What are some counter-intuitive tips for social interaction

7 ways to increase your organic reach on Facebook

You've earned your Facebook fans hard.

However, with the recent change in Facebook's algorithm, which now gives priority to meaningful engagement over everything else, you feel like the carpet has been pulled from under your feet. Is it time to write this off and get back to MySpace? Hardly likely.

With 2.23 billion active Facebook users per month, the platform continues to offer a gigantic audience. It may be frustratingly difficult to get their attention without paid ads, but with the right strategies it is entirely possible to maintain and expand your organic reach.

No question about it - the algorithm update makes it difficult for business sites to create visibility for their content. But that also means less competition and greater opportunities for you if you can make the algorithm work for you.

A algorithm-friendly marketing strategy for Facebook is required to create the necessary visibility for your content.

However, before you can start your journey from the wasteland back to the populated areas of the social network, you need to know what you are dealing with.

SEMrush offers numerous tools for social media tasks that ensure automated, planned posting and allow numerous analyzes of your profiles and those of the competition. You can read more in our free e-book. Instagram is also there.

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What is the algorithm update about?

In January 2018, Facebook's newsfeed algorithm turned around. Facebook made it unmistakably clear to marketing managers and entrepreneurs that they had to face a new challenge if they wanted to remain visible in the news feeds.

Although a number of changes had been made to the newsfeed over the years, it was of a new magnitude, as an open statement by Mark Zuckerberg made clear.

In his own words:

"We haveFacebook is designed to help people stay connected and to bring us closer to those we care about. Therefore, friends and family have always been the focus of the user experience. But most recently we have received feedback from the community that public content - contributions from companies, brands and the media - is displacing the personal moments that strengthen our connections with one another ...

We're making a big change to how Facebook works. I'm giving our product teams a new goal so that they focus less on helping you find relevant content and more on enabling meaningful social interactions. The first changes you'll see will be in the news feed, where you'll see more of friends, family, and groups. If we incorporate the change, you will get less public content from companies, brands and media. And that public content needs to be measured by the same standard - it should encourage meaningful interactions between people. "

Now it's all about interactions

Facebook had long used signals such as the number of users who reacted and commented or shared a post to determine the position of the post in the news feed.

With the algorithm update, however, additional requirements have been added that make it more difficult for companies to appear in the newsfeed organically. In addition to giving preference to postings from friends and relatives, the platform hits a predictionwhich posts will stimulate interactions between users. The new Facebook normal is about lively conversations and postings that people really respond to.

This would also clarify the difference between active interactions (commenting and sharing) and passive interactions ('likes' and clicks).

By prioritizing posts from friends and relatives over public content and prioritizing posts that spark conversation and meaningful interactions, Facebook has drawn a new digital frontier.

A big change

This change has not only driven marketers and business owners to the dictionaries to look up 'meaningful interactions', it has also plummeted their organic interactions readings.

This is plausible, because meaningful interactions mean lively connections between people, robust and organic discussions, and feelings of togetherness and community.

Rather, would you like to see the latest photo of your sister's pug? His name is Charlie and he loves his red bandana ...

Charlie, your sister's pug

... or a post in which a company that you no longer knew you would follow announces a new product line that you are not interested in?

A cynic may suspect that the algorithm update was intended to generate higher advertising revenue. But I'm far too busy amusing myself with the latest photo of Charlie the Pug eating a birthday cake to get drawn into this discussion.

Regardless of the reasons for the algorithm update, the days of chronological feeds and easily achieved organic reach are numbered.

We can now mourn the times when things were still simple, but we have a lot of work to do if we want our companies to remain visible. In 2018 that means turning a challenge into an advantage.

But be warned.

Despite moving to a feed that favors friends and relatives, the general metric of 'interactions' continues to play a large role in determining newsfeed positions. In the future, this metric must form the vanishing point on which marketing managers and companies align their Facebook strategies.

