There once was a day when Facebook delivered rivers and rivers of traffic to our website. But over time, those rivers began to turn into streams and those streams began to run dry. Getting attention on the world’s biggest social platform is now much harder than before. ‘How to improve Facebook organic reach and engagement? This is a question marketers often ask as Facebook continues to change. Today we’ll share some of my best tips on how you can get the best results. And make sure to stick around to the end. We’re gonna share with you exactly what not to do on Facebook as well!
Facebook’s End of Days
It was on January 11th, 2018 that Facebook had made a major announcement. They decided that they were going to change the algorithm in a pretty substantial way. Basically, Facebook said, “Hey, we are no longer about content. Instead, we are now about meaningful engagement.”
It was clear that this was a sea shift for Facebook. This was a change that was going to have a big impact on everyone in the industry. They pretty much said, “We’re gonna be showing less public content, including video and other posts from publishers or business.” And sure enough, over the next year, Facebook pages began to see drops in their reach and it continued to drop and it continued to drop.
Consequences of the Algorithm Changes
To roll back the clock a little bit, for years many people had been developing a really, really engaged community on Facebook. Folks would go live, upload videos and link to articles, and those links would drive really substantial amounts of traffic to their external home sites.
If your fans didn’t see your content, it meant you were literally invisible to them. And if you were invisible to them, it meant they weren’t thinking about you. And if they weren’t thinking about you, then any news, updates or releases would just pass them by. It practically made all the work invested in developing Facebook fans nearly worthless.
So we had to come up with a brand new strategy. We were not going to do linkback for our content again. Forget the traffic, because that is no longer the objective. Instead, we decided to embrace what Facebook told us was important – meaningful engagement.
Putting the Community First
We came up with a concept to put the community first. And what that meant is that everything that posted on Facebook, would be designed by its very nature to engage the community. To get them to begin interacting with us, and interact with each other in a meaningful way. To create positive sentiment, here are our four best content types.
So one of the first things was moving to text-only posts. And what this meant is we would just post questions or statements as text. For example, “Where’s your favorite place to go on vacation?” And the key to this was ensuring every single comment was responded to. Because we wanted people to feel like they were actually talking to someone, not just a machine that likes the comment. We wanted to have meaningful interactions. This worked well, but we really quickly learned that this was not sustainable for pages with a larger following.
Facebook wants to become the next generation digital streaming television. And they’re absolutely favoring video content in the news feed. A recommended ratio is 70% video, 20% photos, and only 10% links. Links actually get the lowest reach and lowest engagement on Facebook. The good news, you can still put links into your photo and video posts.
Facebook Live gets six times the engagement over regular uploaded video. You can go live maybe once a week, more if you want. But once a week would be a great start.
A Watch Party is where you take any public video, including your own, recorded or live, and you’re basically hosting it for your audience as if it’s live right now. Facebook says people are 800 times more likely to comment on a Watch Party video than if they’re watching the video solo. And, remember, it’s all about engagement. Facebook wants us to create more community and connection through video content.
Next, let’s take a look at our four favourite tips to improve Facebook organic reach!
#1. Post Less Content
This might seem counterintuitive. But try posting less content! People think if they just post more volume, they’ll reach more people. But that’s not how the algorithm works. Facebook wants you to focus on really good quality posts and just slow down a bit. Maybe if you’re posting like three a day, try one a day. You’re more likely to reach your audience and get more engagement on that one post than trying to go with more volume.
#2. Drive Traffic to Your Organic Facebook Posts
Every post on Facebook has its own unique link. It’s the timestamp, the date and time. If you click on that, that gives you the unique URL for that post. Now, you can take that link and post it on Twitter, on your email list, on your blog, LinkedIn and Instagram Stories. And you’re letting people know, “Hey, we have a new Facebook post!” And as you send the traffic to your Facebook posts, remember that more reach, more engagement begets more reach and more engagement!
#3. Integrate Facebook Messenger Bot
If people are subscribed to receive messages from you in their messenger inbox, you can send out reminders and updates. Let them know when you have a new video, a new post or if you’re going live on Facebook. You’ll automatically reach more of your audience!
#4. Allocate Nominal Ad Budget
Now we know this is all about getting better organic reach, so this might be kind of counterintuitive but it really works. You can amplify the organic reach with even a nominal budget, and you’ll see the reach of that post and others start to gain more traction, more reach, and more engagement, even with a small amount of ad budget.
And now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are three things that you should not do if you want to improve your Facebook organic reach. It will absolutely zap it!
#1. Don’t Post YouTube Links
YouTube is Facebook’s biggest competitor when it comes to video, and the algorithms pick up that you’ve posted a YouTube video, and you’ll hardly get any reach. However, you might wanna test this one out. We’ve seen clients with about 25,000 fans yet they got over half a million organic reach on a YouTube video. So sometimes you just never know and you have to test.
#2. Avoid Engagement Bait
This is where you’re trying to cause your audience to engage with you in an inauthentic manner. And Facebook actually listens to your video, including your Live while you’re broadcasting for any of those trigger words. Things like “comment below,” and “please like,” and “please share.”
So think of other ways that you can do that!
#3. Avoid Being Off-Topic
You know your audience best and what they come to you for. So, try not to stray too far from your brand messaging and your brand topics. So, bottom line, to increase your organic reach, Facebook is looking for highly engaging content, specifically video posts and Facebook Live, which are one of my favourite ways to reach an audience!