Based on information gleaned from News Feed optimization service Edgerank, the Facebook algorithm that decides which stories appear in each user’s newsfeed, of 50,000 posts by 1,000 Pages, organic reach per fan has steadily declined as shown below:
Feb 2012 = 16%
Sept 2013 = 12.60%
Nov 2013 = 10.15%
Dec 2013 = 7.83%
Mar 2014 = 6.51%
According to WordStream founder Larry Kim, Ogilvy, an international advertising, marketing and public relations agency based in Manhattan, cites anonymous “Facebook sources” as telling community managers they can expect Facebook organic reach to plunge to absolutely nothing in the foreseeable future.
Early this year, Ogilvy found Facebook’s organic reach is just 6% for the more than 100 brand pages they evaluated, with large pages over 500,000 followers seeing just a 2% reach. These numbers are rapidly in decline. Content marketer Miranda Miller suggests the bigger your brand, the more you’re being pressured toward paid content.
In order to level the proverbial playing field, Larry Kim provides 13 tactics to beat the Facebook algorithm and help you get your fan engagement back.
18 Maneuvers to Help You Beat Facebook’s Algorithm
1. Share Great Content
The old adage remains true – (quality) content is king. (Sorry about the cliché, Elisa.) If you post awesome content, your chances of being liked and shared increases, boosting your presence in Facebook news feeds. Many of Facebook’s algorithm tweaks are aimed at weeding out what Facebook deems “low quality content,” like memes. For greater reach, opt instead for quality content from news sites. It’s a bit bourgeois for Facebook to assume CNN articles are always classy and memes are always pond scum, but we don’t get much choice in how Facebook adjusts its algorithm. My suggestion? Ramp up on your own original high-quality content with e-books, blog posts, white papers, etc.
2. Use Facebook Ads
With organic reach down, now is the perfect time to experiment with Facebook advertising. Facebook has revamped their ad system to be easier than ever to use. Paid Facebook ads can appear right in a user’s newsfeed, seamlessly blending with organic posts while boasting better reach. Give them a shot and see how they perform.
3. Extend To Other Social Networks
Integrate your Facebook marketing with other social networks – post pins, tweet, etc. Facebook has become crowded, with organic space steadily shrinking. There’s tons of competition and it’s easy for your content to get buried in users’ news feeds. Explore greener pastures by delving into newer social media hubs like Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Google+. Don’t let Facebook be your crutch.
4. Time To Get Personal
Personal account posts tend to show up more in news feeds than business page posts, so why not take advantage of your staff members? Most of them probably use Facebook, so get them liking and sharing your company content. All is fair in the Facebook wars.
5. Import Your Contacts
If you have a big email list, you can import your contacts (up to 5k names at a time) and invite them to join your Facebook page. A higher number of Facebook friends means that your content will reach more people, despite lower organic visibility percentages. The more the merrier.
6. Post More Often
Increase your chances of appearing in news feeds simply by posting more. Get the odds in your favor! Posting 4-6 times a day increases the likelihood that one of those posts will get a bite.
7. Share Exclusive Content
Make your Facebook posts count by sharing exclusive content users won’t find anywhere else. Publicize flash sales, special discounts, contests, etc.
8. Pay Attention To Analytics
Since organic Facebook marketing has become significantly more difficult, it’s time to start paying careful attention to your analytics. You don’t need anything too fancy – Facebook’s own analytics can show you which posts perform better than others. See what kind of content drives the most engagement with your followers. Do they respond to videos? Which articles do they click on? What topics get them excited? Look for trends and then replicate for success.
9. Go Multimedia
Don’t rely solely on text posts. Image and video posts perform exceedingly better than text posts. Share YouTube videos, Pinterest pins, and Instagram pics on Facebook. With Facebook’s buyout of Instagram, it wouldn’t be ridiculous to think that maybe Facebook is giving preference to Instagram pics over other pieces of content. Nothing official on this of course, but it doesn’t hurt to amp up the Insta-posts just in case.
10. Leverage User Generated Content
If you’re not making much of a splash on Facebook these days, at least make the attention you do get worthwhile. Take advantage of Facebook as a source of user generated content by hosting photo contests, video contests, etc. You may not get as many entries as you would have in Facebook’s glory days, but the user generated content you do get is golden. User generated content can be repurposed and used elsewhere in blog posts, testimonials, and other marketing materials.
11. Engage With FB Fans
Drive fan engagement by asking questions and encouraging fan response. Try caption contests, fill in the banks, and other posts that drive user interaction. In return, it’s your job to follow suit by responding to their questions and comments and interacting with fans whenever possible.
12. Give Your Page A Makeover
Make the most of the fans that interact with your Facebook page by using a powerful cover image. Try using the Facebook cover photo as a call to action.
13. Reach Out To Other Community Managers
Firstly, a disclaimer – this last workaround might be considered “gray hat,” but it can work very well if handled correctly. To boost exposure for your business pages, reach out to and forge relationships with one or two other community managers in similar industries and agree to like each other’s content. Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable doing that, ask your employees to like one update per week – the increased post engagement will improve post visibility.
14. Establish a Posting Balance
Don’t post too often, but often enough to make sure your content is fresh and original. The idea is not to overpower your audience, while also making sure they remember you. In other words, find the right balance.
15.) Include hashtags on Facebook
Your post can be found under a specific hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, and also on Facebook. Just don’t include more than two hashtags, otherwise your post may appear spammy and decrease your reach.
16. Avoid The Hard Sell
Avoid over zealous attempts at promoting your brand, otherwise your posts will have a smaller reach. Limit your posts to relevant topics, trends, and tips.
17. Compel Engagement
Create questions that compel your fans to engage. For example, prompt fans to click “like’ if they are stimulated about a post, or have them “Fill-in-the-blank”. Likes and comments increase the Affinity Score between each fan and your page, boosting how many fans see your status updates.
18. Include Trending Topics
The Facebook Algorithm responds to posts that include trending subjects. That’s why it is important to keep current on trending developments, and not schedule your posts too far in advance.
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