You're only saying the obvious when you say that traditional content strategies for Facebook are going to have a hard time in the face of these changes. These difficulties were already being felt. Facebook has already acknowledged that this is a consequence of the algorithm change and has admitted that company sites must expect their "reach, their video playback time and their referral traffic to decrease."

For companies that succeed in increasing their interaction rates, the advantages of authentic contacts and suitable prospects promise good times. On the other hand, pages whose content is derivative, poor in video content, without analytics, which rely on interaction bait or which simply do not succeed in motivating people to interact, disappear into oblivion.

While any algorithm change can feel like the end of the world, there is hope for those who are willing to change in turn. Here are 7 strategies to consider to make sure you are doing the best you can with Facebook's algorithm update.

1). Produce video content

Facebook's own study found that videos attract more interest and trigger interactions than any other type of content. Videos, even if only produced locally, will help you expand your organic reach by keeping the audience's eyes on the subject and, as a result, making conversations more likely.

Video content can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Opinion leadership

  • Corporate culture

  • Product demos

  • entertainment

  • education

  • Testimonials

  • Corporate values

The cosmetics company Dove has impressively demonstrated how authentic and honest video content can cultivate and convey corporate values. According to a recent study by the Harvard Business Review, customers who feel emotionally 'fully connected' to a brand spend on average twice as much on their products as customers who describe themselves as 'highly satisfied'.

The Dove Campaign #ChooseBeautiful was therefore entirely focused on the goal of creating an emotional connection.

In the video below, women had the choice of going through a door that said 'Beautiful' or another that said 'Average'.

Regardless of the tone and style you choose, keep these tips in mind for your next Facebook video campaign:

Include subtitles - 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound. So use clear and self-explanatory visual cues whenever possible. Subtitles provide a simpler user experience and ensure your message gets across.

Make your videos front-heavy - The first few seconds of your video are the most important. By placing your core message at the beginning, you will gain attention and convince users to stick with it.

Be open to change - There are many variables involved in creating videos for Facebook: length, subject, production tools, text, tonality, etc. By being willing to change your approach, you will find out over time what works best for you.

Despite the great importance of videos, it is not necessary to invest entire marketing budgets in the production of high-quality video content.

SEMrush does an excellent job on its Facebook page in celebrating its 10th anniversary with an overview of informative video content that combines the company's values ​​with testimonials and entertainment.

There are a number of ways you can create immersive video content without breaking the bank. A prime example of affordable and authentic video content is Facebook Live.

Mark Zuckerberg recently highlighted the value of live videos in a statement: "Live videos often stimulate discussion among Facebook users - they achieve an average of six times as many interactions as regular videos."

When Facebook Live celebrated its two-year anniversary in April 2018, the average number of daily Facebook Live videos had doubled compared to the previous year. In addition, live videos are viewed three times as long as recorded videos, as they allow customers to come into contact with products and services in real time.

You can use Facebook Live to promote upcoming events, provide behind-the-scenes insights, convey valuable authenticity, and informally make your brand more human.

By creating a Facebook live video, pull the curtain back and show the human side of your business. This is a valuable opportunity. The notifications your fans receive from Facebook when you start a live video give you additional visibility and attention.

You can also use Facebook Live to convince potential customers to invest in your products and services.

Extreme obstacle course host, Tough Mudder, is a good example of a company that has used Facebook Live to ease the fears of undecided consumers and generate interest. The provider was aware that the uncertainty of many interested parties, who did not know exactly what to expect, was the biggest obstacle in the way of registration.

To counteract this, the company produced a live video of a Tough Mudder coach who guides participants through a training area. Now that they were able to get an idea of ​​the offer, many overcame their concerns and signed up. At the same time, the video increased the anticipation of those who had already booked.

With 53,000 views to date, the Facebook live video is a creative solution to arouse interest and motivate participation.

2). Encourage natural discussions

When users comment on your posts and thus start conversations, you have Facebook's new newsfeed algorithm on your side. Unfortunately, it is not easy to motivate people to exchange ideas. Try stimulating questions as starting points for a conversation. Make sure your content and the accompanying question are original and engaging.

