By now you know that Facebook is almost always pay-to-play. While this is true, it does not mean that you can ignore the platform for marketing. It is incredibly effective, and although organic reach and engagement rates have been declining since 2014 (it had dropped to 6% – a decline of 49 percent from peak levels the previous year). In 2018, organic reach levels had dropped to 1.2% and organic engagement dropped to an average of 0.6% in 2017. That does not mean you have to give up.
How to Increase Organic Facebook Engagement
Plenty of brands are able to pay to advertise to reach their desired audience. Other brands – particularly small businesses – don’t have the budget or don’t have the time and know how to make this kind of investment. Don’t panic. Organic reach is not dead, it dropped – but if you are a smart marketer, you can still earn those eyeballs organically.
What is Engagement & Why is it Important?
Facebook “engagement” essentially consists of three components:
Comments and shares are the most valuable and carry the most weight as legitimate forms of reach, but it is not as simple as it seems.
Post engagement plays a large role in WHO sees your posts because it is a major factor in Facebook’s algorithm. The formula determines whose News Feeds your posts get displayed in and ultimately, how many users you’re able to reach.
Facebook values comments on posts that come from conversations between Facebook users. Particularly if they are friends, so trying to gain the system with unnatural comments won’t work. We’ve outlined 14 different tips to help you get more Facebook engagement so you can increase your reach and actually see an ROI from your efforts.
14 Tips on Increasing Facebook Engagement
Use Engaging Images, Particularly Videos
Photos get more engagement than text posts, but videos (particularly videos that are uploaded natively to Facebook) get the most love from Facebook. Why? Facebook is competing with YouTube. If you create a video it will be prioritized over other types of content.
Besides format, keep a few other things in mind:
Keep images clean & easy to read & understand
If possible, share photos of your customers at your place of business or using your products. Tag them and you will see engagement skyrocket.
Green and blue-grey are the two colors that perform worst on Facebook.
Bright colors like aqua, bright red, navy, and chartreuse work best.
Landscapes with little activity don’t perform as well.
Share Exclusive Discounts and Promotions
This still works. Offer special deals and perks to your customers to keep them interested and to drive sales. Just make sure to make the deal actually enticing. When you craft your posts, include call-to-actions with links to the most relevant page on your website.
Post on Sunday
Sundays are great days to post, followed by Saturday. Thus, posts on Saturday and Sunday will get more engagement than on the weekdays, people are home, relaxing, and they will have a little time to browse Facebook without thinking about work. Grab them while they are in this state and you increase your chances of engagement.
The more interactions on a page, the more the algorithm will work in your favor. Make sure you reply to each interaction individually. While you’re at it, personalize the responses. This will build a personal relationship with the commenter and possibly transform them into a brand ambassador. Ask your audience to share their thoughts and feedback on your product and services. This is another way to listen to your customers and improve your business. Posting content that shows you took their feedback into consideration can build customer loyalty and show you value their ideas. There are a few things to keep in mind here:
Geo-location – if your business is local, Facebook wants to see that locals are engaging. It tells their algorithm that the content is good for people in that area and will serve it to more of your fans in that area.
Get conversations going – Facebook values conversations between people on the platform. If you can craft a post that gets people talking to each other, Facebook will send your post to more newsfeeds.
Timeliness – Speed of engagement matters. The quicker people are commenting and talking to each other after you post, the more the Facebook algorithm will kick in in your favor.
Remind Fans to Share
This one can be tricky since Facebook does not want you asking for favors on the platform. However, you can be really smart about how to craft your posts so that you can get people to share your content. Sharing doesn’t always have to originate on Facebook. Make sure to optimize your website to make sharing to Facebook easy for your audience.
Post Regular, Fresh Content
If you don’t put in the time to maintain your Facebook page, it will do little to nothing to help your business. When using Facebook as a marketing platform, a considerable amount of time is required in monitoring feedback posted to your Facebook Page, and keeping your page updated with fresh content. You can’t expect to get likes if you leave questions unanswered and fail to encourage conversation. Use a social media scheduling tool to schedule your posts and then make sure that either you or someone on your team is ready to monitor the action around it.
Get People to Engage by Asking Questions
People want to have their voice heard. This includes your customers. So go ahead, ask for their opinion. Need some ideas? Here goes:
Ask customers to help you name a product
Ask them to describe memories and moments associated with your brand.
When Skittles asked fans to describe the moment they opened a pack of the candy, the post received over 5,000 interactions. Keep your questions simple. Relate questions to specific consumer lifestyles, such as where or how they use your product. Monitor your customer feedback on Facebook posts and comments, Twitter mentions and emails to find question topic ideas.
Fill in the Blank
Use a short sentence with one word missing to generate a significant amount of comments, likes, and shares. Pringles used a fill-in-the-blank post to connect their chips with a relaxing summer holiday. A bonus of this tactic is that Pringles got a snapshot of their fans’ product preferences by monitoring the comments. Use fill-in-the-blank posts as a two-pronged engagement tactic: interact with your online community and get to know them better for future marketing campaigns. Use the post tactic in conjunction with a specific event, such as a summer holiday or a family ski trip. Awkward or funny situations get people to engage on a more personal level.
Don’t Use Hashtags on Posts
Posts on Facebook that include a hashtag receive less engagement than those without hashtags. Although hashtags serve to categorize content on Twitter and Instagram, they impair engagement levels on Facebook, so just leave those out.
