Navigating Facebook's Algorithm for Veterinary Practice Success

July 6, 2018

Bill Schroeder, senior vice president of InTouch Practice Communications, explains what you need to know about Facebook's new algorithm.

"An algorithm is a formula that allows a social media site search engine to determine which content is going to be posted where, and to what frequency," says Bill Schroeder, senior vice president of InTouch Practice Communications.

"Algorithms allow for content to be specifically served to specific people at specific times — that's a lot of specifics there. Very often the algorithms are extremely secret. In fact, they're almost always secret and anyone that tells you that they deeply understand an algorithm is probably full of beans and you should run away from them. Sometimes the owners of the channel's Google or Facebook — Zuckerberg in this instance — come out and they will tell you some of the secret sauce behind the algorithm. Well, earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg comes out and he waves his hands up and down and he says we're going to make a drastic change in Facebook, and this change is all centered around bringing Facebook back to its original state which was to create deep, personal relationships between the participants of Facebook. It was started off as a truly social network where people were gathering and sharing their opinions. Then what happened was they realized they needed to monetize it and they brought in businesses like veterinary practices where they could pay for advertising on the space. They had to create this crazy balance between what was organic and just natural and what was paid or forced. They realized that if they put too much paid on there that people would not rely upon the network for a communication platform because all it would be was advertising.

So, Zuckerberg realized that it was reaching that point, and announced that he was going to drastically alter the algorithm so that unless you have deeply personal content within a post, the post most likely won't share. So, what does this mean? You really basically and simply put if you're a practice that is just going on Facebook and typing in, 'Guess what's new at the practice today,' and if you expect that post to hit within your followers, it's probably not. Zuckerberg came out and said that the posts would have most value if there was communication within the post by those that were liking, sharing and commenting on the post. What I mean is that for instance if you and I were both fans of ABC Animal Hospital, and ABC Animal Hospital posted this really great article about canine influenza and you and I were, within the post, having a conversation in the comments about that, it would more than likely upgrade the post to one of higher value and show Facebook and its algorithm that it had really good content because it was causing discussions within the post. That post would then more than likely be served up.

Further admissions that Facebook made was that if you were just a practice that's going out there and posting over and over and regularly but no one is interacting with the post, they find that that post content, or the content that you're putting out there on a regular basis, doesn't have any value because nobody's liking, sharing or commenting on the content so they are going to be less than likely to serve the content.

So, what's the solution? Unfortunately, it's pay-to-play. And in order to do so you need to structure an appropriate paid Facebook campaign that allows you to create really good content, create a full structure behind it and then pay for Facebook to display it across your network."