Most freelance news media assignments I cover are interesting but some are true learning experiences. That was certainly the case when I recently interviewed one of the worlds leading experts on Facebook. Dennis Yu with Blitz Metrics is now the “go to” network news interview when it comes to needing an expert source on the topic of Facebook. I recently spent about three hours with Dennis on a network news assignment and I made some notes, to share with you here, with just a few of the topics which stand out to me.
First, it’s important to understand the unique algorithm which acts as the brain of Facebook. Simply put, the algorithm uses artificial intelligence to learn as much as possible about you. Every time you click, comment, or like a post or ad, Facebook is also taking notes and keeping track. The idea-to feed you more of what you like. Remember when you first filled out your Facebook profile many years ago? That demographic information is also used to target ads based on everything from your age and sex, religion, hobbies, sports, sexual preference, family background, literally anything and everything is stored and saved and used to feed the Facebook machine. Again, the idea is to feed you more content you like. Advertisers can then use all of that information and hone in on the ideal Facebook targets for their product or service. You click on any Facebook ad, and the algorithm will make sure you see more of those kinds of ads in your timeline. Yes, it is both genius and terrifying at the same time.
Here are some other things Dennis shared which stand out:
Facebook doesn’t differentiate between positive and negative comments. Despite the genius of the above described Facebook algorithm, the app DOES NOT recognize any difference between positive or negative comments. So if you comment on any post, Facebook assumes you like it and will put that post in front of a bigger audience, even if you disagreed with it or condemned it. So, with that in mind, if you do not like a post or ad, the very worst thing you can do is comment. Instead, ignore the post and keep scrolling. Or, you can take it a step further and click on the options on the upper right of the post and you can hide it or unfollow the Facebook user. But any other action on your part ensures more people will see the offending post.
Facebook likes to host your videos. In other words, when you share a link to a video which lives on You Tube or Vimeo, the Facebook algorithm will NOT share your post with as many people as it will if you upload the video directly to Facebook. It makes sense. The app does not want the audience to leave to go somewhere else to watch. That is also why you get the added benefit of a video which automatically plays and previews in the timeline when you upload it directly to Facebook. For the most bang for your buck, post videos directly to Facebook.