How freelance journalists can beat Facebook's algorithm update

Since Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm for something like the hundredth time, some freelance journalists claim to have seen comments and engagement plummet on their Facebook Pages.

As you've probably heard, the changes – announced last week – give priority to posts shared by friends and family over those shared by publishers, small businesses, and brands.

However, all this really means is that instead of you sharing your stories, blog posts, podcasts or whatever from an official Page, it's worth going the extra mile to get your audience to share them for you.  

Here are four things to try:

Make sharing easier across your site

The easier you make it for people to share your content, the more likely there are to do it. For example, you can get floating share buttons that move with the page as the reader scrolls for free from SumoMe. (SumoMe also just released an eBook of strategies to boost social sharing, which is worth a read – you can download it here for free).

With most sites now receiving the bulk of their traffic from mobile, it's also essential that any share icons you have work on smaller screens as well as desktops. Remember too that sometimes less is more. Check your analytics to see which platforms your audience is sharing to most, and feature no more than the top five in your sharing options.

Collaborate with your audience

The more your audience is involved in the process of creating stories, the more likely they are to share them, as pointed out on Twitter by the engagement experts at Hearken.

For example, you could use social media to crowdsource ideas and responses to a question (this is something I do a lot), or ask your audience what topic or issue they would like you to cover next. 

Publish more video

It's no secret that Facebook's algorithm loves video. And a recent study by the analytics company NewsWhip found that the Guardian shared about the same number of native videos to its Page in July 2015 and April 2016 – only in 2016 the number of shares had more than doubled.

So if you want to get more engagement on Facebook, it makes sense to post more video. If you're not comfortable in front of the camera, you could share screencasts, webinars, or audio slideshows you've created instead. 

Let people know how to see your Page's posts first

If they're so inclined, your readers can overrule Facebook's algorithm and still see posts from Pages they've liked at the top of their newsfeeds.

This setting needs to be adjusted manually for each Page. Go to the Page, click the "Following" button on mobile or the "Liked" button on desktop, and select "See First" from the dropdown options that appear.

Abigail Edge