Facebook Must Dos
The right tactics can help your posts cut through the social media clutter
Just because you keep an active Facebook page with regular updates of entertaining content, follow the best practices, and have attracted hundreds, or thousands, of followers, there is no guarantee that your updates will appear in front of your followers. Facebook is constantly updating its series of algorithms to improve the relevancy of posts for its users and filter out irrelevant content.
This can make it increasingly difficult for businesses to reach followers. A recent study from Ogilvy & Mather showed that the reach of a post in 2014 was just 6 percent—down from 16 percent in 2013. But with the right tactics, you can increase the chances your posts will beat the odds and stand out in a crowded News Feed.
Engage Followers, Fast
Facebook’s algorithm puts a lot of stake in first impressions. It shares a new post with a small fraction of your followers and if a number of people engage with it, then the post will be extended to a wider audience. Posts that receive a strong early response also enjoy greater longevity. A Washington Post study found that almost half the content appearing in News Feeds is old posts.
But, if you create a post and it gets little response, it dies on the vine, making it vital to create content that is likely to touch followers quickly and inspire an immediate early response.
To help get an early burst of interest on Facebook, work to get your employees and others connected to your company to like and share your company’s posts. Consider tagging others who appear in a photo or video, or who might be interested in the content, which will also help give the posts added reach. Along the same line, consider tagging other pages to help your post show up for those searching specific topics or subjects.
According to Facebook, there are four key factors that increase a post’s News Feed visibility:
- How often you interact with the friend, page, or public figure (like an actor or journalist) who posted
- The number of likes, shares, and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular
- How much you have interacted with this type of post in the past
- Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post
A few other tactics that will help get you in followers’ News Feeds include:
Reference trending topics. Trending topics, about current events and figures in the news, which appear on the right sidebar of the News Feed, can help give posts an extra amount of attention, according to Facebook.
Share link posts. When you want to share a link to another article or video, click the Share button directly on the page you want to post, rather than copying and pasting the URL into your status update. These links have been found to enjoy greater visibility than links shared as a status update or in photo captions.
Use video. Video has become an increasingly important part of Facebook, and if you embed video directly, instead of posting a link to a video, it will play automatically when users scroll through their timeline—a great eye-catcher. Facebook seems to be making a push to encourage more video posting, and the amount of video posted in the News Feed has increased 3.6 times over the span of a year, the social media service recently reported. So it's a good time to add embedded video to your social media mix.
Go beyond self-promotion. Facebook announced last fall that it would be reducing overtly promotional posts from members’ News Feeds. The site’s algorithm suppresses clickbait and spammy posts, such as posts that include “like,” “comment,” or “share.” Facebook also suppresses posts that receive negative comments or are frequently repeated. This makes it more important than ever for businesses to keep their content aimed at interacting with and engaging followers, rather than selling their products and services.
Bryan Kratz, digital marketing coordinator for Natural Alternative, a privately owned natural and organic lawn care product company, follows what he calls the “70:20:10 rule,” which means 70 percent original content without a sales pitch, 20 percent shared content, and 10 percent self-promotional posts with special offers and information about new products.
Assess Your Impact
Review metrics to see what is receiving the highest levels of comments, shares, likes, and clicks. Facebook Insights can tell you what days most of your fans are online, and even what hours are best for reaching them. Post a variety of different types of content (photos, video, plain text) and at different times of day to see what seems to work best.
And of course, stay up-to-date. Facebook is constantly fine-tuning its algorithm, so keep an eye on announcements through the company’s newsroom and other helpful, frequently updated resources. What is true on Facebook today can change tomorrow.
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