The man, the myth, the legend -- Mark Zuckerberg -- came out today to announce changes to the Facebook algorithm to help keep the spam, excessive marketing, and gross salesy-ness to a minimum.
So what does that mean for your Podcast Facebook Group or Podcast Facebook Page?
Fair warning: I'm really just speculating here, but I have a few thoughts, in terms of educational guesses.
I've been studying how the Facebook algorithm works for a few months now, especially when it comes to groups and pages and, these are purely speculative, but I think this is where the algorithm is heading.
When this article says things like "Facebook's revamping of its news feed is intended to ensure more 'meaningful interaction' on the social network" and "We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us," it confirms what I've been finding.
So, what does this mean? Facebook (as well as other social media) is interested in one thing: keeping people on their platform. When Zuckerberg says "meaningful interaction," it means "your friends are posting something [on Facebook], we want you to see it [on Facebook] and respond to it [on Facebook], and keep the conversation going [on Facebook]."
The algorithm noticeably works against posts that use links to places outside of Facebook. Or even scheduled posts from third-party sites like Hootsuite, since they are not using the native scheduling tool Facebook has given to people.
Think about your newsfeed.
What comes up, even from people you haven't interacted with very often? Live streams? Videos (native to Facebook)? Statuses encouraging the use of Gifs in comments? Polls?
There's a reason, and it's because Facebook wants you to use their ecosystem and keep others on their platform. Think about that the next time you post an outside link to your episode and get 10 likes, vs. a 5-minute live video talking about your latest episode that gets people throwing down Hearts and Likes like crazy, and then being watched on replay the next day.
So, how can podcasters take advantage of Facebook?
Well, first off, let's get away from the terminaology "take advantage of" and change the conversation to be more focused on genuine interaction. Interact with the people who Like or Comment on your Posts. Facebook sees that Like or Comment and thinks "Oh! They must be friends! Let's show them more of each other!"
Don't think of people as a potential listener; think of them as a potential friend. Someone you want to know -- you want to know your listeners, right?
Don't steer them away from Facebook. Offer them an incentive to keep the conversation going, maybe even in a DM (but, OK, weird caveat, I've started hearing more people getting in Facebook jail from excessive DMs, so I can't really explain that one).
Basically, when you are starting out as a podcaster, it's easy to be able to interact with your early listeners. Maintain those relationships and always think about growing new ones. Use that Like button. Acknowledge mentions of you or your show. Reply to DMs. Make sure you are acting on those notifications from Facebook reminding you to post in your Groups.