Monday, October 19, 2015

What would Facebook Do? The ultimate key to organic Facebook reach that no one is talking about- Part 2

This is a continuation of my post about Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm and how it uses facial recognition software to fine tune what content escapes your page and into a user’s newsfeed. You might want to take a minute to read about this here.

In this installment, I’ll share what I believe to be the true key to organic reach and engagement on Facebook.

Following is a list of 5 strategies that I employ for many of my clients and which I have seen success with in the past.

1. Increase your postings.

As a Facebook page manager, I’ve had the opportunity to see the effects of the latest newsfeed algorithm changes across a variety of different-sized pages. The pages with the higher numbers on them seemed to be affected much less than the pages with lower numbers.

Pages whose posting strategy remained unchanged with regards to times and frequency seemed to see a dip or flat line when it came to page reach and engagement, whereas the pages who increased the frequency of postings on their pages saw a steady growth in engagement and reach.

Increased postings are hard when you barely have time to schedule just one post a day, but the truth is, you might not be reaching your full potential.

Remember in my last post when I mentioned that Facebook has to decide which of the 3-5 posts that go out on your favorite Page it will show you in your newsfeed (if any)?

Well imagine if it was just 1 post a day. Chances are you wouldn’t see that post but once a week perhaps.

Now imagine if that page was posting 10 times a day.

With more posts and times to choose from, Facebook now has more opportunities to slip at least 1 of those posts into your newsfeed when there is less competition from other sources.

An easy test will be to simply double your postings for 1-2 weeks to see what happens.

2. Vary your content type each day.

In all of my other client’s cases, we saw increased reach and engagement, especially if we varied all of the posts by content type:  video uploads, links, graphics and just ordinary status messages.

Videos are also a huge hit on Facebook right now. You’ll get more views by uploading it to Facebook, even if your video isn’t that popular on YouTube, because that is what Facebook wants, more people watching videos!

3. Check your insights each week.

If you really want to think like Facebook thinks, then you have to determine what your audience is engaging with and give them more like that.

I recommend you take screenshots of your Facebook Page Insights "Overview" screen each week, rather than relying on the actual arrows to tell you how you’re doing. Pay close attention to your overall reach numbers, and actual Engagement numbers (as illustrated).

If you do it on the same day each week, you’ll be surprised to see that the arrows really are not showing you a week’s worth of progress.

You should also go to your “Posts” screen in your Facebook Page insights, and sort all of your posts by the most engaging.

Look down through them to see if you can find similarities: colors, text (message), objects, etc. Make a list of all the similarities that you notice and use this as a guide to selecting your content moving forward.

Of course, you can repost content, and you will see high engagement on previously viral content that has been re-posted, but the numbers never really reach the original levels of engagement, in my experience.  It’s better to try and improve on your numbers by finding similar content, but not the same exact content.

Do this every week but also try to put new content out there so that you don’t get stuck with Facebook showing one content type. It would be a tragedy to paint your audience into a “blue with white stars” corner (as mentioned in my previous blog post).

4. Check best posting times on Facebook. 

I love how social media consultants are always trying to figure out if they should be posting during “high posting times”. It’s funny because Facebook tells each page manager the best posting times and days for THEIR audience and believe me, it IS different for every page.

Don’t assume you should post on Tuesdays and avoid Saturdays just because someone said that is the most active time overall.

Remember, we are playing in Facebook world, so what would Facebook do?

If your page insights say your best posting day is on Wednesdays at 4pm (this is when your followers are on Faceook), then post your most important content during that time.

Look at each day and see what time it peaks and then post in those times. Facebook is using this data and so should you.

5. Use the audience analyzer in your Facebook ads manager. 

Your page insights will show you data on your followers such as age, gender and location, but the Audience Insights gives you even more data on your audience. If you really want to think like Facebook thinks, then you need to have a look at the data that is showing here and forget whether or not it’s accurate because it might not be.

The truth is, the “interest profile” of your audience is what Facebook is working with and is located in its newsfeed algorithm. This Audience Insights tool basically gives you access to the data it has, based on your page followers actions and online activity that they choose to share, and it’s what Facebook uses to determine what content will get seen when you post it.

For example, let’s say you are an author and you see your audience is primarily women between the ages of 44-65. That says a lot, but when you look at this same audience through the analyzer, you learn that 80% are married and home owners.

Suddenly you realize that if you offer up content catering to parents (funny kid graphics) or pet owners (cute pet videos), Facebook will find it very suitable to this audience and push it out more than if you had posted pictures of someone playing golf.

What does it all mean?

Hopefully by now you can see how it's possible to use this data to manipulate your content into more user’s newsfeeds organically.

Caution is warranted, however, because eventually this system is set to collapse in on itself due to closed nature. Remember the blue background with white stars conundrum?

If all we do is keep giving audiences what we know Facebook will show them, then we can’t ever get this audience to engage in other content. This can make it harder and harder to come up with new ways to reach them without having to ad more funds to your marketing budget for ads.

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