Working with Facebook’s algorithm is the topic of one of our most recent Forbes articles.
As originally published on Forbes.com.
Have you noticed a sharp decline in the organic reach of your business’s Facebook posts? You’re not alone. Facebook’s 2018 algorithm change impacted business pages by giving preference to posts from friends and family rather than to pages that Facebook users choose to like and follow. And that change has slowly trickled down to professional pages across industries.
Our agency handles social media accounts for our clients, and we’ve noticed that many of them aren’t seeing the same benefits from Facebook as they were before the change. So how do you get your posts in front of your customers while they’re being shown cute dog photos and videos of children taking their first steps? The easy answer is paying for promoted posts. But if increased Facebook ad spending isn’t in your budget, working within the boundaries of Facebook’s algorithm can help break the decline in average organic reach, which is currently sitting between 1% and 6%.
Start by reviewing your content. Are you selling on Facebook or trying to become a part of the community? Step back from what you’ve posted and ask yourself, “If I didn’t work here, would I find this content engaging? Would I like or comment on this post?” Don’t be afraid of asking co-workers in other departments for their feedback. Sometimes we, as social marketers, get too deep in the weeds and need an outside eye to review and give feedback.
Social media is about just that — being social. If your company is only pushing out sales and promotions, many consumers will quickly turn a blind eye to your posts. And so will Facebook. Spam posts, posts begging for engagement (how many “Like this post if you …” have you personally seen?) and posts that are misleading in an attempt to get people to your website are all frowned upon by Facebook’s algorithm.
Create content that engages your consumers. At our agency, we have a client who is a kitchen remodeler. We always get great engagement when we post photos of different styles of cabinets and ask our customers what they like, or don’t like, about them. Not only is that a wonderful way to foster engagement, but it also gives you product feedback. It’s a win-win. Posts that have higher engagement are rewarded by Facebook’s algorithm and will receive more organic reach, as will your page.
In our experience, text-only posts don’t seem to perform as well as other kinds of posts; they get lost in consumers’ crowded Facebook feeds. Adding images is a helpful way to get people to stop scrolling and read your post. Using video is even more impactful. In fact, research shows that video is the best-performing type of post on Facebook, “generating some 59% more engagement than other post types.” Directly uploading videos to Facebook, rather than sharing links to where they are hosted, can have a meaningful impact on your content strategy, and plays well with Facebook’s algorithm. Don’t shy away from using Facebook Live either. We’ve found that it’s a great way to engage your audience and that it’s good for your page analytics.
Referral traffic was also hit hard by that 2018 change. We’ve noticed the organic decline among all of our clients who post content with links back to their website or blog. To help increase the impact of your referral posts, we recommend dedicating ad spending to them. There’s nothing worse than writing an informative new blog post and having no one read it. However, when attaching ad spending to a Facebook post, be cognizant that boosting a post on your page is best optimized with only a couple of short lines of text, and any image should be less than 20% text.
The most important thing to remember is to create goals for your Facebook posts. Your goals could be getting a certain number of people to click the link to read a new blog post or sign up for emails or getting awareness out about a new product or service.
Don’t forget to check your Facebook Page Insights. These will show you the days and times that your audience is on the platform so you can schedule your content accordingly. Make sure you test different types of posts at different times, analyze the results and find what works best. What is successful for one business may not be for another. Find what works for your brand.