Facing the Facebook Algorithm: Force Your Own Hand (To Blog)

Facing the Facebook Algorithm: Force Your Own Hand (To Blog)
By Michael Stahl


We are clearly at a crossroads, social media marketers. Facebook is going to continue to make our jobs increasingly difficult, week after week, as their algorithms continue to tighten and there’s nothing we can really do about it. They’re a publicly traded company now and “have investors to answer to.” I’m not exactly complaining here, mind you; I’m just pointing out some facts. This is a free country and a free market and it’s not up to anyone to tell Facebook what they can and can’t do.


Some of you may be concocting points of attack at the algorithms and finding success in your Facebook posting. But I don’t think most of you are. If that were the case, then the topic of the mighty and fluid Facebook algorithms wouldn’t be dominating the industry’s discussion as it is now. Social media marketers simply have to adjust, and I would like to discuss some possibilities on how we can better serve our clients.

I’ve been reading advice columns like these two and have tried to implement some of their new posting practices along with those suggested by Facebook itself. I suppose focusing highly on engagement is good advice, it certainly shows up a lot. But there two major problems I see with that:

1) If Facebook is only letting the big fans of your page see your posts, then, theoretically, they’ll be the ones engaging with them anyway, and even if I’m wrong about that one, this next one is indisputable.

2) Keeping up with engagement is very time consuming. Social media management work is not really known for its high pay rates to begin with and I don’t think many of us can go to our clients and demand, say, a 20% raise, even if we’re performing more laborious tasks.

In my mind, working on Facebook effectively has become tedious and ultimately unrewarding. So this week, I will be approaching some of my clients with new packages that will outline a reallocation of my efforts, and I’m going to propose less Facebook posting.

In the Moz blog I linked to earlier, it was written that more content should be put up on a client’s Facebook page, but that approach seems to contradict the idea that engagement should be the social media manager’s primary tool in loosening the algorithms. If you’re bombarding your followers with posts, they’ll be overwhelmed, turned off and won’t engage with all of them anyway. Plus, you won’t be giving your earlier posts time to “breath” and pick up comments and shares, making it (supposedly) easier for posts to get past the algorithm gates.

Less Facebook posting on behalf of my clients will give me the time to explore other marketing avenues that have the potential to create even more exposure for their businesses. I won’t be asking for a raise, so I’ll have to figure out a new workload that will take roughly the same amount of time as it would for me to bang out the usual number of Facebook ads. What will the work include? It depends upon the client, but, for starters, I’m looking into utilizing other social media platforms more effectively and contacting local blogs, websites, and forums that allow free promotions as well. However, blogging on behalf of my client is another job I will pitch to them and, I must admit, it’s the one I’m most excited about.

In this informative article called “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO,” the point is made that blogs on websites can be a great way to garner clicks, thus improving the searchability of the site. (This might sound like a no-brainer to some of you, but remember, I’m the Village Idiot here.) For me, doing fifteen less Facebook posts a week and substituting that for a legitimate, on-brand blog post about, say, fashion, beer, or sports sounds, not only awesome, but genuinely justifiable as well. Like everything in this industry, this task will be a tough sell to a business owner who is very concerned with Return on Investment (ROI). But if they eventually see better website traffic tied to your blog when they study their analytics, you should be home free.

I’ll let you know if my clients go for it soon. I’d suggest you give it a try as well. You’re a writer too, after all. I’d also love to hear some more advice from you in the comments section below.
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