The beginning of 2018 brought with it major changes for social media managers, especially for those using Facebook. But the platform’s decision to favor content that’s shared, or engaged with, wasn’t a bad one.
Of the Facebook pages that we manage we’ve seen a decrease in organic reach, that’s for sure. But engagement is up. That’s right, from our experience, more and more followers are engaging with posts; reacting, commenting, and sharing the content on business pages. Changes to Facebook’s algorithm means loyal followers, those that have engaged with your business page previously - what some call ‘superfans’ – are seeing the posts in their feeds. And because these are your loyal fans they are taking the time to interact with the posts and page.
In turn, we need to reward these loyal fans with great content. The more engaging the post the faster it will be gain a reaction, share, or comment, which in turn improves organic reach. And, the posts that reach the greatest number of non-fans are those which receive the most engagement from existing fans.
So much of it is about timing. Yes, you may find that your post reaches the greatest number of people at 7, 8, or 9pm but (and this is a huge but) that post may have been circulating people’s feeds for hours and its reach may go even further if there’s been an opportunity for your fans (and non-fans) to engage prior. Just give it a try.
It’s rare that we post text only, so when I say images remain popular I actually don’t have much to compare this by other than knowing, as a former news editor, pictures paint a thousand words and I’ll almost always choose cute babies or puppies for the front cover.
The posts that do the best are the ones that appear spontaneously, or at least in the eyes of our fans. So, if we take the Local First Springfield Facebook page for example, the posts that gained the most engagement over the past month were our visit to see members exhibiting at the Illinois Products Expo, the day after the opening of Free Press Coffee on MacArthur and the Saturday morning we dropped into Custom Cup Coffee and Three Twigs Bakery. What’s also important to note is the pages that we tagged in these posts have a decent following – and most importantly – a loyal fan base AKA superfans, or what I call brand ambassadors. And, what’s even more obvious, is that you can’t fool fans. They know when you’re sharing ‘real time’ content. And that’s key. So, what’s the answer to increasing engagement (and reach)?
- Post about your tribe, whether that be your members, clients, customers, staff, donors, or volunteers.
- Post photos taken in situ; they don’t need to be perfect.
- Share photos of people, places, and pets (but please don’t fill my newsfeed with photos of random dogs standing on their head - it needs to be relevant).
- Tag, tag, tag those you want to interact with, those that you’re confident will interact with you, and those who also have great engagement.
- Be timely, don’t get caught up in needing to post at 8pm because that’s when the greatest number of your fans is likely to see your post. You want non-fans to see your post too … post when it’s time appropriate and allow your posts to gain momentum.
- Sharing others’ content may not gain you much in the way or reach or engagement, but, it will develop a potentially mutually beneficial relationship and … you may even gain some of that page’s fans.
Remember you’re in it for the long run and you have to be able to adapt, quickly, to changes in Facebook’s algorithm. But until the next change, this is what we’re (mostly) sticking to.