How to Be Smarter Than Facebook

If you’re doing your social media marketing on Facebook, you probably find yourself trying to figure out exactly how to deal with its algorithm. After all, the key to having a successful Facebook marketing strategy is understanding how the platform works. The thing is, there’s been a lot of changes to Facebook’s algorithm recently, and dealing with these updates isn’t the easiest thing there is.

You’ve probably heard of brands that have suffered quite a substantial loss in organic reach due to these recent changes to the platform. But don’t worry! That doesn’t have to be the case for every brand. There’s a way to use Facebook’s algorithm to your advantage.

Now, why is this crucial? Because the latest statistics from the Sprout Social Index shows that the platform still ranks first for both marketers and consumers. Additional reports show that marketers have generated greater revenues from marketing campaigns they’ve run on this platform than on other social networking sites. And of course, it goes without saying that most of your consumers, if not all, are already on Facebook.

So, if you want to grow your business, learn Facebook’s new algorithm. Sure, that would mean having to tweak your content and Facebook marketing strategy, but the results you’ll get will make the effort worth it.

But first, let’s discuss an important question.

How does Facebook work these days?

Facebook works almost the same way as Instagram does, which makes sense since Facebook owns Instagram. Basically, Facebook controls what its users see on their feed. What that means is that Facebook doesn’t show content in chronological order. It only shows what it thinks is relevant to a user’s interests and based on their recent activities on Facebook.

What left marketers panicking, however, was the sweeping change early last year, when Zuckerberg himself revealed an algorithm change that tips the scales further in favor of consumers rather than brands. Now, posts from brands are no longer prioritized over posts from family and friends. That means marketers have to figure out a way to get themselves categorized under “family and friends”.

But what changes have happened to Facebook’s algorithm since then?

  • “Why am I seeing this post?”

Facebook has recently added this feature to certain posts and ads, which means brands now have to step up their efforts to make their content relevant to their followers.

  •  Fighting against fake news

Facebook is also stepping up its measures for preventing misinformation. While this does not directly affect brands as a whole, it does tell marketers that Facebook is working on encouraging trust within the platform. So, make sure not to post anything spammy! Facebook will notice and would most likely put you at the bottom of your followers’ “family and friends” list, if at all.

  • Facebook Surveys

To customize each user’s feed according to their interests, Facebook has launched surveys to gather user feedback. This doesn’t mean that Facebook is trying to minimize the chances of brand ads showing up on their users’ feed. What it means is that Facebook is trying to figure out which brands are relevant to the individual consumer. Again, making yourself relevant is key to appearing on people’s feeds, so make sure to get tons of likes, comments, and shares. That way, Facebook will rank your posts as relevant and you’ll show up more often on the feed of those who follow you as well as on their friends’ feed.  

With all these changes, the next question any marketer should ask is, ‘How do I tailor my brand’s content to increase organic reach and engagement?’

Nine key strategies when planning your Facebook content

1. Time your posts right

You need to understand that when it comes to posting content on this platform—and any other social media platform for that matter—timing is of the essence. And even if Facebook is no longer showing posts in chronological order, it is still crucial to be mindful of when most of your target audience is online. When you post at a time when many of your followers are online, your post will most likely receive more engagement which means you’ll increase your reach.

The best way to determine when the best time to post is by checking the data on your Facebook Insights page. This free feature shows what times your followers are online so you can schedule your content accordingly.

2. Post videos—lots of them!

People generally spend more time watching videos than reading posts or looking at photos, no matter how great your shots are. And not just that, Facebook has just recently been ranking pages based on the engagements their video posts receive. So, if you’re not yet into posting videos on your page, you better start doing that now.

You don’t have to spend much just to come up with a decent video to post on Facebook. All you need is a bit of inspiration and a dose of creativity plus a decent camera to shoot with (a phone can work well enough), and you’re all set for making great and engaging video content!

There are different ways for you to incorporate video on your page. You can either post them, or you could go on Facebook Live, which is also a great way to instantly boost engagement in real-time. Facebook Live is a great idea to get your content out there and on your followers’ feeds because once you go live, Facebook notifies your users about it. Talk about free publicity.

3. Encourage discussions with your followers

Post content that would motivate your followers to engage. However, be careful not to post anything along the lines of, “Please comment, share, or like”. Facebook is already smart enough to identify these posts and categorize them as spam.

Instead of ‘begging’ your followers to like your post, what you should be doing is post content that would drive a discussion. For example, why not try doing a poll? Or asking for your followers’ opinions? Or starting a friendly debate? People generally like talking about themselves and their ideas, so this is a good way to get engagement.

4. Encourage your business network to share your content

Most of the time, brands forget to push for brand engagement from their employees themselves. But this is one of the best ways to grow your post reach. When your employees share your content on their respective Facebook pages, their friends (most of whom are probably not yet your followers) would see your post, thereby increasing post reach. Research shows that content shared by family or friends are 16 times more likely to be viewed than those that are shared through paid ads or the like.

5. Link back to your page or anywhere else inside the platform

Instead of linking to an external source, place internal links instead. If you’re into posting a lot of external links, you’re most likely not going to win any favors from Facebook. The platform has always favored pages that post content native to the site, and that hasn’t changed. Think of it, links don’t look appealing, do they?

So, here’s what you can do to improve your marketing strategy. Instead of posting external links, why don’t you opt for posting visual content instead? Or how about a shout out to another page? Or using hashtags? Doing any of these things can do much to boost your page reach.

6. Keep your content fresh

This could be a real challenge. When you’re posting content every day you might feel like you’re out of ideas as to what content to share the next day, or even for today. So what usually happens is that businesses end up repeating themselves on Facebook. They repost the same content over and over again.

We’re not saying that it’s a bad idea to recycle posts. Nope. It’s not that. It’s just that you have to be careful that you don’t repost it the same as when you posted it last time. What we mean is that you have to do a ‘retouch’ for your post. Here are some great content ideas Try to introduce your post from a different angle or a fresh perspective. For example, what you posted as a quote today, you could post as a question the next time. Or, you could repurpose content. For example, you can turn a quote into a graphic using Canva. Or you could turn a blog post into a tutorial video.

7. Start discussions in different Facebook Groups

In 2018, Facebook Page reach reportedly dropped to an all-time low at 2%, which is why marketers have scrambled to look for a new way to engage their target audience. The answer? Facebook Groups. People tend to engage more in Groups than in Facebook Pages, which is why some marketers find it more effective to start conversations in Facebook Groups rather than on their business page.

8. Target your social content

You don’t want to target everyone. The wider your market segment is, the more likely you are going to miss your mark when trying to come up with content they could relate to. Find a niche instead and focus on drawing their attention with well-thought content. You can control who will see your post on Facebook, and in this case, you can use that to your advantage. Don’t worry about narrowing your reach, what you’re aiming for is getting a high level of engagement instead.

9. Pay for ads

Sure, you could boost your Facebook reach for free by strategically posting content and engaging with your followers, but there is no denying that Facebook ads can do so much as well to boost your content. Does it work? Statistics show that Facebook ad campaigns do. That is why 93% of marketers are using Facebook ads, and that number is bound to go up soon.

When you take all these nine tips and put them into action, you’re going to see real progress in your Facebook performance. So, don’t be afraid to try these out. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.


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