Upcoming changes to Facebook

At a recent conference Mark Z of Facebook released the following information about up coming changes to Facebook.

I'm going to post the keypoints in their entirety here, some may be worded for how the are going to affect Authors on FB, but for the most part, if you swap out the word "author" it's relevant to anyone who uses FB as a marketing too. Facebook groups are the future. Facebook is focusing on privacy and making the user experience more intimate. That’s what the algorithms are going to start catering to. If you don’t have a reader group, you should start one. The things we post on Facebook should create meaningful interactions. If they don’t, your post is less likely to be seen and suppressed in the algorithms.

Group Admins are responsible for all group activity. If content is posted in a group that goes against Facebook’s Terms of Service (TOS) or Community Standards, admins are at risk to lose their personal profile, their business page, and their group. Admins can be shut down with no recourse.

Negative ratings reflect poorly on the admin team. Negative ratings are the angry face, the sad face, member reported content, and the number of people who block you. These things also reflect poor ratings on groups and suppress reach. Facebook wants the user experience to be positive. Sad or angry face reactions tells Facebook that the user is having a bad experience, therefore diminishing your organic reach.

Post approval process is a responsibility. Admins should have post approval turned on in groups to protect themselves from negative ratings. Questions should be asked for new joins. It’s the admins responsibility to monitor and know who they are allowing in their group. Contest, giveaways, and free downloads are being suppressed by Facebook. If you are saying “get this free” or “enter this giveaway,” those posts are being suppressed by Facebook. This goes back to creating meaningful interactions. Authors need to stop using the traditional language and start getting creative on how they post contests, giveaways, and free books if they want their posts to be seen.

When members leave the group, they have the choice to take all of their content with them. This applies to admins as well. So if you had an admin that posted great content and then they leave the group, they have the ability to take their posts out of the group.

Teach readers to leave a reaction, not a LIKE. Liking a post means nothing to the Facebook algorithm. It does not qualify as an engagement. Readers need to LOVE it, react with SHOCK, or use the LAUGHING reaction. This shows positive user experience and will help your organic reach. Comments also boost your reach and GIF’s give you the highest ranking in the algorithm.

You CANNOT tell users how to react. In other words, you can’t say things like “Love this post and...” or “Comment below and…” Those phrases will suppress your reach because they are considered engagement baiting. What you should say is something like, “Leave me a heart and…” Engagement baiting includes words like COMMENT, VOTE, REACT, SHARE, TAG.

Sales posts on your page and in your group should be less than 20%. Facebook doesn’t want an abundance of “buy my books” posts because they don’t create meaningful interactions.

Authors should reduce takeovers or change how they are phrased. The word TAKEOVER is being suppressed. Instead, have a PARTY, an AUTHOR GATHERING, or EVENING ENTERTAINMENT. Reduce the number of admins in the group. Again, this goes back to admin responsibility. The group admins should be you and only one or two other trusted sources.

Create Group Rules within Facebook (not just pinned in the announcements or written in the ‘about’ section of the group). They set the tone for the group and gives you something to point to if someone is not following the rules. It is your responsibility to make sure everyone is on the same page, or you risk losing your account with no recourse.

Link your group to your page. Facebook is going to be coming out with features that are specific to business pages that have groups. Be a conversation starter in groups. Earn the badge. It shows you are creating meaningful conversations. Readers are like you. If you like to see something on Facebook, chances are that they will like it too.

Understand Facebook Community Standards and know that it’s a robot screening your content. It’s important to work within those rules in order to be present on social media. Understanding and following these standards will help boost you in the algorithms and help your ad approvals.

Newsfeed is shrinking. Stories are merging with the newsfeed. Messenger is being favored. Take the time to look through all the available options in Messenger. Messenger is soon going to be separated from the desktop, meaning it will be its own entity. WhatsApp and Messenger will be contained and can be used for direct selling. Remember, Facebook is moving to “the future is private.”

Ads are targeting new avenues. You can no longer have a small budget for Facebook ads and expect it to be successful. You need to understand targeting or you’ll be wasting money. Start testing ads in other ways that are not on the newsfeed.

Going LIVE is no longer on Facebook’s radar as an organic algorithm piece. If you didn’t go live often before, this is good news for you. If you are one who utilized it a lot, you’ll need to find other ways to boost organic reach.

Links in posts can be determined click-bait, or something that flags the Click Gap Signal. The Click Gap Signal is a measuring of inbound and outbound link patterns of a site that is being linked out from Facebook. Facebook will reduce the reach of a post if the number of clicks from Facebook is higher than it is in other areas of the internet. In other words, if more people are going to your website via Facebook versus an organic Google search, your post will be considered click-bait or spam. Facebook will suppress it and/or shut down your account. While that might not be true, that’s what the algorithm will see.

Facebook is tracking the link funnel. This means Facebook will follow where the link is going. This could also trigger the Click Gap Signal. Authors should send people to their newsletter or their website, as opposed to Amazon or iBooks. Here’s why: Your website is controlled by you. If a reader clicks on your Amazon link, they’ll find your books, your reviews, and your bio. You might think everything on your Amazon page is completely in line with Facebook’s Community Standards (no naked covers, no foul language, no erotica, etc). However, also-boughts and sponsored books leading to another book that DOES violate the Community Standards is also being analyzed. If the Click Gap Signal happens to fall on a page with questionable content, your reach is suppressed and your ads could be denied (even if you have no control over sponsored Amazon ads on your page). What’s more, the Click Gap Signal can flag you for the reviews on your books. If a reviewer uses negative keywords, bad language, etc, your reach will be suppressed.

Facebook now has the ability to scan images for content that violates Community Standards. Be careful with those erotic book covers and steamy teasers.

Groups deemed harmful on Facebook will be shut down. As per the statement put out by Facebook “…we identify and remove harmful groups, whether they are public, closed or secret. We can now proactively detect many types of violating content posted in groups before anyone reports them and sometimes before few people, if any, even see them.” This is a reaction to the New Zealand Massacre. Unfortunately, some people in the romance book world are being targeted by this based on keywords found by bots. They are losing their groups and their accounts are being shut down. Hence the reason why authors need to monitor group content and understand the Community Standards.

Sharing is not caring. Sharing from your page to your timeline/newsfeed is against the Terms of Service. By dropping your page link in a Sharing is Caring post, you are putting yourself at risk to have your account shut down. Sharing posts made on a page you are the admin of is also a no-no. Facebook wants page content to stay on the page. However, if a reader (a non-admin of your page) shares a post from your page, the complete opposite happens. This boosts your ranking in the algorithms. Facebook views this as positive content because a reader cared enough about the post to share it. If someone comments on that readers shared post, you get an even higher boost.

Don’t limit yourself to one platform. Stories, groups, Messenger, and ads are where you need to be on Facebook, but you should also be on other platforms. Move readers away from Facebook to other areas. Spread out your reach. You shouldn’t build your entire business on one platform that you have no control over.

Peer-to-peer networking is now bigger than ever. Authors should utilize each other.

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