There are 293,000 status updates on Facebook every single minute. But with Facebook’s algorithm controlling which of them gets special News Feed treatment, how do you make sure your posts aren’t buried in the avalanche?
Facebook frequently updates its algorithm to ensure its users are presented with the content they are most likely to find interesting and relevant. Many brands have suffered a huge loss of organic engagement as a result, with some suggesting this was all part of Facebook’s plan. Decreased organic engagement = increased spend on FB advertising, right?
It’s true that many big brands have decided to up their ad spend to guarantee social media returns. But organic engagement isn’t dead, brands just have to be a little more savvy to get it.
Here are four steps your brand can take to boost those engagement numbers.
Video has taken over Facebook, we all know this. But what impact does it have on your content?
Facebook evaluates different factors when deciding how much exposure to give a video, such as live video status, engagement based on length of time watched and the number of views.
If the video is watched at least halfway through by enough people then it’ll be classed as ‘compelling’ content and will receive a News Feed boost.
Facebook says that as many as 40 per cent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay. Take a moment to count those three seconds out; not very long is it? But in this age of instant everything, users clearly aren’t prepared to wait even for a very short time for your website to finish loading.
Google has long penalised slow-loading sites, and now Facebook does too. If you suspect your site may not be up to scratch then you need to confirm one way or the other as a matter of priority (and there are plenty of tools available on a Google search if you don’t have a web team).
You can be sure that Facebook will already know, and if your site doesn’t meet their standards then you’ll take a News Feed hit.
The snowball effect. The more engagement a post generates, the more exposure Facebook will give it which means… more engagement. That’s right, popular posts will become more popular if Facebook’s algorithm deems them sufficiently popular to receive an organic boost.
This is because Facebook wants authentic posts to dominate News Feeds. It’s part of their effort to combat fake news and spam, which includes ‘engagement fishing’ – where businesses will ask users to like or share a post.
In announcing the update, Facebook stated: “One of our News Feed values is authentic communication. We’ve heard from our community that authentic stories are the ones that resonate most — those that people consider genuine and not misleading, sensational or spammy.
“When ranking News Feed we look at many signals personal to you, such as how close you are to the person or Page posting, as well as more universal signals like the overall engagement (likes, comments, shares) that a post has.”
So now there’s one less way to trick the algorithm. But as a reputable brand, you weren’t doing that anyway were you? As ever, the best way to generate genuine organic post engagement is to offer your followers something that adds genuine value (entertainment, humour, emotion etc) in as authentic a manner as possible.
Reviewing your content analytics once a month to see where your engagement is coming from should become part of your routine.
Prioritise seasonal and trending content
In this day and age, there’s always something trending – usually dozens of topics all at once. Facebook temporarily prioritise trending content, such as Back to School posts when the kids go back after their summer break. The algorithm will notice that your content may be of immediate interest at any given moment, therefore upgrading you to more user timelines.
Having a social media calendar with frequent trending topics and seasonal trends is essential. Remember, Facebook will show you trending topics on the right side of your timeline, so keep an eye out on how you can get involved.
That said, don’t shoehorn trending topics into your brand’s output just for the sake of it. Pitching your range of lingerie within a Back to School theme, for instance, would be incongruous and inappropriate.
- Your page insights are a valuable free tool to discover trends and patterns in what your followers are engaging with;
- Keep things up to date and current. It’ll be favoured by Facebook and you’ll increase your engagement in the process;
- Invest in your digital presence through video creatives, vibrant imagery and stellar copywriting;
- Prepare a content plan in advance. The more aware you are of what’s coming up, the better your content will be.