Common mistakes on the ever-changing Facebook algorithm

I am often asked how to grow a Facebook page’s reach, engagement and overall number of followers – but then I find that the advice that is widely available is not widely (forgive the pun) followed. Businesses often get into the habit of promoting what they want to sell, which is all well and good on a website, but not necessarily on social media; Facebook and similar networks open a two-way conversation and you need to show people what they want to see – not want you want them to see.

Month by month, Facebook is becoming more and more complicated to have your content displayed to your followers organically. The changing algorithms widely affect who sees your posts and when, with significant changes applied in recent weeks as I learned from Samantha English of the Marketing Academy for Small Business during an insightful seminar. Facebook are big on research – both quantitative and qualitative. They review their strategies and algorithms on how, why and why people are use the social network. They run surveys asking people what they like, don’t like and want to see more of. And their research has found that users want to see less ‘sell, sell, sell!’ and more content that they are interested in.

It is because of this research that the Facebook algorithm is becoming heavily focused on relevance and specifically your content relevance scores. I’ve broken down a list of the common mistakes made on Facebook that might be affecting your page’s relevance and therefore your page’s results…


Let’s go back to the point of ‘sell, sell, sell!’ – and how it’s not why people use social media. Facebook knows this and realises that if that’s all people see, they’re going to stop logging in. As a result, Facebook will monitor your post descriptions to make sure you’re giving people information that they want to know and not language they want to avoid. Calls to action, such as ‘Buy now!’ and ‘Enter now!’ trigger a bad reaction, and as a result will lower the number of times your post is served.

Your post descriptions are also monitored for spam and spam-like posts, which can often be dependent on the spelling and grammar used in your updates. Shortened language such as ‘Ur’, ‘GR8’ and ‘2moro’ – along with ALL CAPS DESCRIPTIONS and even ‘!!’ and ‘???’ – will trigger a spam filter within the algorithm, therefore limiting your post’s exposure.


What type of images do you use with your posts? Are they heavily edited or contoured to make your products look their best? Are they covered with text to help communicate your message? Are they infographics and created originally in PhotoShop, InDesign or Illustrator? Computer says no…

If you apply any of these styles of images to your posts, you’re reach post reach will not only be lower on this update, but also start to decline on the posts that follow. These images are deemed to be of a lower quality and therefore less likely to be served to your followers because (as a rule of thumb) followers don’t want to see these types of images.


Consider a major online retailer like The Iconic – they sell hundreds of brands across their website but they don’t link you to the Nike or Calvin Klein website because they want you to purchase from The Iconic, and not from the brands direct. Facebook are the same – they don’t want to link you to other websites, because they want you to spend more time on their website.

As a result, you need to be careful when attaching links to your posts as this could also impact your post reach. For example, you might prefer to use a photo attachment rather than a link preview or you could consider uploading your video direct to Facebook rather than linking to YouTube. If you want to take this a step further, Samantha English of the Marketing Academy for Small Business suggests you attach the link to the first comment of your post.


Did you know that Facebook timeline competitions with entry formats such as ‘like our page’, ‘tag a friend’ and ‘share’ are actually banned? You might not know this because you see these types of competitions so regularly – and to be honest, it’s poorly monitored by Facebook. However, competitions can have a significant impact on your page’s performance.

Not only will posts with descriptions such as, ‘Like, comment and share to enter!’ receive lower organic reach, but they could also flag your page as not complying with Facebook’s terms of use and as a result your page could be shut down.

Do you need help setting up or managing your social media profiles? At Myadd we’re content-focused and not ad-focused, and we apply best practice to ensure your profiles are generating the strongest organic results possible. Contact the Myadd team to discuss our digital marketing packages.