Social media marketers have relied on Facebook as one of their most stable platforms, largely due to the site’s overwhelming popularity and the ease of setting up business pages. In one interface, organizations can easily post, schedule updates, monitor progress, post ads, and view analytics to analyze user data and improve the reach of their content marketing strategies.
However, over the past few years, Facebook has been gradually introducing new updates and algorithm changes that have interfered with some marketers’ strategies. For example, some of Facebook’s so-called user experience improvements have driven organic reach for brand pages down by nearly 50 percent, with some large brands seeing as little as 2 percent reach.
What does this mean for your brand’s Facebook presence? It means the posts and updates you publish on your Facebook page aren’t being seen by your followers as often or as visibly as they used to. The news feed algorithm is starting to drift away from brand page updates, so in order to maintain your relevance on the social network, you’ll have to adjust your strategy.
In this article, I’ll cover some of the ways you can overcome the challenges presented by this new Facebook algorithm.
You’re likely already doing this, but the idea bears repeating. What matters most on Facebook is not the frequency of your posts, but the quality of your posts. Making eight updates a day doesn’t matter if those updates are filler, repeated content, or uninteresting material. It’s better to make one high quality post a day than to spam your users with material of little substance. If you post too often, Facebook will start to ignore most of your updates and only select a few for release in your users’ news feeds. With a quality-focused strategy, you’ll ensure that the posts you do make are more relevant, and are seen by a greater number of users.
There are several mediums available to you, so use a diverse pool of sources to engage your users. Facebook favors posts that contain images and videos, but if you’re making the same type of posts all the time, you might lose priority in the news feed ranks. Facebook specifically looks for content that stands out, so rotate through different mediums to see which ones seem to have the most impact. Videos and images also tend to generate higher click-through rates, so consider using them to attract more people to your website, or to generate more engaging conversations between your users and your brand.
Facebook has actively reduced the news feed relevance of brand pages specifically, not the news feed relevance of individual users. If you’re desperate to get around the brand page nerf, simply take greater advantage of your company’s personal accounts. For example, if an individual user and a brand page post the exact same piece of content, the individual’s post will reach a higher percentage of affiliated users than the brand page. Therefore, if you can, post the same piece of content on multiple personal accounts by asking your coworkers and friends to post it. You won’t be able to see the same analytics insights with an individual account, but you will reach a higher percentage of your user base.
Facebook wants content that users can interact with, and as I mentioned in my previous strategy, it favors content posted by individuals over content posted by brands. Instead of taking your brand content and filtering it through an individual account, why not encourage all your individual followers to post their own pieces of content? You can do this by hosting promotional photo contests, or other calls to action that inspire users to post their own content on your brand page. This not only gives you greater visibility in your users’ news feeds; it also gives you another key chance to interact directly with your users and give them a personal brand experience.
Exclusive offers tend to get more attention than standard Facebook posts. They also have a greater likelihood of getting shared, and as you now know, content shared on individual profiles gets more news feed prevalence than content solely shared on a brand page. Use Facebook as a platform for exclusive deals, such as a discount or a rebate, which users would not be able to find from any other source. Your users will feel grateful for the opportunity, and will be more likely to look out for your posts. They’ll also want to share the wealth with their friends, giving you an immediate, news-feed-circumventing path to greater visibility.
This is another strategy you should already be using, but it’s more important than ever to sustain it. Use Facebook analytics to track exactly which types of posts tend to attract the most attention in terms of likes, shares, and comments. Facebook is likely to emphasize the importance of your posts if you attract a high number of interactions—this is one of the ways the social platform measure the relative “quality” of a post. If you can figure out which types of content are the most popular with your users, such as content focused on a specific topic, you can post more of that type and attract more interactions, thereby getting greater Facebook authority and news feed visibility.
If your standard Facebook-based content marketing strategy starts to fail and you still want to capture a greater share of Facebook users, try using Facebook ads. They’re relatively inexpensive, with options as low as $5 per day, and you can use them on a trial basis to see whether they’re worth it for your brand. They’re also easy to create and manage, so you’ll quickly learn whether your ads are doing a good job of attracting new likes and site visitors. Since Facebook likes to make money (and we can’t blame them), it’s likely that organic news feed visibility will continue to drop in favor of paid ad space. It may or may not be worth it, depending on your audience and budget.
Facebook isn’t the only social option for your brand; there are countless other opportunities, some of which are likely more important for your target demographics. Integrate your other social media profiles, such as Vine or Twitter, with Facebook to double your reach without necessitating an independent posting strategy. Or, start moving your efforts away from Facebook altogether in favor of social platforms that allow you greater visibility and more targeted interactions.
Facebook will likely continue to decrease or at least change the presence of brand posts in users’ news feeds, so watch your analytics like a hawk to take note of diminished impact or sudden changes. Facebook marketing, like SEO and content marketing as a whole, is a cat-and-mouse style chase that relies on quickly responding to the latest technological changes. Implement these strategies to stay ahead of the curve—at least for the time being—and maximize your chances of showing up in your users’ news feeds.