If you ask the same questions as everyone else, you can't expect to get people to interact with you. With each post, ask yourself what new perspective you can bring to the topic and make it part of your social media strategy.

Starting a natural discussion on topics related to your brand is an excellent way to use the Facebook algorithm to your advantage. The key word here is 'natural'.

It is no longer enough to just throw out 'bait content'. This type of posting openly asks for tags, comments, or likes to encourage interactions.

This leads to a devaluation of the contribution under the new algorithmbecause such interactions are classified as 'not meaningful enough'.

No longer working: polls and prompts to react and share as bait

Interaction lures like this can still be seen on Facebook from time to time, but that won't last. You drive better if you avoid them.

Imagine that you actually manage to outsmart the algorithm with interaction spamming and appear in your followers' newsfeeds. You run the risk of leaving a bad impression on customers and interested parties who are too intelligent to use clumsy marketing tricks.

While the changes to the Facebook algorithm may initially feel like a punishment, in reality they represent an opportunity.

Companies that manage to start natural conversations on topics of common interest are not fooling the system. They're doing what Facebook is asking brands and marketing to do in 2018 and beyond - be human and inspire meaningful interactions.

Facebook advocates attempts by site operators to stimulate discussion with their content, as long as it is done in a creative way. However, avoid content that will spark heated debates, lead to controversy or even shock users.

Interactions are not equivalent.

A downpour of attention can quickly prove to be the wrong kind of attention as brands try to jump on the latest hot topic for the sake of visibility. Caution is a virtue when a disenchanted or disgruntled audience is the alternative.

Also, don't underestimate the power of direct calls to action. A simple 'please like and share' can work wonders.

Facebook enables its users to see more of the companies they follow by enabling the 'Show first' option in the newsfeed settings. So suggest to your most loyal fans to interact even more with your page this way.

The more conversations you stimulate, the greater your chances of organic visibility.

Propose the 'Show first' option to your loyal fans.

3). Turn your employees into brand ambassadors

There is no secret formula that can guarantee your success under the new algorithm. Facebook is transparent with the demand for content that stimulates interaction. This is key if you want to be regularly visible in your fans' news feed.

While you should always try to increase your audience through customers and prospects, your employees in particular can contribute to a higher organic reach. Because Facebook prioritizes content from friends and family over business pages, you can get more exposure to your posts by turning your employees into advocates for your company.

Your company page is already limited by the number of fans. With the algorithm changes, the number of people who get to see your content organically will also shrink. When employees share your postings on their personal Facebook networks, your visibility is multiplied.

Recent studies show that posts by friends and family are 16 times more likely to be read than posts by brands. This simple step can therefore pay off a lot.

You can make things easier for your employees by creating content calendars for them and motivating them to share. As this allows them to show opinion leadership, develop their personal brand and generate leads and income for their employer, they benefit from it just like the company itself.

4). Post fewer links, but more photos and multimedia

Facebook's goal is that users stay on Facebook for as long as possible.

“Facebook generally doesn't like it that much and tends to reduce the visibility of postings that contain an external link."

- Rand Fishkin, Moz co-founder and SEO expert

You won't be blacklisted just for posting links.But too many links damage your organic reach and the user experience of your fans. By keeping your feed interesting with a mix of content types, you are within the requirements of the Facebook algorithm.

In addition, you create a pleasant and stimulating environment for your fans, who will always find something in your mix that interests them.

It's a win-win.

Since visual content generates 87% more interactions, every posting should have a visual element.

With a slew of free tools like Canva, Stencil, and Design Bold, it's never been easier to become a graphic designer on your own and add something to the eye for your Facebook fans.

When you've added your visual icing on the cake and published your content, be generous with well-placed praise for other sites that contributed to your successes or supported your posting in some way. Not only is this a digital courtesy, but it also extends your reach by connecting you to the site's audience. Winning shares is not enough; You also need to motivate people to interact with your posting.

Even if it sounds obvious: by creating content that people really enjoy, you optimize your Facebook presence for organic success.

