Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a string of posts from businesses confessing that they have abandoned their Facebook pages, or are at least thinking about it.
Their rationale is that, thanks to changes in the way Facebook calculates what gets into your newsfeed, so little of their content is reaching their fans that Facebook is just not worth the effort any more (unless you are willing to pay).
So should your business follow suit?
Clearly, for some businesses this is the right decision. But we would urge you not to take such a drastic step until you are absolutely sure that Facebook can no longer work for you. Facebook remains the world’s largest social network, with unparalleled access to individual consumers and with extremely detailed data about them. This is not to be given up so easily!
It is important to understand that just because Facebook is currently not working for some does not mean it is not working for all. Our experience with our own clients shows that it is entirely possible to continue growing your page organically (ie without paying) and to attract significant interaction from your followers even under current conditions.
So what should you do to improve your chances of success on Facebook?
- Until recently, there was common agreement that posting more than once a day to Facebook was annoying for your followers. Now, however, it’s harder to get seen by them – so you should try to post at least twice a day, at different times, in order to expand your reach. (See also point 6.)
- Pay very close attention to your Facebook Insights page, which tells you much about the behaviour patterns of your followers. Most importantly, find out when they are online and post at the right time to reach them.
- Facebook says that it is giving priority to posts which are useful to readers. Don’t be the same as everyone else. Don’t be boring. Use Facebook Insights to see which posts your readers have interacted with in the past, and create more similar material. Don’t shoot in the dark!
- Make sure you ‘like’ your own posts, which immediately increases the likelihood your friends and fans will see them.
- Just under your banner, there are two buttons. One says ‘like’. The other says ‘follow’. Most fans click the former, but not the latter. In order to be more likely to receive your updates, ask them to follow you as well. (Consider, for example, using one of the apps below it to display an arrow pointing at the ‘follow’ button and urging users to click it!)
- If your content is one of the last 50 people/pages a user has interacted with, Facebook will make it slightly more likely they will see your next post. So, if you are going to post a link to your blog that you really want users to click on, why not put up something else really attractive – like a photo or relevant contest – immediately beforehand? That way, everyone who interacts with that will have a boosted chance of seeing your blog link as well.
- Use Facebook Insights’ Reach tab to figure out what (if anything) your users have hidden from their feed or reported as spam – and avoid this type of post in the future. When this happens, Facebook concludes that users do not like your material and hides it.
- If all else fails, consider paying. The reason Facebook changed its newsfeed algorithm is that it wants more businesses to buy ads in order to make their content more visible.
Many people don’t like this because we have become used to promoting our businesses for free on social media, but this is clearly the way in which social media is moving. Other platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn also offering paid ads, although they do not currently penalise businesses who do not use them in the way Facebook does.
The advantages of Facebook’s ads are that you have a wide range of advertising tools from which to choose; and that you can carefully control your budget. If you have even a small pot to invest, this might be the way forward.
What else have you done to increase your reach on Facebook? Let us know in the comments!
Miriam Shaviv is Director of Content at Brainstorm Digital
If you like this post, you might enjoy:
- Why you mustn’t overly rely on Facebook to promote your business
- Is Facebook dying? And should we care?
- Why your company needs a social media spokesperson