Facebook News Feed Algorithm Changes

August 26, 2013
posted by sheric

This is a summarization of a White Paper from Hubspot entitled Crash Course on the Facebook News Feed. If you aren’t receiving info from both Hubspot and Mari Smith on changes to Facebook (because they happen All. The. Time!), you should sign up for their newsletters. Social media is an ever evolving tool and you or someone on your team must be aware of the changes.

The average Facebook user’s news feed  filters through about 1,500 posts a day. After the Facebook algorithm is factored in, only 20% of the stories posted by every page and every person a user follows will ever be seen organically. You know that devoted following you are working hard to build on your film’s Facebook page? You are regularly only reaching about 20% of them in an organic way with your status updates, links, photos, videos etc. Facebook reasoning for this is they want to “curate” what a person sees so that their experience on Facebook doesn’t become an overwhelming barrage of information. In order to be seen in the News Feed (without paying to be there!), we have to share or create such compelling information that resonates with our followers so that they will react in some way that signals the Facebook algorithm that they want to continue to see information from us. If they don’t, EdgeRank (the algorithm) will start filtering it out (without their realization) and we’ve lost them (or we can pay to get our news back in front of them through Promoted Posts).

Affinity+Weight+Time Decay=EdgeRank

How close someone is perceived to be to your page based on their interaction with the posts on it+Value of the post based on how many Likes, comments, shares+Amount of time that passes since the content was posted=How often they will see your news.

Facebook serves up about 300 stories it believes are interesting to each user based on this algorithm. The algorithm looks at the last 50 people/pages each user has interacted with and takes that to mean those are the people/pages the user wants to hear from most. It serves up those posts in chronological order as they were posted. If a particular post receives a lot of interaction (many likes, comments or shares), especially by a user’s friends, it will now bump that post to top of the news feed so a user won’t miss seeing that story.

Facebook also tracks what kind of content a user tends to interact with. If users like many photos, it will start showing more photos in their news feed. MANY people like photos, so start thinking about providing more images on your page post haste! In the new Facebook Insights, you will be able to see which posts have gathered the most Likes, comments or shares. Use that as your guide on what to post. Maybe video is better for your fans. Maybe status updates or links are better. You can read all the studies from test groups that suggest things, but ultimately, your audience is unique and you can see what they like from your own Insights chart.

Optimizing for the News Feed

Since many posts that involve an image receive greater feedback, one of the practices that is recommended is using a photo whenever possible. Rather than posting a link, which pulls in a thumbnail image, try posting an image, and pair it with a link.


hubspot FB example

As posts are now curated, in part, by what your friends and fans like, it is wise to encourage commenting and allow for sharing your content on your fan’s pages. Also, focus primarily on those who comment and share the most on your page because they are your page’s biggest assets. They are helping to insure that your posts are going to be seen in a wider way on Facebook. As a side note: I use a plug in called Booshaka on the pages I manage so that I can see who my top 50 most active evangelists are. Get to know these people! Lavish them with personal attention!

Of course, sharing and commenting only happen if your page has awesome content. It has to have value and be interesting to those fans or it won’t elicit a response. If you are posting regularly, but you aren’t getting many Likes, comments or shares, you need to re-evaluate what you are posting. It shouldn’t only be information about your film. The people you attract have other interests too, you need to find out what those interests are and create/curate material that speaks to what they love. Hopefully that also speaks to the overall identity of your film. Branding isn’t all about a logo or a “message,” it is also about an emotion, a lifestyle, an interest base. Show your fans you understand them, you are part of them, and you are bringing them together under a creative work. You will see more interaction when you walk outside of the bubble of your own work.





continuation of the previous posts about marketing the documentary film, Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance


Social media accounts were started on nearly the first day (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and later Flickr and Pinterest) and daily posts have been made on them ever since. Google alerts were set up at this time so I could monitor keywords and find stories of interest to my audience. Any time the word Joffrey Ballet is mentioned, I get an alert and I have other keywords set up as well. I joined a few Linkedin groups devoted to dance writers and ballet teachers. I have found Joffrey alumni through these groups as well as journalists and those interested in Joffrey history. I also monitor Twitter through columns on Tweetdeck and through a tool called Twilerts and I know when anyone comments on our Facebook page by using Hyper Alerts. We also have  an account on DanceMedia.

