7 Ways to Beat the Facebook Algorithm
You will not be surprised to learn that Facebook saw a 76% increase in people using its platform at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Many of us faced a significantly higher proportion of time at home with an unprecedented amount of time on our hands - no socialising, no eating out, no clubs, and in many cases, no work - so we turned to social media platforms to fill the void.
Despite this rise in use, the organic reach of posts shared on Facebook business pages continued to dwindle during lockdown and beyond, with most posts now only reaching 1.6 – 2% of page followers.
1. Ask followers to add you as a ‘see first’
Your followers can add you to a list which flags to Facebook that they are interested in what you would do and would like to be shown all of your posts. Let your followers know that they can do this and how:
• On Facebook: followers need to go to your page, click the three dots in the top bar, go to ‘follow settings’, select ‘see first’ and then ‘update’
• On Instagram: followers need to go to your profile, click on ‘following’ and either ‘add to close friends list’ or go to ‘notifications’ to request notifications when you post
2. Reduce your outbound links
Facebook wants users to stay within the platform, so will now penalise your post if it contains an outbound link, so try to minimise the use of these in your organic posts where possible.
3. Timely interactions
Know when to post (use the page insights section in Facebook to discover the best traffic times), and if you’re posting daily, then try to share at a similar time each day.
4. Be targeted
Make use of Facebook’s new ‘news feed targeting’ option to target your post to those you know will be interested. This optimises your likelihood of engagement, and the more engagement you get, the further your reach.
5. Encourage engagement (but avoid clickbait!) and interact with your followers
The more engagement on your posts, the further the reach, however, Facebook is now diminishing reach for requests for users to tag or interact with posts. It’s important to note, however, that there is low tolerance for clickbait type posts.
6. Spend on social ads
Ensure that your social plan includes some paid advertising. A little bit of budget goes a long way in social advertising, and when you start to spend on Facebook and Instagram advertising, you may start to notice that the reach of your organic posts improves too.
7. Avoid promotions, giveaways and contests
The subject of giveaways on social platforms is worthy of a blog in its own right, but the most important thing to note in terms of reach is that Facebook is now penalising posts for being overly ‘salesy’ and this includes organic posts that encourage people to enter promotions without any context. You can no longer ask users to share your post, post on a friend’s timeline, tag people in posts or change their cover photo to enter a giveaway. Instead, ask users to comment, tagging friends in the post or checking into a location.
The Good News
The good news for smaller businesses is that part of Facebook’s overall goal is to limit the reach of ads for larger businesses and make room for small businesses.