Gain Greater Reach & Engagement By Understanding Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm
If Facebook was a city, its News Feed would be the Metro at rush hour, with users desperately clamouring for space and attention. The platform is now fit to burst, with usage at an all-time high. Each minute, 300 new profiles are made, 293,000 statuses are updated, 510,000 comments are published and 136,000 photos are shared. It goes without saying that getting noticed is becoming more and more difficult.
This surge in published content has made life especially hard for businesses. Despite knowing that Facebook is one of the most essential social platforms for a company, gaining exposure in a cramped News Feed is becoming tougher each day.
A study from EdgeRank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook business page dropped from 16% to 6.5%. Another report found that publishers experienced another 52% dip in organic reach after Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise content from users’ friends and families. Today, your reach could be as low as 2%, with many Facebook page owners reporting unusually low figures during September 2017.
How exactly does Facebook’s News Feed algorithm work?
To get ahead on Facebook, you need to understand how the News Feed works. Facebook builds its algorithm around individual user preferences, while taking into consideration the News Feed core values. Vice President of News Feed Adam Mosseri said this of the core values:
• Friends and family come first: Stories from your friends and family appear higher in your feed.
• Your feed should inform: Stories that are interesting and informative to you appear higher in your feed.
• Your feed should entertain: Stories that Facebook finds entertaining to you appear higher in your feed.
• A platform for all ideas: Facebook doesn’t favor sources or ideas. It delivers stories that are most meaningful to you.
• Authentic communication: Facebook will only show stories that are genuine, not “misleading, sensational and spammy.”
• You control your experience: Post features such as “see first,” “unfollow” and “hide” let you choose what you want to see.
• Constant iteration: Facebook is dedicated to continued improvement.
With that in mind, here are 5 simple ways to tweak your Facebook strategy for greater reach and engagement.
5 ways to optimise your business page’s Facebook strategy for increased reach and engagement
1. Promote your content
In Facebook’s current climate, you simply have to pay to get your content in front of more eyes. As with any other marketing platform, Facebook is more successful for businesses who use paid media. When you promote your content, you can reach a greater audience with greater accuracy than you can with organic content. You don’t need a huge budget either – a little goes a long way on Facebook.
2. Quality over quantity
A lot of businesses we meet believe that posting more frequently will help increase their organic reach, but this isn’t true. Posting on a consistent basis is an integral part of building – and maintaining – a strong online presence, but that content needs to be of a quality standard. Never post for posting’s sake – one highly relevant, sharable and visually attract piece of content is worth more than three generic posts.
3. Avoid YouTube – go native
Video content is one of the most effective types of content you can post, but it’s important to use native video rather than sharing YouTube links. Remember, YouTube is a Facebook competitor, so it’s unsurprising that these types of links don’t perform well. Uploading videos to Facebook will lead to higher engagement, as its algorithm takes into account how long people spend watching a video. This works in your favour, as videos autoplay in the News Feed. It’s also important to ensure that your videos make sense without sound, as most users will watch without the sound on.
4. Encourage user engagement
If you want someone to interact with your content, tell them to do so. Ask questions, or better still instruct the user exactly what you’d like them to do. For example, a restaurant could post a video or image of their food alongside a caption that read, “Tag a friend who you’d bring with you.” This should spur a stream of comments with tagged users, increasing reach and engagement exponentially.
5. Keep on trend
Facebook’s trending section isn’t just useful for users to keep up to date with the hottest news topics, it’s also useful for publishers. When people visit Facebook, they expect to see posts that reflect what’s going on in that exact moment. Keep up to date with breaking news stories, events and holidays, and create content that fits these topics. Using an associated hashtag could help you gain additional exposure too.
Getting noticed in Facebook’s News Feed isn’t easy, but creating thumb-stopping content and understanding the algorithm will give you an advantage. If you require further help, Digital Media Team are always happy to talk. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.