The bad news is that Facebook engagement for brands has fallen by 20% in 2017. The good news is that this slump in metrics has re-energized online marketers to put their best foot forward and come up with new, effective strategies for delighting their followers and achieving better reach, engagement and conversion.
Facebook marketing is evolving, and if you want to see your hard work pay off in 2018, you’ll have to explore and adopt new tactics and techniques. Here’s a collection of ideas (that are not Facebook ads) on how to beat the Facebook algorithm and achieve greater organic reach.
Post Facebook native videos
Facebook native videos have an 186% higher engagement rate and are shared 1000% more times than videos posted as links from other sites. Taking the time to publish native videos can really pay off. However, keep in mind that most of Facebook users have their sound turned off, so it’s essential to add captions to improve the watching experience and improve your engagement levels.
Use organic post targeting
Organic post targeting will help you reach the right people with the right message. Let’s say you’ve just added a new product to your online shop, a handmade leather beaded dog collar -- how can you market it? Instead of blasting this promotional Facebook post to your entire following (which can also make sense from time to time), use interest tags to target dog owners and lovers, who would most likely be interested in purchasing this product. You can narrow down the audience even further by selecting Age, Demographics and Gender.
Publish and curate evergreen content
Sharing your best evergreen content over and over again (I’m not saying you should do it every day, just when the time is right) can help you generate more views and engagement as well as drive more people to your site. Remember to introduce your evergreen posts in new and unique ways, to avoid backlash from your followers for bombarding them with outdated messages. Try pulling out different quotes, stats, ideas or examples from your evergreen content to attract different types of readers and keep your feed looking vibrant and fresh.
If you’re doing content curation, look at the best-performing posts that you’ve shared in the past and try to fit them into your schedule again for a second run.
Image source: Digital marketing institute
Create a quiz
Ever heard of Buzzfeed? Then you know the power of fun and entertaining quizzes. The secret of nailing the brief is to know your audience and write for one person. The right idea that resonates with your followers can cause a significant organic uplift in reactions, shares and clicks. And that’s exactly what you’re going for with this type of content. The secondary benefit of running a quiz on your Facebook page is that it gives you a unique insight into your audience preferences, beliefs and motivations. If you manage to craft the quiz questions in a way that’s informative to you and engaging for the user, you might end up with some hard-to-get data insights.
Partner with other brands and influencers
Finding a strategic partner that compliments your brand could be hugely effective. You don’t want to team up with someone who can become your competitor, of course -- it should be a brand in a relevant, but non-competing niche. The purpose of such strategic partnership is cross-promotion. The potential to raise brand awareness, attract new followers and drive more sales is real. The most difficult aspect of this tactic is finding the right partner. You need to look for a company that produces similar-quality content and has similar brand values to match your audience’s expectations.
Make the most of hashtags
Unlike Instagram, Facebook does not run on hashtags. So, while it can be an easy way to join trending conversations, it’s important to not overdo it. The recommendation is to stick to one or maximum two hashtags per message to make your posts focused on the topic, but easier to discover. You can use tools like Hashtagify to discover the most popular hashtags that could give your brand a boost in visibility. Or simply search for hashtags within Facebook’s search bar and among the trending topics.
Try Facebook live broadcast
If you’re not experimenting with Facebook’s live video yet, it’s the right time to give this content type a full-hearted try. Facebook users spend 3 times more time watching live broadcasts than traditional videos, so it’s the ideal tactic to explore if your organic reach is dropping. Live broadcasts can be used for various purposes, including interviews, Q&A sessions, sneak-peeks, and so on.
Cross-promote other social channels
Cross-promoting other social channels on your Facebook page makes it easier for fans to find you on other platforms, too. For example, you could include links to other social sites in your About section or in the cover photo description. Another great way to get your followers’ attention is to add Facebook tabs and show off other social accounts. This can be done via a third party app, such as Woobox.
Entice your followers with special deals
If your content game isn’t particularly strong, you could use a good old promotional tactic like offering followers a special discount, bundles or limited-time offers. Brands that know what their customers love can easily leverage this tactic to create buzz, re-energize their followers’ interest and reach new audiences.