Increase Engagement By Posting Images via Instagram
Instagram is a Facebook property, as such, Facebook prioritizes Instagram posts that are shared directly from Facebook to Instagram. It’s super easy to use too, just takes one click.
Get Your Team Involved
So…remember how we spoke about engagement. Get your team ready. Have your co-workers who are not admins of the page ready to engage EACH OTHER on your posts as soon as they come out. Your co-workers are probably similar to your target audience and in your geo-location – so they are a great sample audience for the Facebook algorithm to clone.
Best Time to Post
There is NO one best time to post. Seriously. You need to dive into analytics to find the best posting time for your brand or business. Then, you need to test posting immediately before, on the dot, and right after. Keep testing until you figure out the time that gives you the best results.
Only Upload Source Videos on Facebook
Publishing videos directly to Facebook will get you the most engagement. Do not share links from YouTube or other video sites.
Short Post Descriptions Get the Most Interaction
The shorter the description you write for your post, the more your interactions you will get. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, people on Facebook have short attention spans and want you to get to the point, so do it…and do it in 50-140 characters.
How to Manage & Grow Your Social Media Accounts
Socialdraft is your all-in-one tool for Social Media management. Socialdraft allows you to:
Schedule posts to multiple Social media accounts including Facebook pages, Twitter Accounts, Instagram accounts, Pinterest Boards & LinkedIn business pages
Have multiple people create and post content (and let you control what gets published)
If you have been thinking about taking advantage of social media to grow your business, the odds are very good that you’ve looked seriously into using Facebook to help make that happen.
Facebook is the Titan of the social media space, and one of the most frequently visited websites on the planet. Combine that with the wealth of information than the Facebook platform has been able to gather about pretty much anyone and everyone, and you are talking about an advertising and marketing super tool you simply cannot ignore.
Without increased Facebook engagement rates on your pages, profiles, or Facebook content, you won’t enjoy all of the significant benefits that this advertising solution brings to the table. That’s where we come in with this quick guide. By taking advantage of the following 7 tips you will dramatically increase engagement on Facebook.
7 Tips On How to Boost Facebook Engagement in 2016
1) Create Engaging Content
It is going to be absolutely impossible for you to create better engagement on Facebook without first creating content that is actually worth engaging with. A lot of people try and throw everything they can at Facebook to see what sticks. Instead, you need to create content that the Facebook community – and your market specifically – is going to be interested in sharing with the rest of the world. Interesting, exciting, and consumable content is the name of the game. Use tools like Buzz Sumo to see what your audience is talking about, play with Buzzfeed type titles, and throw in a few memes to lighten things up.
2) Include Calls to Action
You have to motivate individuals to take the necessary action you want. Think of ways to rally your audience and make them part of something. You could ask you fans to comment on your product in 20 words or less and reward the writer of the best 20 word slogan with a gift. You get the idea. The Facebook Call-to-Action button also allows you to focus attention on a video placed on your website or blog from your Facebook cover image.
3) Showcase Your Brand’s Appeal
Abandon corporate speak and transition to the kind of writing and content that really showcases what your brand is all about. Show off your specific personality, engage with your market on a personal level, and leverage everything that Facebook offers to increase your engagement rate. If possible, allow your fans to go behind the scenes of your company with a (video) peek at something they haven’t seen.
4) Quickly Respond to Comments
With every year, more and more customers are choosing social media to reach out to brands because of the perceived immediacy social media brings. More people are also posting comments about brands on their own feeds. In one survey, 53% of Twitter users expect to hear back from brands within an hour of tweeting, and 72% when the tweet involves a specific complaint. Customers now expect quick customer service on all social media platforms, and when people receive a fast responses, their connection to your company is deepened, making them more likely to make purchases from you in the future.
5) Use Videos
Videos are very successful on Facebook. If you do featured video and regular short videos you will garner lots of views and engagement. Last year, Facebook’s video traffic reached 4 billion daily views, making it YouTube’s first real rival in online video. You can also add playlists on your Video tab so you can manage people’s video experience.
On Facebook, featured videos are placed above your About section and appear larger on your Videos tab. Featured videos have to be enabled by Facebook for your account. Go to the Video tab and see the button to Add a Featured Video.
6) Educate and Entertain
Do research and create entertaining and educational content related to your brand that will contribute to, and heighten the awareness of your fan base. Most people enjoy reading about little known facts related to a product they may purchase. An objective fact about a product genre will contribute to a product’s credibility. For example, if you’re selling oranges you could include informative information about the wonderful benefits of Vitamin C.
7) Create Content For Your Target Audience
Determine the demographics associated with who is most likely to purchase your product, and then target your content to that audience. This info will provide you with a basic understanding of who your prospects might be. Once you’ve done that you should structure your Facebook pages accordingly. Consider asking your fans what they like and don’t like about your Facebook account and make adjustments.
To appeal to your target audience on Facebook:
1. Log into Facebook
2. Scroll to the bottom and click on the link that says “Advertising”.
3. On the top right hand corner click on the icon that reads “Create Ad”.
4. If you do not see Targeting Options, you might need to fill in step #1 which tells you to Design Your Ad. Just fill it in with jargon and then click next to get to the Targeting Area. Here you are able to set up your Facebook Ad Campaigns and determine how many users you can target.
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.
How to Manage & Grow Your Social Media Accounts
Ultimately, you need to stay active on Facebook and post great content. Socialdraft is your all-in-one tool for Social Media management. Socialdraft allows you to: