Facebook is a great way of engaging with your audience, but Facebook organic reach for business pages has been tumbling for years.
So how do you make sure your content is actually seen by your audience?
The bad news is that there are thousands of factors that affect how the news feed ranks content, but the good news is that I’m going to show you 10 ways that you can use some of these to beat Facebook’s algorithm.
Last year, you might have noticed an even bigger dip in your Facebook organic reach because of changes to the news feed.
I looked at data from some pages with over 500,000 likes and monitored how their Facebook organic reach had dropped. Here’s what I found:
Based on what we’ve seen then, a Facebook page with just 10,000 likes would now achieve an average Facebook organic reach of a microscopic 1%. That’s just 100 people who would see their content!
So why did Facebook change its news feed? Well, there are two main reasons for this.
a) More content is being produced than there is space for, including ads which are competing for the some of that same space.
b) Facebook wanted to make content more about ‘meaningful interactions’ between its users and less about consuming mass media in isolation.
To do well in online marketing you need to bring traffic to your website, and for some organisations, social media accounted for as much as 46% of their web traffic.
So how do we go about getting the best from Facebook? Here are my top ten tactics you can use to start generating better results.
My top 10 tips to master Facebook organic reach
1) Less is actually more
Some people are still posting more than three times a day, but this outdated ‘spray and pray’ method is making Facebook organic reach drop even more.
Facebook will always prioritise posts from your friends and family followed by content that is informative and entertaining before it shows posts from brands.
So instead, you need to be selective about your posts – the better your content performs, the more people it will reach next time, as Facebook will think that your content is popular.
It’s crazy how many business page owners just measure their engagement based on likes and shares. Yes, that’s part of it, but let’s look at some of the other factors Facebook uses when ranking your content.
Facebook launched its News Feed way back in 2006 and since then, they have preferred content that educates rather than promotes.
It’s all to do with matching Facebook’s goal of keeping users fixated and engaged on their platform, and if your content doesn’t do this, then they won’t serve you up higher in feeds.
2) Native content
The images you use should reflect what people expect to see from the platform they use.
Facebook is full of adverts and over-worked branded stock images. It’s no surprise then that natural, real-life images do better, and the authenticity helps you stand out from the crowd.
But there’s also the entertainment factor to think about. Facebook, once an archive for your photo albums, has become a disposable media platform and meme images are all the range.
Look how Nando’s use memes on their organic page to get engagement and get their message across:
3) Encourage engagement
You might have noticed in video posts that Facebook puts the comments with the most engagement at the top.
It’s true, people do love turning up just up for the comments. In your videos or posts, you should ask your audience to comment and tell you what they think.
Be more direct than just using the internet phrase ‘leave a comment below’. Instead, ask your audience to leave feedback on what they think or give a yes or no for a vote etc.
We know people like to tag in friends in posts, like funny videos or promotions, and Facebook likes it more when there is further engagement on comments.
So if someone has left a comment, you should always ‘like’ it and definitely reply.
Also, try to incorporate relevant or trending hashtags in posts to broaden your organic reach and get some more conversations going.
4) See your posts first
If you post consistently well, then your audience won’t mind seeing your posts more regularly.
You can always reach out to them and show them how they change their settings so they see your content first. It won’t send your Facebook organic reach through the roof, but it will definitely help.
For another quick boost, you can also go into your business page settings and activate Audience Optimisation.
This will let you target based on interests when publishing a post, which will be more relevant to your organic audience and so help your content appear higher in their feeds.
5) Engage with video
Video still rocks and the stats prove it. In fact, video is generating 186% more engagement than any other type of content available to us.
Facebook wants to reward those people who keep other people on its platform longer, so it will boost content video posts that are more likely to make people stop and watch.
What’s smart is how Facebook knows which videos we are watching, how long for and even when we click the unmute button.
So, don’t just pump out any old video, if your content has a high bounce off rate, then you will only get penalised for next time.
Instead, use video content that has captions, subtitles and animations to capture audiences.
6) Broadcast live
According to Facebook, people spend 3x more of their time watching live videos and broadcasts compared to all other videos on their platform.
If you want to reach more of your organic audience then you need to be experimenting with live video.
Make sure your videos add value and offer something exclusive, like behind-the-scenes activity to get your viewers interested.
You can always use your other social media channels to generate a buzz by advertising that you’re about to go live.
7) Pay to play
Once you’ve developed some great content, you can give it a little boost to your targeted audiences through some paid ad spend.
This should help drive the engagement up of your most popular posts and help the next content you publish to rank even better.
But don’t always promote the same kind of posts. Include different types of content that will help build your brand, show you as an authoritative figure in your market and, most importantly, show you have a human side.
8) Build a real fanbase
It’s easy to buy 5,000 likes on Facebook for £20 and inflate your audience.
Is it worth it? Hell no.
The rise of influencers is making social media platforms clamp down on those with fake followers. Added to the fact that your organic reach will always be lower with a bigger audience, is there really any point making it your mission to have one?
I’m sure like me, you would rather have a small, highly-hyped audience over a large, unresponsive one.
You can do all sorts to try and beat the system, but it won’t work.
Facebook is smart enough to know when you are running clickbait posts and will just stop showing your content in feeds, leaving you scratching your head.
That’s why it’s not always a good idea to use links in your copy. If you need to add a link, then be the first in the comments and add it in there, you might even get some more engagement from it.
9) Timeless Content
Evergreen content is continually relevant and stays fresh. This can be in the form of a ‘marmite’ question, funny videos, inspirational stories or educational articles.
What I love about this type of content is that you can reuse your popular content from months ago in so many different ways. For example, think of a secret healthy recipe, you can make this into a list of ingredients, tips while cooking, reviews and even instructional videos.
Not only do these content pieces stick around in the timeline longer; they can also reappear days later after someone has engaged with or commented on that post.
What evergreen content isn’t, though, is spammy baiting posts – the ones that ask you to vote, comment, and share. This is the worst example and Facebook will now penalise you for publishing these types of posts.
10) New updates on Facebook
Facebook always likes to prioritise its latest features, it makes sense to especially after they reportedly spent $50M in celebrity deals and advertising to support the launch of Facebook Live.
So, if you’re first to access their new features, your content will be sure to appear higher.
Sometimes it’s not as intuitive to use some of these new add-ons, like Facebook stories, but once you figure out how, you can get easily use them to get ahead of your competition.
If you’ve not done so already, you can experiment with 3D photos, immersive 360 pictures and videos and even get automated with Facebook Messenger Bots.
There’s plenty of new content delivery ways for you to try out and, by trialing different types, you’re sure to produce something that works for you.
If you post consistently well and use video, then the more likely your posts will show up in more news feeds in the future.
Facebook is on a mission to encourage meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.
The platform is here to stay – even after the Cambridge Analytica revelations scandal – and is very much part of my digital marketing rule of 7 – so use my tactics to get the best from your organic audience.
By following these tips, and keeping an eye out for algorithm updates, your posts will rise to the top of newsfeeds.
Please share if you liked this article and add your comments below on anything we’ve missed.
Enjoy even more expert tips and training in our blog or sign up to receive our digital marketing masterclasses straight to your inbox.