With more than 936 million daily active users worldwide (as of March 2015), Facebook is easily the most popular social network out there. People often use it as a platform for sharing useful information, advertising their products, etc. But do you know that the stuff you share on Facebook doesn’t reach all of your friends and followers initially. It is only visible to a small group of people, and based on their interaction, it may or may not reach a wider audience.
Now let’s take a look at it from the other end. The Facebook News Feed is the one place where you receive all the updates from your connections. It learns from your activities on Facebook, and displays the stories which it thinks is relevant to you. But sometimes, what you actually get on your News Feed is quite different from your expectations. Say, you might be interested in getting the latest tech updates from various sources, but instead, your News Feed gets flooded with unwanted cat memes, and you might miss something important.
Robert Scoble, a blogger and technical evangelist, wrote a Facebook post on how you can make your News Feed better to suit your needs, make your posts reachable to a greater audience, and enable others to discover you. We think that the tips he shared would be beneficial for most of our readers too.
Improve News Feed for relevant content
- Share a few (for example, three or more) posts from someone else about the stuff you’re interested in, and you’ll see similar content on your News Feed. Liking, commenting and sharing others’ posts helps Facebook to identify your interests and serve more similar content on your News Feed. Additionally, if you share some original posts on the same topic, you will see more of it flowing into your feed.
- On the other hand, hide stuff from your News Feed that you don’t want to see. Hiding similar stuff from News Feed helps Facebook to serve less of such content. To hide a post from your Timeline or News Feed, select “I don’t want to see this” from the drop down options of the post menu (top right corner of the post in web interface).
- Putting your friends in either Close Friends or Acquaintances list helps improve your News Feed dramatically. Add someone to your Close Friends list, and you’ll get notifications for all of their updates and also see them on your News Feed. Acquaintances, on the other hand, are your working colleagues, old school mates, etc. – people whom you are less interested about. Add someone to your Acquaintances list, and you’ll see less updates from them on your News Feed. If you still want to see posts from your Acquaintances though, you can access the list from the left side in the web interface.
- If you don’t want to miss out on posts from specific people, without adding them to the Close Friends list, you should visit their profiles frequently and interact with (Like, Comment or Share) their content. You can also create a separate list for these people and visit that regularly. Lists show all content from people included in it, while the main feed only displays filtered content determined by Facebook’s algorithms.
- If anyone posts irrelevant content on your Timeline, you should remove such posts immediately as they might impact your News Feed directly. It’s better if you notify people to seek your permission before they want to post anything on your Timeline.
- If you don’t want to see posts from particular people, the best solution is to unfriend them. But sometimes, you just can’t remove them, even if they are less interactive or post a lot of stuff that is irrelevant to you. Instead, you can unfollow them to stop receiving their updates on the main News Feed. If you want though, you can still get their updates by keeping them in separate lists and filtering the feed accordingly.
- You are generally aware about the stuff going on around you, and might not want to see them on your News Feed. Enabling location access to Facebook Mobile helps you to see less content from your location. It also enables you to use other location based features, like Nearby Friends.
Increase your reach on Facebook
- If you want more people to find you on Facebook, make sure you keep the “About” section updated and make it Public. In addition to that, ensure that you have shared at least 10 public posts related to your interests, before you send a friend request to someone. The person you’re sending friend request to, will get a better idea about you and the type of content you usually engage in.
- Turn off as many privacy options as you are comfortable with. Let people follow you and share more posts in Public. That way, your posts can reach a far greater audience. You can control the privacy setting of individual posts when you update your status and if already published, it can be controlled from the drop-down menu next to the timestamp.
- Post a variety of content on Facebook. That will not only make your News Feed more versatile, but also reflect your dynamic set of interests to others. This might help you to make more friends and extend your social circle with various interests. People usually like to see useful content over a diverse range of topics. On the other hand, repeatedly posting similar content makes you predictable, and sometimes might even lead you to be unfollowed, which seriously impacts your reachability.
- Comment on your own posts as well as others. Engaging in comments encourages others to interact more with you. And with interaction from more people, your posts will eventually reach a greater audience.
- If a significant percentage of Facebook friends do not engage with the your shared content, the reachability of those posts might get affected. There may be a number of people on your friend list with whom you have very little or no interaction at all. It is better to remove such friends from Facebook. This will ensure that your initial audience will have fewer people who do not interact with your posts. And with a better ratio of friends engaging with your content, your posts may reach a greater audience.
- Removing noisy friends may help you to get a better ratio of interactive friends, but having significantly less number of friends may also hamper the reachability of your posts. On an average, you should have at least 400-500 friends. That will help your posts get a better initial boost up, which may be crucial for making them viral.
- It’s better to post using the native Facebook apps, tools and website rather than using a third party clients (like Buffer or Hootsuite). You might want to use third party tools to reach out to your followers on Facebook, without actually being an active user. But unless you’re one, users eventually lose interest on your posts, since there is no real engagement.
- Check your Facebook settings regularly and ensure that they remain the same. This is especially significant for mobile app users, as the app usually reverts to its default settings in case it is reinstalled or installed on a new device. Also, enable security features such as two-factor authentication to minimize your chances to be attacked by hackers.
- If you want to friend someone with, say 5000 friends, you must at least have 50 friends in common. Even if you want to befriend someone who has much less number of friends, having at least 5 mutual friends usually helps. It is always better to leave a message along with your friend request, telling them how you know them.
- On Facebook Web, you can rearrange items on the left of your News Feed to suit your preference. For example, if you like to engage more in lists or groups, you can move them to the top so that you can access them faster. To reorganize the items, just click on the little gear icon next to the particular item, and choose “Rearrange” from the menu. You should now see a hamburger icon on the right side of each item in that particular block. You can drag the icon to move the individual items up or down. When you’ve finished reorganizing, click on the Done link at the bottom of the section to save the changes.
- On the Events page, ensure that you accept the ones you’re likely to attend and decline the ones that you won’t. That way, the event notifications reach more relevant people, which in turn helps the organizers and keep everyone’s calendars relevant. It is recommended to check the Events page regularly to keep your Facebook events organized and up-to-date.
To conclude, you can improve your News Feed and the reachability of your posts in a number of ways. If you know of any other Facebook optimization tips that were not mentioned here, do let us know in the comments below.