Facebook has recently announced that it has, once again, tweaked its news feed algorithm. For us social media folks, the main implication is that “Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.”

So while posting simple, text status updates is fine for individuals, Facebook discourages page admins from doing so. I actually agree with this one – as an individual user, my Facebook friends seem to like my text status updates; but as a page admin, I’ve definitely been focusing on posting high-quality images on Facebook and avoiding simple text posts – those seem to generate less involvement from fans.

One last tidbit of advice from Facebook that’s worth noting: when you share a link, it’s best to use Facebook’s default link-share, where a preview of the shared content is shown, rather than doing what you would normally do on Twitter – writing a summary sentence and adding a shortened link.

This won’t work if you’re posting a photo and want to add a link to your own photo – you would still need to embed a simple link into your Facebook post – but when sharing links, it’s good to know that Facebook will now give preference to link-share posts. In the past it felt as if the only thing worth doing on Facebook was posting photos – it will be good to be able to go back to sharing links and have them distributed to fans’ news feeds.

Normally I’m full of criticism towards Facebook, but in this case, I have to say that the algorithm change makes a lot of sense and seems to be well thought out (unlike many of Facebook’s other actions and changes). It seems as though they did their research and are truly trying to give users what they want, whether from individual friends or from pages.

facebook survey

I’m not sure to what I owe the honor of getting to partake in a Facebook survey. Perhaps it’s the diligence with which I mark each and every newsfeed ad as spam. But Upon logging into Facebook the other day, I was prompted to fill out a short survey, aimed at gauging how sick and tired we are of Facebook ads.

We are, aren’t we?

Facebook has indeed become commercial, and I see it on both sides. As a user, I am completely fed up with newsfeed ads. I don’t mind the sidebar ads so much – I can ignore those – but the newsfeed ads are impossible to ignore, and they replace what I use Facebook for – funny or interesting updates from my friends.

I also see the big change in Facebook as a page owner. The inherent virality is gone – it seems as if the Facebook algorithm holds page posts hostage, deliberately sending them to just a tiny fraction of the fans (3 percent or so), pressuring page owners to pay to promote their posts.

Obviously, Facebook has a right to make money, and sometimes I wonder if I’m being unfair about this. It’s kind of like a blog. Readers sometimes get used to an ad-free, high quality blog, and when the blog places ads on its pages, they become offended. I always thought this was unfair – after all, a blogger has a right to make money too.

I don’t generally mind Internet ads, but online advertising seems to become more and more aggressive. As readers develop ad blindness and don’t even notice sidebar ads anymore, ads are becoming ever so intrusive. It’s not uncommon for me these days to land on a web page and feel as if I’m under attack – popups, popunders, expanding ads, talking ads, vibrating ads, all I want to do is close the browser window and escape, and I often do.

So there’s a balance to strike, especially for a social media company, and Facebook seems to have crossed the line between injecting the occasional ad in between what really matters, and being perceived as all ads, all the time.

Fans CAN get tired of a social network and move on. It happened to Digg, it happened to MySpace, and it can happen to Facebook. Facebook knows that, of course, hence the survey. I don’t know where it’s going to lead or what they’re going to do with the info, but since Facebook mostly feels as a company that couldn’t care less about its users, I find it refreshing that they have decided to listen. Let’s hope the fine balance between social and commercial will be restored soon.

Let Them Go

If you’ve ever done a wildly successful promotion on Facebook that brought you lots of new fans, especially a gated promotion where you asked that people like your page in order to participate, one of the inevitable results of such a promotion is that eventually, at least some of those new fans are going to depart.

My advice? Let them go. They’re unimportant. Social media is no different than anything else in life – quality is always better than quantity, and what you’re after are quality fans that actually care about your brand, want to become its ambassadors, and are interested in what you have to say.

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Facebook: Organic is Out, Paid is In

I get it. Facebook wants to make money. So do I. But I can’t help being annoyed whenever the above text pops up on one of my Facebook admin panels, letting me know that a particular Facebook post is especially engaging. I should be happy that a post is engaging. And I would be, if Facebook sent engaging posts to a wider audience than usual. Instead, it sends it to a SMALLER audience than normal, and suggests that you PAY TO PROMOTE THE ENGAGING POST.

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Resist The Urge to Sell

Of course you want to sell – we all do. Google wants to sell too, but when it comes to its powerful search engine, it favors educational, high-quality content over promotional content.

So when it comes to your marketing efforts, make sure that a big part of them is educational, content-rich and high quality. While your website can focus on presenting your products or services, it’s important to add a blog that focuses on establishing yourself as a leader in your industry. Don’t use your blog to sell! It’s fine to include links in your blog posts to your website, but keep the blog as pure as possible.

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Google Hummingbird: Good News Unless You’re Spammy

Google’s latest change to its algorithm has many worried, but I actually tell my clients it’s good news for us. With each of my clients, our main social media/SEO investment is typically a content-rich blog that focuses on quality content. Targeting major keywords is a consideration, but it’s not the main one and the need […]

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Why Akismet Spam Protection is a Must Have

Just take a look at the screen shot on the left – this is from one of my clients’ blogs, after they deactivated the Askimet plugin by accident. It took a mere couple of days for over 2,000 spam comments to appear on the blog’s dashboard. Luckily, the blog is setup so that each comment […]

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Facebook Contest Guidelines Change, Again

This is a change I really like though – Facebook used to insist that contests and promotions should not be run directly on a page’s timeline, but via a third-party app. I hated doing that! It was cumbersome and added a not-insignificant cost to running contests. I always used wildfireapp.com, which was quite affordable, but […]

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It’s Better Not To Have A Blog At All!

This was forwarded to me by someone who actually went to this company’s website to check them out. Naturally, he checked out their blog – in fact it was the first link he clicked. I said it before – this is really damaging. A single blog post, from a year ago, promising regular updates, then […]

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Should you be on Instagram?

Instagram is fascinating. The service is bare-bones and decidedly lacking, with the most important features only available through mobile. Yet it has become amazingly popular with a certain segment of the population, namely the segment that seems to have their eyes glued to a little mobile screen and their fingers perpetually texting – preteens (and […]

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