5). Use target group settings

With the small margin of error in social media marketing today, it is no longer an option to publish content on the off chance. Rather, it's about generating as much interaction as possible with each posting. Untargeted mass postings have been replaced by selective publication of contributions.

This means tailoring each post to a specific audience. This is possible regardless of whether you are promoting the posting or not. By targeting posts to users who are likely to find the content useful, you increase your chances of stimulating interactions.

Log into your Facebook page and click on 'Settings'. Choose 'Generally'in the menu on the left and click on the option'News feed target audience and visibility of posts' on 'To edit'.

Audience optimization allows you to target a niche demographic.

Check the box to be given the option to set a preferred audience and click Save Changes.

The Facebook targeting function is now available to you. When you create a new posting, you will be given the option to filter the target group.

You can add up to 16 interest tags to target the post to specific groups of users who are interested in the topic in question. You can also limit the visibility of your posts by age, location, language and gender.

These contributions will then not be displayed for people who are outside the parameters you have selected.

Filter your target audience to maximize your organic engagement.

Filter your audience to maximize interactions

When you have configured your filter as desired, click on 'Save' and publish the post.

Use Facebook Insights to find out which postings were successful. On this basis, you can continuously optimize your targeting strategy. It is often better to select a small section of your fan base, where higher interaction rates can be expected, than to include the entire audience and hope that the higher number of users leads to more interactions. While it sounds counter-intuitive, properly targeting a small group can produce better results than always targeting the largest possible audience.

According to the latest statistics from Hubspot, users expect an average of one to two postings per day. This presents brands and marketing professionals with the challenge of finding the right balance between originality and regularity.

This is undoubtedly a tightrope act.

Repeated publication of the same content and infrequent postings do your company a disservice. You can solve this problem by adding original descriptions to repeated postings. This avoids monotony and enables you to reach a wider audience with the content.

If you used a quote the first time, consider a question next, and perhaps the third time, consider a statistic to back up your message. Another creative approach is to reuse existing content.

The general content types include:

  • images

  • text

  • Video

  • Other users' content

  • Blog article

  • Podcasts

These categories can be further subdivided, for example as follows:

  • Images: tips, quotes, infographics, humor, behind the scenes.

  • Text: questions, quotes, tips, customer testimonials, fill in the blank.

  • Video: customer testimonials, explanatory videos, advertising, storytelling.

  • Other users' content: videos, images, blog articles, news, current affairs topics.

These and other types of content open up countless creative possibilities.

Take advantage of this spectrum, for example by turning your latest market research into a chic infographic with Canva or Adobe Spark. Remember: Your Facebook postings are not about you, but about your audience, their interests and what adds value to them.

Whatever the type and size of your business, the beating heart of your Facebook strategy should be well-researched, high-quality content. Then everything else will follow by itself.

6). Create a Facebook group

To put it bluntly: A company page on Facebook doesn't just become a gold mine of interactions, organic traffic and leads. Not without financial investment.

In the words of Facebook: "Like TV, web search, newspapers, radio, and essentially any other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid placements to help them achieve their goals. Your business won't always appear on the first page of a search result if you don't pay to be part of this illustrious circle.

The harsh reality behind this statement shows in the decline in organic reach over the past six years. From February 2012 to March 2014, the organic reach per fan fell from 16% to 6.5%.

The decline in organic Facebook reach from 2012 to 2014

With this decline in the expected reach of a Facebook page, which is now estimated at only 2%, the era of the corporate page may be over. But instead of declaring your page on a memorial from the past and giving up, consider creating a Facebook group for your business.

In a press release from Facebook, Adam Mosseri addressed Facebook groups himself. "In groups, people often exchange information about public content. Local businesses engage with their customers and communities by posting relevant updates and hosting events."

Facebook groups are a great fit for the vision of meaningful interactions, as they tend to cluster around common interests and generate natural discussions. The following screenshot shows some of the first results of a search for groups on 'Social Media Marketing' on Facebook.

