Facebook and the Rule of Thirds
The "Facebook algorithm" is a term that gets tossed around a lot in the social media world, but no one seems to be quite sure what exactly it is. Essentially, Facebook has written a complicated set of rules and calculations that ultimately determine what users will see on their newsfeed. Since many users are sharing so much content all the time, Facebook simply can’t show everyone everything. Instead, they use this mysterious formula to calculate what should get shown, and to who.
If you really wanted, you could probably spend an entire week researching different theories about the algorithm, but at the end of the day, Facebook has never come out and told users what exactly the formula is. For all we know, they are changing it all the time. That being said, Facebook has told us one thing about their algorithm, and it’s this: post content that is interesting and of value to users, and it will be seen. We know... that recommendation sounds a little wishy-washy, but if you break it down even further, following this rule can be pretty easy to do.
Ask yourself this: who are your absolute favourite corporate social media accounts to follow? And what exactly are they doing that makes them so great? For us, a local shoe shop comes to mind. The company we’re thinking of has an Instagram account that constantly shares hilarious memes and graphics about things like crappy Mondays, the struggle to get skinny, and the love of wine and pizza – all things that we, as 24 year old females, can relate to (there is no shame in the pizza-loving game). Oh, and occasionally they mix in a post about their shoes too.
This company does an amazing job of putting interesting, valuable content out to their target market. If instead, they only posted information and photos about their products and promotions, we probably would have unfollowed them a long time ago.
The question is: what is the right balance and type of content to be sharing?
The answer: the rule of thirds.
It’s simple. Break your content down into three categories... Personal, Informative, and Promotional, and share them in equivalent amounts.
Personal: This is exactly what it sounds like. One third of your posts should be posts about you, your staff, your customers, and so on. You’ve probably heard it before... people do business with people that they know, like, and trust. If you can get people to know, like, and trust you and your staff through social media platforms, you’re a step ahead of the game. If you can get your users to engage with your posts (through likes, comments, or shares), you’re in an even better position.
Informative: The second category of posts are informative posts. Here, you can share articles, ideas, and stories from other successful people or businesses in your field. Show your audience that you know your industry like the back of your hand!
Promotional: Finally, the good stuff. A third of your posts can be promotional material. Share sales or deals you are having, reasons why your business is better than the competition, photos of your products, etc. This is the category that people often get carried away in, so remember, only 33% of your posts can fall into this category!
Follow these guidelines and over time your reach will increase. Remember, social media is not a catalogue, and for the most part, users can control what they see. If you continuously bore your audience with sale after sale, and product after product, there’s a good chance they won’t follow you for long. Keep them interested and engaged, and Facebook (and their algorithm) will reward you!