Zuckerberg and Co. like to keep us on our toes.
On January 11, 2018 Facebook flipped the script on the 2.2 billion users – again – when Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will prioritize content from friends and family over brands.
Facebook Admins shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Organic Reach has been declining since 2012, but this announcement essentially signaled the death of accidental Organic Reach.
In short, here is what’s up with how content is ranked:
- Commenting, sharing, and reaching = Heck yeah! Active Interactions
- Clicking, watching, and viewing/hovering = Meh… Passive Interaction
Content Best Practices
In a post-algorithm shift world, you have to give a lot of thought to your content and how to entice people to engage with it. While it’s more work, it’s worth it.
Here are the new commandments of Facebook Content Strategy:
Thou Shalt Not Use Engagement Bait
We have all seen it…those posts with the funny video that say “Tag who this reminds you of!” or “Comment ‘YES’ if you love this.” These approaches were low effort, but made increasing your engagement and reach much easier. Under the new algorithm, this will demote your post. This is great news for Facebook users, but makes the job of Facebook marketers a little more difficult.
Thou Shalt Post Content of Genuine Interest
Instead of trying to game the system, try to post something that would engage the interests of a majority of your audience. Comments are the #1 aspect of the new algorithm, so focus your energy on making people want to engage in this way without baiting. Stellar content and powerful questions will guide users to increase their engagement.
Thou Shalt Record and Share Video
Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019. According to Zuckerberg himself, in the next few years, Facebook could be mostly video. Well, I am sure his investors hope he’s right. After all, video increases time on site and helps Facebook bring in more ad revenue.
Videos are the most shared and viral content on the entire platform. If you are producing non-live video on Facebook, don’t share a link to YouTube, instead upload it to Facebook natively to increase reach. Always make sure to include subtitles in your recorded videos – many users watch videos without sound. Closed Captioning files are easy to make yourself. Here’s a tutorial to get you started.
Thou Shalt Post to Elicit Reactions
Facebook is looking for scalable ways to measure engagement. So, two years ago, Facebook introduced reactions. Likes are still great, but reactions garner more engagement points in the new algorithm. If you want the right kind of reaction, you need to learn to Pre-Suade.
“Pre-Suasion” is Robert Cialdini’s 2016 book that asserts the way we ask a question matters. When a religious cult recruits new members, they often ask, “Are you unhappy?” rather than, “Are you happy?” or the more neutral, “Are you happy or unhappy?” That’s pre-suasion. Using pre-suasion can help you phrase your Facebook posts to maximize engagement.
Thou Shalt Go Live
Facebook Live is a gateway ticket to engagement. Live videos lead to discussion among viewers and get an average of 6x more interactions than a regular video. Here you are going to break the normal video rules, and shoot in portrait mode with your phone, instead of landscape, since the video will likely be viewed on a phone.
If you are going to start doing live videos, consider buying a small tripod to hold your phone. I promise, it’s worth the investment! Your video will be more enjoyable to watch.
Thou Shalt Develop a Posting Strategy
What and when to post to Facebook is a constant struggle for social media marketers. Remove some of the guesswork by taking the time to develop a posting strategy. A posting strategy should include: 1) the types of content your organization will share on Facebook and 2) how frequently you will post. Social media scheduling tool, Buffer, did a fantastic case study on their Facebook posting strategy. In that post, Buffer says by posting less, but better quality content, they experienced better reach.
Thou Shalt Push the Share Button Regularly
Sharing your organization’s post from your personal account is a good way of extending reach. The tip here is to figure out who in your network would be interested in what you are promoting and have the appropriate network to share the content with. If your friends begin to comment and share your post, it will continuously begin to climb in their feeds, increasing the posts reach.
Watch out on overdoing this though as you’ll experience diminished returns when your network sees you as just a mouthpiece.
Thou Shalt Utilize Facebook’s Publishing Tools
Remember that Facebook’s ultimate goal is to retain users and grow time on site. Using their native publishing tools helps them help you. If you have story-type content that doesn’t need to live on your site to be valuable, consider posting it using Notes, Facebook’s in app publishing system. This is a great place to share news or support updates from the boss. They display more freely than other post types.
And if your goal for Facebook is awareness, and not conversions on your site, sites enabled with Facebook’s Instant Articles earn preference on the Newsfeed.
Thou Shalt Have a Meaningful Presence
Don’t get wrapped up into the whole “you need to have an active presence” strategy and instead try to create a meaningful presence. At its core, social media is intended to connect and build relationships with real people. Listen to your community members! Make them feel heard. Your posts should educate, inspire, and create value for your audience.
Thou Shalt Understand Their Audience
Getting comfortable working with your data will help take away the guessing in your content creation and help with your posting strategy. Your Facebook Insights show you the best times to post, your page demographics, and the types of content that increase and decrease engagement.
If you want help understanding what your audience really cares about, Cerkl’s A.I. can help. Cerkl clients enjoy topic level interest data for each audience member, along with organization-wide insights. Wanna see? Let one of our engagement specialists show you how you can save 40 hours a month while increasing engagement.