, dollar signs and strong calls to action within copy set off numerous “click bait” red flags within the platform, and such posts will almost certainly end up in the “content graveyard.” If you have a social media-advertising budget available, it’s worth allocating funds to boosted posts, including blogs and pre-existing, well-performing organic content. Paying to promote specials and sales is like paying to lie in a tanning bed — it may look great at first, but it will eventually hurt you and the hard-earned value your brand has built with other great pieces of content.

As much as I wish I could promise you a steady, long-term social media strategy, it’s best to think in the short term; frequent adaptation is crucial to succeeding on social media. Strategize, measure, tweak, repeat — and always be aware of the elusive algorithm change.

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