For businesses on a tight budget, working on your Facebook organic reach can be tough. One day you’re told that photos should be included in every post and the next, that click-bait headlines work. The issue isn’t that what you’re posting is wrong, it’s that the Facebook News Feed is constantly changing its algorithm and it’s up to the social media manager to keep up.
Keep in mind that Facebook will likely continue to prioritize user content (your friends) over Pages’ content. But we think these nine tips will help you increase your organic reach in a user’s feed.
A Brief History of the Facebook Algorithm
During Facebook’s early years, EdgeRank was an internal ranking system that was used to prioritize the posts that appear in a user’s News Feed. It personalized your News Feed based on your relationship with others, actions taken on posts and the time relevance of posts.
EdgeRank is no longer referred as such internally but these factors are only three of thousands of factors, weighted in various ways. It’s evolving on a near-daily basis and is unique to each user’s preferences.
As a social media manager, you can learn more about Facebook’s News Feed from their VP of Product Management for News Feed in the video below. You can also keep up with their News Feed changes through their blog.
1. Incorporate Video Into Your Facebook Strategy
According to a 2016 Quintly study on Facebook video formats when comparing native to YouTube, native videos received a 109.67% higher interaction rate and 477.76% higher share rate.
As you may conclude from the study, post format matters. If you have the original video, it’s best for your Page’s engagement rate to upload the video rather than to post a YouTube video link.
After trying out a few videos, make sure you take a look at how they’re performing organically.
2. Go Live on Facebook
Different from video posts, Facebook Live is a feature that is still underutilized by Pages. According to Facebook, users spend 3X more time watching Live videos than non-Live videos. They’re considered a separate content type and more likely to appear higher in the News Feed.
One way to use Facebook Live is to broadcast from an event or conference like NASA did in the example below. If someone is monitoring the comments, you could ask for questions from the audience to further the engagement.
Broadcasting Live also works well when if you want to go behind the scenes or be more personable in your posts. PAWS Chicago used Facebook Live to briefly talk about the dogs they had available for adoption. Despite the short video, it still received high engagement in shares, reactions and comments.
3. Share From & Tag Other Facebook Pages
Take a moment to tag other Pages in your posts when relevant. For example, if your restaurant is using eggs from a nearby farm, tagging the farm’s Page not only notifies them of your post but also gives them content to share. It’s a win for everyone.
In the below post, Standart was the Page that was tagged, further improving the organic reach of Industra Coffee’s photo post.
4. Create an Ambassador Program
Building up your own brand ambassador program or influencer marketing program means you’ll likely have user-generated content that you can use on your own Page. Structure your program in a way where you know you’ll either be receiving content and/or that the ambassadors will be posting about you.
If you’re hesitant about creating a whole program, start small by sending out free product to be reviewed. Share their posts on Facebook and maybe even incorporate them into your advertising strategy.
5. Recycle Your Blog Posts
While not exactly specific to Facebook, take some time to develop your blog posts with shareable content, especially those that are more popular and evergreen. You can pull quotes from articles, post photos and even design specific graphics to help you repost your content.
Tales of the Cocktail utilizes this strategy by pulling different quotes for their two posts, posted months apart but still relevant to their audience.
Sharing blog posts onto your Page has secondary effects of establishing your authority in your field and letting your audience know that the blog exists. If your content is high quality and relevant to others in your field, it also becomes useful for other Pages to post.
6. Aim for Quality Over Quantity
“A Dog and Cheetah Meet and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!”
How many articles with sensationalist headlines have you scrolled through and fallen for? Facebook recently focused their News Feed efforts on reducing clickbait headlines at the post level.
High-quality and informative headlines will win the News Feed. This echoes into other types of content, too. A beautiful photo will catch someone’s eye more than one in poor lighting. If you’re posting only to have three posts a week with no focus on quality, then your audience will notice.
Informative doesn’t have to mean boring. Yanko Design describes exactly what the watch does without sensationalizing it.
Beyond standard engagement rates, take a look at how people are responding to your posts. Is a certain type of post driving people to hide it or Unlike your Page? Sometimes people Unlike a Page because the posts are no longer relevant but they could also Unlike because certain post types are just not resonating.
And with Sprout’s Facebook analytics tools, you can actually track and monitor metrics like unfollows, unlikes and organic and paid likes.
7. Narrow Your Audience
If you have a widespread audience, try narrowing your audience down by interests or geography. Facebook (and Sprout) gives you the option to set these preferences and restrictions per post. While this may initially narrow your reach, it may increase your engagement. Think of it as fine tuning the relevance to specific Fans.
A good use case of this is if you’re a national company that hosts events across multiple cities. Those in Cincinnati might not care that you’re hosting an event in Miami. Restricting the audience to only the Cincinnati fans means that you get to serve the post to those who would care about it the most. This increases the likelihood of higher engagement on those posts.
8. Create a Group for Your Facebook Page
For some Facebook Pages, the option to create or link a Group to your Page is now available. It’s a fun way for your Fans to interact with each other and another avenue for you to directly converse with them.
To see this in action, check out HBO’s Facebook Group, “Big Little Lies Official Group.” It’s linked directly on the Page under the Groups Tab and HBO is listed as an official admin of the group.
Take time to post in the group and respond to comments. It might not be direct engagement on your Page itself but the Fans involved will appreciate and notice your commitment.
9. Consider Using Facebook Ads
Sometimes a Boost is all you need to stretch out the reach of a Facebook post. Your ad strategy can go hand-in-hand with your organic growth strategy. If you see posts organically doing well with certain audiences, spend some money to boost it. You might be surprised to see that it might lead to viral engagement.
Experiment and Analyze
Don’t be afraid to test out new strategies for Facebook. If a Facebook Live video failed the first time, ask for feedback on how to improve and incorporate the changes into your next one. If you notice that the sweet spot for your videos is around 30 seconds, start creating videos for that time frame.
Facebook’s algorithm will be different in three months than it is now. But keep in mind that the network will always favor relevant and high-quality posts over any trend that might crop up. Their tweaks to the algorithm regarding click-bait headlines is an excellent example of this in play.
Keep track of how your strategies are doing with our easy Facebook analytics reports. You’ll know from a glance if videos are performing well or if a certain audience is responding to your posts.