The key to building up our following has been consistent posts and watching what people are interacting with. On our Facebook page, old photos of the company always get the thumbs up and the comments rolling in. On Pinterest, I have a mixture of Boards devoted to topics ranging from alumni photos, history of the company, ballets of the Joffrey, ballets commissioned by the Joffrey (choreographed by others), and general ballet related photos. On Twitter, I found getting involved in hashtag conversations has resulted in gaining followers.

Getting it all set up is the easy part, keeping up with it, generating content for these channels, and getting traffic onto the sites is the difficulty and probably the most underestimated aspect of this kind of marketing. I set up a content calendar format to keep track of blog posts, advertising campaigns, promotions we are running with other sites,  screening dates, podcasts I am releasing, digital photobooks I am having designed and releasing, press releases we have sent out or will be sending out, scheduled email newsletters, deadlines for designing/printing/mailing collateral (posters, postcards, flyers) etc. As you can see, there a lot of moving parts to this and we have been generating this kind of effort now for 9 months. I am convinced that it has paid off in the distribution opportunities presented, the amount of screening bookings the film has had and the sales from our website.


Content may be written (blogs and articles), audio (podcasts), photo, video (short clips, more than just a trailer) or links and we utilize all of it. For blog inspiration, I have used a combination of excerpts from Anawalt’s book, interview transcripts from the film, photos we have from the Joffrey archives, and Youtube videos of performances that are already on YT to illustrate the posts when I can. As my guide, I use my own curiosity about this story. What would I want to know more about if I were a fan?  Then I research what we have in assets to put together the stories. Journalistic skills are needed in doing this work. There are some posts that are more housekeeping like highlighting city premieres or the release of the DVD, but mostly I try to expand the story of the Joffrey company through the blog so fans will want to come back and find out more. Too many times filmmakers publish blogs that are one sided (here’s my film, here are photos of my film, here’s my film poster, here’s how we are doing in post) and offer little to no value to the audience. If the conversation is only about YOU, I get bored, so I see no reason to visit again or share your news after a while.

Whenever anyone signs up to our email list, they receive a series of Joffrey Mavericks Moments digital photobooks as a free pdf download. Each installment covers a different theme and showcases rarely seen photos and quotes from Robert Joffrey, Gerald Arpino, company dancers and associates to contextualize the photos and we have released 4 of these. Again, it expands the history of the company and the story of the film while providing an incentive to sign up to our list. List building is highly useful when it comes time to drive traffic to screenings and to your Store page on the website.

Earlier, I said I was trying to find a way to involve those alumni who were not included in the film. I decided that rather than only writing up interviews to run on the blog, I would allow the alumni to tell their own story using their own voices. It is much more impactful and authentic that way. Weekly, I release a podcast audio interview with alumni from all different eras and mostly they aren’t the ones included in the film itself. Some were principal dancers, some were only in the company a short time, some were not principals, but had a good career with the Joffrey, all have stories to tell. I have also gathered stories from choreographers, costume designers and administrative staff. The Joffrey Ballet is 56 years old, it would be impossible to tell the whole story in a 90 minute film. Luckily with the internet, we don’t have to cut out and discard great stories. We just have to find another outlet and, for this, it is the podcast series.  Email list members get a new one delivered to their inbox every week, but anyone can find them on our site and on Soundcloud. I record the telephone interviews and download them to mp3 then I work out the best parts of the interview and write up paper edits, record a voice over for the podcast and work with an audio editor, the incomparable Cameron Ahern, to get them down to around 20 minutes.

Joffrey Maverick Memories podcast series is a living account of the history of the Joffrey Ballet from the people who were there. I took it as a real compliment when one alum said, “You know, our lives as dancers before the internet were so fleeting. Few performances were truly captured, critics reviews only lived for a short time in the newspaper or magazine, photos were taken and put in archives somewhere. There is almost no evidence of what I did when I was young. I’m really glad someone is gathering this together and putting it out there for all of us to see again.” Win win!

Also, when I know an alumni run company or school is having an event or performance, I list those on our social accounts and in our newsletter. We should all benefit by being associated with the film, not treat these people like an unpaid film promotional team. That is what truly partnering with your audience means. Something in it for them, maybe even more than something in it for you. You’ll get something believe me.

Next post: moving from the supercore, to the core within the audience niche of “ballet”