Engage with people who post on your page
If someone has taken the time to write on your wall, make sure you reply in a reasonable timeframe, provide useful information or answer their question. Visitor posts will be visible to everyone, so make sure you use the opportunity to create a good impression. Offering quick, polite and personalised responses will increase your brand’s reliability and appeal.
Injecting fun and excitement into your Facebook strategy certainly won’t hurt your Page’s organic reach. Mini-contests can work wonders on pulling your audience in and generating engagement. For example, fill-in-the-blank, Q&A or caption-this contests are some of the best tactics to get more eyeballs on your posts and ultimately, increase your Page likes.
Get active in the comments section
There’s nothing worse than leaving a comment on a brand’s Page and never hearing back. Showing that you’re engaged and responsive will make your brand more trustworthy as well as encourage other followers to get involved in conversations (or at least read your comments section). A high volume of comments shows fans and potential customers that your brand and products are desired and popular, so always make sure you reply as soon as you can to keep the conversation flowing.
Showcase your products
Let’s not forget that fans are liking your Page for a reason -- they love your products and want to hear more about them. It’s okay to showcase and promote your products as part of the overall content mix. In fact, it’s necessary. The only thing you should consider when scheduling promotional posts is the angle. Always try to look for new and interesting ways how to introduce your offers -- whether it’s tying them in with trending events or topics (e.g., FIFA World Cup, Mother’s Day, London Fashion Week, etc) or simply writing some smashing copy and using high-quality visuals to grab your followers’ interest.
Piggyback on trending topics
Can piggybacking on trends be a viable marketing option? The answer is yes, if it’s done properly. While it’s not something you can plan in advance, you could still potentially jump on this opportunity when it arises, if you’re managing your Facebook Page yourself and spend most of your working day online. Watch Facebook’s trending topics to see if you can contribute to those conversations in any way and remember to use appropriate hashtags to make your posts visible to people who are not your Page fans yet. Here’s an iconic example from Oreo, who tweeted this clever image during the Superbowl blackout.
Interview community members
Depending on the type of business you’re running, your customers and community members might be willing to take the relationship a little further and participate in a live or video interview. I won’t tell you how important storytelling is, but if there’s one thing that can get you out of the organic reach pit that you’re in, it’s connecting with your followers on a deeper level and leveraging the power of word of mouth. Look for customers who love your products and have a story to tell, then put them on camera and let the world hear it!
Share reviews & testimonials
Did you know you can add Trustpilot reviews to your Facebook with the Facebook Page tabs? Trustpilot’s app allows you to display up to 50 most recent reviews on your community’s fan page. Besides that, you can easily share reviews and testimonials posted by your fans directly onto your page. Where sales are concerned, social proof can a long way.
Inspire followers with quotes
Visual content is a feast for our eyes, and for the modern web users, it’s content that’s easy to consume on the go (or while scrolling incessantly through their feed). Now, don’t get fixated solely on images with motivational quotes. While it’s okay to throw in a couple of those now and then, don’t forget to dig deeper and create some truly unique, fresh content, too. It’s likely your followers have seen those inspirational quotes already (on posters, mugs and tshirts), but what about quotes from interviews, personal mini stories, excerpts from less trendy books or research reports? These could really tickle your fans’ imagination.
Double-down on content promotion
Posting more often doesn’t necessarily translate into more engagement. In fact, Buffer have tripled their reach and significantly increased their engagement by focusing on quality over quantity and posting less. Not every type of post is suitable for Facebook. Studies show that the best content for Facebook is either educational or entertaining (Buffer calls it edu-taining), so try to bring more of that to your social posting queue.
Maximise user-generated content through contests
One of the biggest struggles social media managers have to deal with on a daily basis is constantly producing a stream of relevant, amazing content. It gets tough very quickly. Perhaps that’s why many brands turn to contests and giveaways as a way to encourage followers to generate original content. There is, of course, the “What’s in it for me?” question that needs to be tackled head-on, but well-designed contests have the potential to truly uplift your organic reach and engagement as well as top up your content reservoirs.
Over to you
There is no one hack that will skyrocket your organic reach. The only way to boost and maintain your engagement levels is to dig deep into your audience and understand their frustrations, motivations and goals. No user is the same, but knowing who you’re trying to reach will help you determine the types of content and formats that can get that message across. Go for a rich but targeted selection!