Renewed Facebook Community Management Focus Prompts Ranking Changes
At May’s Facebook F8 Mark Zuckerberg spelt out Facebook’s development roadmap for the next two-three years.
One of the key themes was the reprioritisation of community.
Or, if you like, a focus on putting the ‘social’ back into social media.
Since, alas, in recent years, social platforms have become highly unsocial. Rather just billions of humanoids endlessly scrolling feeds watching pointless videos and getting angry at strangers (or family members) with differing views of the world.
Hardly time well spent now, is it?
In the weeks following F8, we have seen the manifestation of Zuckerberg’s vision, with almost fortnightly algorithm updates.
Many of which aimed at getting users interacting more meaningfully with friends, family, Groups and relevant Pages alike.
Community Management or Ads – You Decide?
Broadly speaking, marketers have two routes to appearing in a user’s News Feed.
- Buy your spot
- Interact your way in
Leaving marketers requiring time and/or money, or both.
In other words, if you have no budget for ads, you need to go all in on community management. Alternatively, if human capacity is light on, but you have budget, perhaps leading with ads makes more sense.
If you have time and money, and you wish to maximise results, then double down on both.
If you have neither time for community management or budget for ads, then… well, the game’s probably up.
The easy wins on Facebook ended three years ago.
Now it is be smart or be rich.
There are over 90 million companies on the platform, with 7 million advertisers. Facebook’s not handing out impressions just for showing up in 2019.
Community, Comments and Rankings
Facebook has been skewing to favour posts which drive more ‘meaningful’ engagement, e.g. comments over Likes, since early 2018.
Likes and Reactions, etc. still play a role for users, often used as short-cuts for social proof, however algorithmically they perhaps carry less sway than in prior years.
Hence, some marketers have shifted social copywriting to mimic days of old, dusting off the ol’ fill in the missing blank Facebook posts of 2010.
Not only does Facebook rank content in users News Feeds, but comments are also ranked on posts themselves.
Obviously, the nature and visibility of comments can play a role in driving further community engagement or sadly trolling.
To improve relevance and quality, Facebook is now starting to show comments on public posts more prominently when:
- The comments have interactions from the Page or person who originally posted
- The comments or reactions are from friends of the person who posted
So don't be shy, dive right on in and have a good yarn, like the 'good' old days.
Facebook Comments Ranking Factors
However, to show people relevant and quality comments, Facebook incorporates several signals, including:
- Integrity signals: Do comments violate Facebook’s Community Standards, or are the posts or comments engagement-bait for example.
- What people tell Facebook they want to see in comments: It is increasing user surveys to understand the types of comments people want to see.
- How people interact with comments: This includes signals including whether people like, react to, or reply to a comment.
- What the poster controls: People can moderate the comments on their post by hiding, deleting, or engaging with comments. Ranking is on by default for Pages and people with a lot of followers, but Pages and people with a lot of followers can choose to turn off comment ranking. People who don’t have as many followers will not have comment ranking turned on automatically since there are less comments overall, but any person can decide to enable comment ranking by going to their settings.