How Facebook’s News Feed Works (And Why Dentists Should Care)

By Loran Simon | Social Media

Every day, we pull up Facebook to check the News Feed. Millions of us do it! If you’re an independent dental practitioner, this is good news for your marketing – as Facebook’s News Feed is a goldmine for marketers.

But do you know how Facebook operates? How does your News Feed always seem to come through with stories and news youtend to “Like”?

It’s all about the algorithm, which chooses your specific content – custom-chosen out of several thousand potential stories that COULD appear in your News Feed each day.

Facebook sends them to the “top priority” first few dozen slots – the ones you’ll browse through.

Whether it’s news about your cousin’s marriage – or an article several friends have shared – the algorithm will assess your interest level. This is called “engagement,” and it is golden for marketers.

So how does Facebook’s algorithm identify these plum posts, and determine the order in which they appear? Here are the factors that fuel the selection process:

Who Posted It – If you’ve interacted frequently with the post’s author, Facebook gives that person’s posts top priority. If you’ve spent time reading their posts, commented, tagged them in photos or posts – all those actions are logged and ranked. This is why old friends’ posts don’t show up much.

Popularity – If many people have commented or shared a post, Facebook will likely show it to you, too. As the clicks and comments increase, Facebook notices and distributes that post to even more people. Clicks, comments and shares are the fuel for popularity. Boring posts get lost the mill.

Patterns– If you tend to watch videos, “Like” photos, read news articles or recipes, or share memes, Facebook will send you more posts of that type. If you rarely watch videos, you won’t see many of them in your News Feed.

Timeliness– If an article was posted recently, you’re likely to see it. If you haven’t checked your News Feed in a few days, Facebook will rank the best posts higher, based on your past preferences. Even a cousin’s big new job will appear in your Feed, if you interact with Cousin Jack frequently. Smaller stories will get lost.

Multiple shares/posts – Some posts will go somewhat viral, and that applies to posts from your Facebook friends. If multiple friends have posted the same item, Facebook recognizes it as important – and it will get top billing in your Feed.

For independent dentists, this is good insight for your marketing. It points to why understanding your prospective patients is critical, so you can feed them the sorts of stories they will engage with – which reaps those valuable clicks, likes and shares. At the end of the day, it’s all to drive more clients to your practice doorstep.


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About the Author

After generating more than 85,000 patients for our own dental lab, and for the clients of our digital marketing agency for dental practices, I cracked the code for running successful online marketing campaigns.