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The New Facebook Algorithm Revealed: How to Get Your Posts Seen On Your Patients’ Cluttered News Feed?

November 6, 2017

Are your posts now reaching fewer patients on Facebook?

Have you ever wondered why some of your Facebook posts get dozens of comments or “likes” from your patients while others don’t?

Facebook now has 12 million Australians logging in every day. And, approximately 70% of the total Australian population is an active Facebook user.

They are actively engaging with content posted on their news feeds resulting in an average of 20 minutes per visit. Given the volume of daily Facebook users, your patients could be seeing about 15,000 to 150,000 pieces of content.

This of course, also depends on the number of pages they follow and how many friends they have on Facebook.

Your patients now have A LOT to consume in an average visit…

Recently, Facebook took on a more targeted approach by revamping the News Feed algorithm, or the formula it uses to calculate the significance of a post to the user.

Before the update was rolled out, Facebook mainly focused on posts and other content that has the most number of likes, comments and shares. In other words, popularity mainly ruled over Facebook’s News Feed.

Now though, new algorithm combines popularity with a targeted system that caters specifically to the interests of your patients.

Instead of showing what Facebook thinks your patients like, the new News Feed shows what it knows they like.

In the short video below, Adam Mosseri, the VP of Product Management for Facebook’s News Feed, briefly explains how the social network’s algorithm effectively uses simple steps to connect users to the types of stories that they are most interested in.

How Does News Feed Work?

Posted by Facebook on Friday, October 20, 2017

How Does The New Algorithm Choose Which Of Your Posts Will Appear On Your Patients’ News Feed?

As explained in the video above, Facebook’s algorithm works like simple steps to solve a problem.

Understanding these step will provide you with a clear idea of how you’ll be able to reach your patients through the posts from your dental practice’s Facebook page.

Step 1: Inventory

When your patients first open their news feed, Facebook’s algorithm takes an inventory by looking at all of the stories posted by their friends and the pages they follow (in the same way Adam checked to see what was on the menu).

Step 2: Signals

The next step refers to the signals or the various factors that Facebook considers when it comes to ranking the stories or posts that your patients will see.

These are:

  • when the story was posted or how recent it is
  • who shared or posted it
  • how many likes, shares and comments it has received from friends
  • type of content that the user interacts with the most, such as photos or videos.

Other important factors that Facebook considers include the Internet connection speed of your patients and the type of device they’re using while viewing the posts.

Step 3: Predictions

Facebook then goes through these signals to predict how likely your patients will react to these stories. These signals, combined with your patients’ previous and current online activities help Facebook determine whether or not you will like, share, report or hide a particular story.

Step 4: Score

Lastly, after making informed predictions, Facebook rewards the posts with scores based on how relevant they are to your patients. Those with the highest scores are then bumped to the top of the News Feed.

This 4-step process happens each and every time they log in to Facebook, and decides what your patients’ feed looks like.

How Facebook’s New Algorithm and Core Values Work Together

Although Facebook largely relies on its algorithm to rank the relevance of posts that your patients will see, the social media network still upholds its core values when it comes to approving and presenting content.

Keeping these values in mind will ensure that your posts follow Facebook’s guidelines and are ranked higher in the News Feed of your patients.

Staying Connected

At Facebook, friends and family come first. Staying true to the nature of the social network, Facebook still serves as an online avenue where your ideal patients can stay connected with their friends and family. This is why posts that come from these people are automatically placed at the top of the News Feed.

Authenticity of Content

As part of Facebook’s ongoing battle against the spread of fake news and spam content, ranking posts based on their authenticity serves as an integral part of its algorithm.

Through the help of third-party checkers, as well as reports from actual users, Facebook weeds out posts and other content that are not considered genuine. Aside from saving your potential patients from misleading and spammy content, Facebook brings them authentic stories which they can easily connect with the most.

A Customisable Experience

Of course, even with the new fancy algorithm, Facebook is aware that the ranking system for the News Feed is still not 100 percent accurate. This is why the social network unveiled a set of controls that allows your patients to customise the content that they see on their feed based on what they like and don’t like.

Using the controls such as “hide,” “unfollow” and “see first,” your patients will be able to help Facebook understand what they would like to see and avoid in their News Feed.

Constantly Evolving

As previously stated, Facebook knows that the News Feed can still be improved. It aims to utilise feedback from the community as well as how users interact online in order to create a better experience for everyone. In other words, you can still expect to see changes in Facebook’s algorithm and News Feed in the future.

How To Consistently Rank Higher In Your Patients’ News Feed

Going through all of the possible strategies to keep patients engaged on your page can get overwhelming. Fortunately, there is a simpler way to go about this. Below are the main factors that you should always keep in mind to make sure that your posts are always ranking at the top of your patients’ News Feed.

Tip #1: Create Engaging Content

Since Facebook’s ranking heavily relies on your patients’ engagement with your posts, it is important to keep them entertained and informed with the content that you share on your page.

While keeping in mind the signals and values discussed earlier, make sure to share content that will elicit positive interaction from your patients such as likes, comments and shares.

One of the simplest ways to attract a positive response from your patients is through entertaining images which they can easily share to their friends. Of course, as an operator of a dental practice, it’s important to create content that would entertain your patients while spreading awareness about your practice.

One of the ways you can achieve this is by sharing humorous memes about dentists or dentistry in general or making use of social media signs that are relevant to your practice.

Tip #2: Focus on Videos

Aside from images, another type of content that is shareable and can easily gain a ton of likes and comments are videos. According to a recent report by The Next Web, Facebook is now favouring videos over other types of content. This means these are now ranked higher in the news feed.

Although the content of the video is important, there are also other technical aspects that you should remember to keep your patients engaged.

One of these is the length of the clip. Short or snackable videos, which generally run between 6 and 15 seconds long, can be effectively used as ad breaks since these are mostly straight to the point and entertaining.

In contrast, long videos, which run for at least 90 seconds long, are also effective. Aside from delivering complete information, longer videos are effectively utilised for the insertion ad breaks.

Another important factor to keep in mind when creating videos is adding captions. This allows your patients to watch and understand the content of the clip even if the sound is turned off. Also, make sure to favour square videos as opposed to landscape videos since these work well when viewed using mobile devices.

Tip #3: Take Advantage of Live Videos

In addition to conventional videos, make sure to utilise live videos as well. Since the launch of this feature, users of Facebook have spent more time watching live videos compared to those that are no longer live or have been pre-recorded.

For your dental practice’s page, you can take advantage of live videos by broadcasting from your clinic.

But, make sure to keep the content light and entertaining. For example, you can showcase your staff members and your dental practice culture. This will definitely boost trust and communications.

Tip #4: Be The First to Post

One of the signals that Facebook uses when ranking posts is the time when it was posted or its relevance to a current trending topic. You can capitalise on this aspect by being the first to share a breaking story that is relevant to your patients. Also, if you happen to discuss or share a story that’s just about to go viral, your page can experience a huge uptick in organic traffic and engagement.

By combining all of these tips and guidelines and applying them to your online strategy, you’ll be able to succeed in improving your patients’ positive engagement with your page.

Of course, no matter what type of content you choose to share, always remember that the goal is to get your patients engaged and informed.

What are you doing to improve visibility in the Facebook news feed? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.