Changes to Facebook and How They Will Affect You

It’s one of the most annoying things about Facebook: the “higher ups” just keep changing the way it works. From privacy settings to profiles, just when you think you have this Facebook thing figured out, the rules change on you.

Thankfully, there are plenty of people following Facebook and keeping people like us informed about what’s going on and how we should adapt. I rely on The Internet and Marketing Report newsletter to give me the scoop on such things.

Here’s a summary of what I learned from the latest issue … and how you, as an author, should adapt your Facebook usage accordingly:

What’s Changed
Facebook is adjusting its news feed. Before, Facebook showed you the posts that they felt were most relevant to you, sorted with the most recent on top. Now, Facebook decides which stories show up at the top of your page not by timeliness, but by the number of “Likes,” “Shares” and “Comments” that a particular post gets.

What This Means
Essentially, just investing the time in Facebook and posting frequently isn’t enough to get you seen any more. Unless your posts are getting lots of comments or likes, they’re going to appear momentarily … and then disappear when a more viral post takes off.

Tips for Getting Seen
In essence, all of this means that your Facebook posts have to be more sticky. Here are a few ideas on how authors can do that:

  • Post valuable content. Avoid the purely marketing-oriented Facebook posts, and instead write fact-filled updates that people can get something out of.
  • Have a sense of humor. People love sharing things that make them laugh. If you have a good sense of humor, use it.
  • Don’t be afraid to stir up some controversy. Push people’s buttons. Ask provocative questions. The people who agree with you will share or like your posts; those who disagree with comment themselves. It’s a win-win.
  • Ask questions. Again, make sure your posts are encouraging people to respond. Posing a question is a great way to do that.
  • Mark my words. It turns out that some words get more interest on Facebook than others. For example, posts that use the word “dollars off” seem to do better than those that just say “sale.” Interesting, right? Apparently, news links that were shared the most on Facebook included the following words: why, world, how, health, bill, big, says, best, video, you, Apple, media, top, first, and Obama. The least shared included: vs., apps, down, review, poll, game, Twitter, social, time, iPhone, USA Today, TV and live.

Hopefully, all of this information will help you figure out how to tweak your Facebook strategy. But beware … what’s working today may not be working tomorrow. That’s the nature of the Internet. Sigh…