Facebook’s updated News Feed has been in place for a few weeks, and both brands and individuals may be starting to see some changes to the stories appearing in their feeds. We covered the changes earlier in August when they first arrived on the scene, but how will these new tweaks to Facebook’s algorithms impact businesses? How will your strategy start to look different?

The leaders at Facebook have historically kept the details of their News Feed ranking under wraps. With EdgeRank — the existing system that these changes were built upon — businesses gleaned what they could about how Facebook made its decisions. This infographic lays out the common knowledge about EdgeRank, so you can stay up to date with the latest information about the classification and organization of Facebook stories.

With everything that we know, the focus of Facebook’s algorithms is to give its members the type of content they are most likely to enjoy and engage with. Thus, for any given post, EdgeRank considers previous interactions with the author, the post type, the existing responses, and the amount of negative feedback in assessing when and where content will appear for users. These insights, combined with the latest algorithm updates, can help brands to hone their Facebook strategies for even better fan engagement.

The Changes

man reading newspaper

The goal of both the updates, known as “Story Bumping” and “Last Actor,” is to improve the quality of content that Facebook’s members see on every visit to the News Feed. As a result, brands may be seeing a change in the level of engagement, and they may want to make small changes to their content strategies to continue the positive trend.

Story Bumping may be yielding an increase in Likes on your content. This algorithm looks at all content that the individual hasn’t seen yet when determining what to rank highly, rather than just the posts that have been published since the latest login. Last Actor takes the most recent activities of a Facebook member in determining the scores. For instance, if somebody Likes a post by a friend when they log in before work, that friend’s later posts will get a slightly higher score and are more likely to appear when the same person logs in later that evening.

The Results

woman tablet grass

To take best advantage of the tweaks to the News Feed, the key for brands is to focus on relationships. The benefits of these changes are intended more for existing fans than for reaching out to new followers. Your company content is more likely to rank well if you’ve cultivated good relationships with your community base and if those people regularly engage with your brand. Especially with the Last Actor update, people are more likely to see more of your content if they frequently interact with your Page.

That means you should make certain that you’re giving people plenty of opportunities to engage. With the renewed emphasis on interaction, businesses may see more impact by taking a slightly different angle to how they present even basic company facts or information. Write status posts that will spark reactions from your fans. Encourage them to weigh-in with their opinions, express their thoughts, and share why they appreciate your company. Create content that will make your followers both like and “Like” your brand!

Facebook’s updates also place a renewed emphasis on the need for great, insightful analysis of your presence on the social network. If the type of stories that most of your fans interact with are more likely to appear in their News Feeds down the road, then your business needs to know what story types your followers most enjoy. Do they Like and comment more on photo posts or on text statuses? Who is your primary audience: men or women? What ages are they, and what countries do they live in?

A final suggestion for brands is that a willingness to be flexible can take you far in social media marketing. Facebook has additional updates to its News Feed algorithms in the works, so craft your plans with the knowledge that social media is a channel that demands rapid-fire changes. These probably won’t be huge revolutions to your strategy, but small shifts in focus and direction. With an open mind and a creative outlook, any brand will be able maintain those crucial bonds with fans throughout Facebook’s evolution.

Have you seen any change in Facebook activity with the latest News Feed changes? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: Garry Knight, Elvert Barnes, FaceMePLS]