How to Create Content That Works With the Facebook Algorithm

Facebook has been the go-to for many online businesses to both advertise and sell. Here’s how you can create content that not only stands out but shows up in the Facebook algorithm.

Believe it or not, there are now around 90.2 million Facebook users in the Philippines. This covers approximately 79% of our total population, which means that majority of the people in our country have Facebook accounts.

That being said, it isn’t a surprise that many—if not all—businesses prioritized their social media presence, especially on Facebook. After all, having a Facebook page has become the norm for businesses, with many people selling directly on the platform. 

However, getting posts to show up on other people’s Facebook feeds is actually not as simple as just typing a status and attaching a video or photo. Aside from the stiff competition between brands and companies with pages on Facebook, it is important to first understand how the Facebook algorithm works and how it decides what appears on people’s feeds. 

What is the Facebook Algorithm?

Simply put, the Facebook algorithm decides which posts people see when they open their feeds. Think of it as a set of rules and calculations that sorts through all the posts and determines which ones interest you. 

It then arranges the posts in a descending, non-chronological order, which means that the posts the algorithm believes you’re interested in will rank high up on your feed. In turn, this means that every person’s feed is different because people’s interests vary. 

So how does the Facebook algorithm filter and decide which posts interest you? First, it takes inventory of all the posts that have the possibility of appearing on your feed. These include posts by your Facebook friends, the pages and groups that you follow, and even ads. 

Next, the algorithm considers a set of signals to determine how interesting and relevant a certain content will be for you. It does so by observing your behavior on Facebook. Moreover, it considers who made the post, what type of post was made, and the engagement a post gets from people you interact with. 

For example, if you constantly look for and interact with posts made by your parents and siblings, it tells the algorithm that you like seeing their posts on your feed. If you like to browse pages of clothing stores in the evening, chances are this behavior will prompt the algorithm to show you similar posts during that time period. 

These signals, along with past behavior, are then used by the algorithm to make predictions about what you want to see in your feed. Once this has been done, the algorithm scores each content. The higher the score is, the higher the chance that it will appear toward the top of your feed. 

The Algorithm Changes

It should be noted that the Facebook algorithm changes. In fact, it has already undergone around 70 changes since the Facebook news feed was first launched in 2009. Unsurprisingly, the first algorithm that was launched featured the posts with the most likes on top of the feed. 

An example of a change that has been made to the algorithm happened in 2015 when Facebook began to downrank pages that post too much promotional content. It was also in the same year that Facebook launched a feature that lets you pick which pages you’d like to be prioritized on your feed. 

Another example of a change in algorithm happened in 2019 and involved video content this time. This changed how videos are ranked in your feed and prioritized high-quality, original videos. In fact, videos that people actually look for and even rewatch are given more priority by the algorithm. 

So how does the Facebook algorithm work in 2023? The Facebook algorithm values content that showcases the following:

  • Meaningful and informative stories
  • Accurate and authentic content
  • Safe and respectful behavior

In addition, Facebook has also provided users with options that better train the algorithm on how to rank posts. These options include the Favorites feature, which lets users pick people and pages to add to their favorites list, as well as in-feed options that let users hide posts. 

What Kind of Content Works with the Facebook Algorithm

Given how the Facebook algorithm works, not all types of posts will rank high or even appear on a user’s feed. This is why it’s up to business owners and social media marketers to plan and strategize their content posting in such a way that their content will have a good chance of showing up on feeds. Here’s how:

Accurate and Authentic Content

As previously mentioned, the Facebook algorithm values accurate and authentic content, which is why these rank higher on people’s feeds. What this essentially means is that posts should be truthful and contain creative, yet clear captions. 

It is also recommended that you avoid using clickbait or misleading titles, as well as content that is sensationalized or exaggerated. This means avoiding fake news, manipulated videos that can be flagged as false by checkers, and links to sites with stolen content. 

Creating Original Videos

The Facebook algorithm favors original videos that are of high quality, especially videos that you made yourself. Videos do not necessarily have to be very long, given that short videos are preferable for users who don’t have a lot of time or have a short attention span.

The introduction of Stories, as well as the Reels, can also be used by those handling a brand’s Facebook page to amp up the video content that can be viewed by users. Reels, in particular, provoke engagement thanks to the use of music and other effects. And while creating and editing reels can be tricky, there are editing apps available that can be downloaded for assistance. 

Focus on Six Emotions and Encourage Engagement

A lot of the content that prompts high user engagement usually appeals to a certain set of emotions, which you can keep in mind when doing content planning. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, these emotions are:

  • Admiration
  • Amazement
  • Astonishment
  • Curiosity
  • Interest 
  • Uncertainty

It is likewise recommended to create content that will stimulate discussion or even healthy debate in the comments. Keep in mind, however, that the Facebook algorithm highly values safe and respectful behavior, so content that shows otherwise or will prompt users to act in a disrespectful manner will not be prioritized. 

Engagement also does not just have to come from your users. Your engagement with people, especially those who comment on your posts, will also help boost your content on people’s feeds.

Don’t Underestimate the Status Post

Status posts refer to “a social media update feature that enables users to discuss important information from their Facebook profile.” It doesn’t have a photo, video, or even a link in it—just text. According to Hootsuite, these status posts, on average, get the highest engagement at 0.13%.

However, keep in mind that people on social media have the habit of just endlessly scrolling. Make sure your status is catchy and creative, but also informative. And more importantly, it doesn’t cause engagement baiting, which Facebook defines as “a tactic that urges people to interact with Facebook posts through likes, shares, comments, and other actions in order to artificially boost engagement and get greater reach.” Posts and pages that use this tactic are demoted by the social media brand.

Keep your status posts brief, concise, and straight to the point. People online tend to not have the time or the willingness to read very long posts, so it is best to keep it short and sweet.

Employee Advocacy

The reach of a Facebook page is limited by the number of likes and followers it has—unless a brand is willing to spend to boost posts. But what if you don’t have the budget for it?

This is where you can use how the Facebook algorithm prioritizes content made by family and friends to your advantage. How? By asking your employees or even your loved ones to share your content on their personal accounts. Asking them to share your content with their networks not only expands your reach but also increases the chances that you will show up on people’s feeds. 

What This Means for Business Owners and Social Media Marketers

The Facebook algorithm values authenticity and accuracy in the posts. This means that these posts rank high on people’s news feeds. What’s more, the values expressed should align with the values that business owners and social media marketers prioritize when planning and creating content.

Much focus should be given to content that is not only original and unique but also appeals to the interests and emotions of the audience. Any technique or strategy that will result in the algorithm rating posts as inaccurate or misleading should be avoided.

And as tempting as it is to include a clickbait status or exaggerated content that will lead to engagement, these will not help you stay in the Facebook algorithm’s favor.