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Facebook changes the newsfeed rules. Again.

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I recently shocked the attendees at my social media seminar when I told them that posts on which users comment different variations of “congratulations”  tend to rank higher in our news feeds and stay there longer.  Why?  Because Facebook’s algorithm recognizes that this usually signifies important events in our lives-  new babies, weddings, job promotions and big news. 

The algorithm is complicated and it changes often. Facebook recently announced another change to its method for selecting and serving us content.  With the new update, Trending topics and time sensitive content will receive preference (albeit not necessarily a huge advantage.)  In Facebook’s official words it means that “when a friend or Page you are connected to posts about something that is currently a hot topic of conversation on Facebook, that post is more likely to appear higher up in News Feed, so you can see it sooner”

Though this change will be rolled out slowly and might be barely noticeable to a consumer,  it provides an opportunity for lifestyle businesses to increase their exposure by posting about current events (when relevant to your audience) as they happen.

That said, it’s hard to trick Facebook (or Google) for very long.  They hire the best tech minds in the world and they’ll always be a few steps ahead of us. Their main goal (other than pro ducting revenue) is to get us to come to the site often and to stay there longer.  To do this, they have to keep us interested with content we care about.  This has often meant showing us more content from our friends and less from pages we follow. The only way to do well on Facebook business pages is to “keep producing great content that is relevant and resonates with (your) audience.”

Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About FB Star Ratings (That you didn't even know you had.)

Star ratings on Facebook aren’t exactly new.  They’ve been around for about 11 months (which in Zuckerberg years is more like 11 years.)  Somehow, there’s very little written about them online. Here’s my roundup of observations and their implications for small business. 

  • The numbers are seriously inflated. Unlike yelp, who filters out reviews it thinks are fake, Facebook doesn’t filter any reviews.  This leads of lots of friends rating each other and inflated scores.  What does that mean?  You might as well drop the 4. in front of your score.  a 4.2 might as well be 2/10 and a 4.8 is essentially an 8/10.   So don’t get too excited about your 4.5 because it’s actually not a very impressive score. 
  • Only public ratings count toward your total.  If you are trying to increase your rating from a 4.4 (a 4) to a 4.7),  you’ll have to ask a lot of friends to rate you 5 stars to counteract a few low ratings.  But make sure your friends know that if they don’t set their review to public,  it won’t do anything to help your star rating average. 
  • You can’t get rid of a bad review. Unless Facebook considers a review to be spam or abusive,  there’s very little you can do.   You can like it, comment on it or enlist your friends to help you bury it with more reviews but that’s about it.
  • You can remove the star ratings altogether but that has implications.  If your reviews are so awful that you’d rather  remove the ratings feature entirely,  it can be done.  (At least for now,) if you remove the map functionality of your page (by removing the address),  you’ll also disable the star rating feature. Customers will no longer be able to check in to your business and graph search won’t include you in geographically targeted results.