If your business relies on Facebook for social media marketing, you’ve probably noticed a drastic decline in organic reach over the past several years. In other words, your posts aren’t displaying on your followers’ news feeds as often as they used to.
According to Statista, Facebook posts have an average engagement rate of only 0.07 percent, though post type and follower counts affect engagement rates. For example, Locowise found that photo and status posts get more engagement and that posts with fewer than 10,000 followers have the highest engagement rate at .31 percent.
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Unfortunately, if your social media marketing efforts center on Facebook’s organic reach instead of paid advertising options, your sales may be impacted. For marketers, Facebook’s algorithm updates mean it’s time to diversify your marketing strategy and maximize the resources at your disposal. Here’s what you should know.
Consider the 5:3:2 rule in your social media posts to better engage followers. For every 10 posts, five should be valuable outside content, five should be relevant proprietary content, and two should be fun and entertaining.
What do Facebook’s algorithm updates mean?
Facebook’s algorithm ranks content based on three primary criteria:
- Who posted the content: If the Facebook user interacts with the poster (whether an individual or a business), more of this poster’s content will appear.
- Type of content: The user will see more of the content types (video, photos, text) they interact with.
- Post engagement: If many people interact with a post, it will be more visible to others.
If two or more of the above factors apply, the content’s visibility is multiplied.
Facebook aims to prioritize posts from a user’s family and friends. However, it also considers an organization’s engagement level with its followers. For example, if a business continually provides content that fosters interaction – comments and shares – its future posts are considered high quality and will have a better chance of making it into users’ news feeds.
Notably, Facebook allows individual users to help customize their feeds by adjusting the algorithm to their preferences. The following actions will affect what they see:
- Users can “favorite” up to 30 people and pages. When a user designates another user or page as a favorite, their content will appear higher in their feed.
- Users can decide what not to see. Users can hide posts, snooze a user, remove a user from favorites, or hide ads to “downvote” their content and see less of it.
How can marketers use Facebook to their advantage?
Marketers can no longer reach thousands of users simply by posting updates on their business’s Facebook page. Today’s Facebook marketing strategy must become more multifaceted and nuanced. Consider the following advice for using Facebook to increase brand awareness and boost user engagement.
1. Use your Facebook page more proactively.
Facebook has experimented with various algorithm changes in the past. For example, for a time, news feed content became tilted toward public content amid video content marketing and viral news trends. To rein in this tendency, Facebook’s algorithm began seeking to push posts from family and friends to the top of users’ News Feeds. This decreased the chances of public content appearing in the feed, which isn’t helpful for businesses trying to reach their audiences. However, when users follow a business’s Facebook page, they will see more of its content.
To use your Facebook page more proactively and boost engagement, consider the following tips:
- Invest in page likes. Advertising that generates page likes is one of the cheapest forms of proactive Facebook marketing. Allocate money to ads specifically for page likes so your content will appear in followers’ feeds.
- Analyze the Facebook content that works. Evaluate your content and rate what catches fire – and what gets ignored. Audit your page’s posts to determine what sparks engagement among users. Focus on creating the same winning content, and experiment with improving these posts.
- Make meaningful Facebook content. Relevant and helpful content always trumps gimmicky material. By creating meaningful posts that drive conversation, Facebook’s algorithm will be inclined to push your content up the News Feed.
- Leverage Facebook Reels. Facebook Reels is a short-form video content platform similar to TikTok. Users tend to enjoy and share video content more than text content. Reels videos allow you to entertain users, start trends, use fun filters and effects, add music, and more. Innovative and fun content is sure to get noticed.
- Lean into Facebook Stories. The Facebook Stories feature is an excellent promotional tool. These user-generated photo and video collections give inside glimpses into your operation and are a great way to stir engagement.
2. Don’t use engagement baiting on Facebook.
Have you ever tagged someone after seeing a post with a call to action that says, “Tag a friend who is (insert funny quote here)”? While it may be fun, Facebook is enforcing stricter measures to eliminate these “engagement bait” posts (i.e., posts with the sole purpose of driving up engagement to trick the algorithm). This also includes posts that ask users to comment, share, vote and react.
In place of engagement baiting, consider the following:
- Strategize to create interesting Facebook content. Remember, content is still king. Make your posts significant and interesting enough to drive users to share them organically.
- Focus on your Facebook audience’s needs and wants. Know your brand’s niche market and focus on producing great material for it. People love valuable information they can use. They also love to share content they find entertaining. Strike a balance between the two.
- Post engaging Facebook content at regular intervals. Facebook tracks the time a user spends on a post. If the algorithm senses that a particular post garners longer viewing times, it will likely be higher on the relevance ranking. Engaging content will help you keep users reading until the end.
- Utilize Facebook Messenger. According to Facebook data, when a Facebook user engages in a live chat with a business, they are 53 percent more likely to purchase something from that business. Make your customer support department available via Messenger to handle inquiries and suggest products.
According to Statista, Facebook – with an active user count of close to 2.9 billion – is the most important B2B and B2C platform for marketers, despite declining organic reach.
3. Consider a paid ad strategy on Facebook.
Paid advertising on Facebook can help marketers drive growth and engagement. Consider the following tips:
- Learn the ropes of Facebook’s advertising system. Check out the Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor to zero in on the Facebook advertising process. Once you understand how it works, create a robust, thoughtful marketing campaign.
- Ask for help from professionals. If you find Facebook ads too technical or time-consuming, hire a digital marketing expert or third-party service to help.
4. Use Facebook groups to generate engagement.
Groups are like mini-communities within Facebook. They’re created by users who share the same interests. One person can join up to 6,000 groups, making Facebook groups an excellent way to connect with your target audience. If you join a Facebook group relevant to your product or service, share information about your business carefully. Emphasize sharing valuable information instead of blatant promotions. Follow the group’s rules carefully and contribute actively.
You can also create a group centered on your product or service and invite users to join. The group can serve as your customers’ support forum and information resource.
To maximize your Facebook group participation, consider the following tips:
- Set goals for your Facebook group. If you create your own group, decide on a marketing strategy to define its purpose. Will you sell directly to members? Will you share valuable information with existing customers? Will your content entertain or inspire members? Defining these goals will help you create a clear marketing strategy and map out your timeline effectively.
- Stay active on your Facebook group. Once you’ve set up your Facebook group, seek relevant and trending content for your members. Post tutorials, conduct Q&As, gather survey data and more. A variety of content will engage your members and help spread your group’s reach.
- Create a closed Facebook group. Businesses with a high-end or exclusive product or those that want to create a tight-knit brand community often use invitation-only, closed Facebook groups. A closed group allows you to focus on your members and create a sense of exclusivity.
Run a Facebook Live Q&A to engage customers, leads, industry insiders and others in a stress-free environment.