These groups naturally provide fertile ground for organic discussions on social media marketing.

Facebook groups form a community of people with the same interests

Just like SEO links search queries to interests, the opt-in mechanism of a Facebook group solves the problem of finding people with a real interest in your business.

With the right management, your Facebook group will create a micro-community of active users who are both advocates and potential customers of your company.

What you can use your Facebook group for:

Promote personal participation

In 2018, likes and comments are as desirable as water is in the Mad Max universe. The majority of people will not feel like taking part in a discussion on your company page - unless they get to see your postings at all.

The environment of a closed group makes it much easier for users to interact. Conversation gets going faster with like-minded individuals and with less public scrutiny.

It may surprise you, but the difference between a company logo and your (undoubtedly attractive) face is huge. People want to interact with you as a person, not with you as a company. A Facebook group is the perfect setting for this.

Formulate gripping call-to-actions

You can use a frozen post to draw attention to your most attractive content. A fixed post is ideal for an effective call to action, an offer, a special incentive or the like. Also consider an invitation to subscribe to your mailing list or newsletter, which convey the same values ​​that the users in your group are because of.

Focusing on these values ​​will help you generate leads.

Receive valuable feedback

Facebook groups offer the opportunity to conduct surveys among members, which will provide you with valuable feedback for fine-tuning your marketing activities. This can be useful for anything from product design to reviews, pricing and customer experiences to industry trends.

Such information is usually unfiltered and raw at first, with the niche nature of your Facebook group ensuring targeted and distraction-free data collection.

Announce upcoming offers

A Facebook group is a long term strategy. Obtaining opinions, asking questions, and building a community of like-minded people - all of these are useful, but are only means to an end.

Once you've built a highly specific audience, you'll be able to launch offers when the time is right. Your efforts should be focused on cultivating the interactions in your Facebook group with your future conversion goals in mind.

build up trust

All uses of your Facebook group are built on the same foundation - trust. Without trust, there is no active group, CTAs are not effective, surveys are not completed and announced offers are not accepted.

Trust arises from the required values.

Share your experience without expecting anything in return. Answer questions openly and honestly. Make an effort to solve the problems of the people in your new community in order to cultivate a connection with your fans.

Facebook groups are particularly valuable for brands that want to gain a foothold on Facebook after the algorithm change. They provide opportunities to solve problems, deliver education, collaborate, conduct market research, and generate leads - all at the same time.

7). Perfect your timing

Posting when your fans are online will maximize your chance of high views. Unfortunately, there is no one way to find the perfect time. Your most important audience may be on Facebook at lunchtime - or at midnight!

To find out when your fans are most active, go to the interaction data under Facebook Insights.

Facebook Insights offers valuable interaction data

Click on 'Posts' or 'Contributions' to see statistics for each post that include the following information:

  • Time of publication

  • Content type

  • Target group setting

  • Reach (differentiated between organic and paid)

  • Interactions (differentiated according to clicks and reactions, comments and shares)

By tracking your content over long periods of time and identifying the most successful posts, you can get a guideline for expected interactions. If you now observe across different content types and posting times where the interactions exceed this guideline value, you can use this knowledge to increase your interactions in general.

Knowing the best time to post and the right types of content should help you pursue a more efficient strategy in the future. Since Facebook puts interactions at the heart of the algorithm, timing your posts is critical for an active audience. When you have found out what works for you based on Facebook Insights, create a content calendar so that you can regularly record this on your page.

While there is a long list of studies available on the 'best time to post' Facebook, don't be too slavish to hold onto them.

It is better to use such specifications as a starting point for your own tests. Develop a wonderful friendship with Facebook Insights and use the data to create the optimal posting schedule for you.

Conclusion

Although the latest changes to the Facebook algorithm have thrown many companies and marketing executives off track, they don't exist in a vacuum. In principle, it is nothing new that activating content is becoming more and more important. This trend has been evident for a long time. Facebook just pushed him one step further.

Marketers and companies who previously understood the value of authentic connections with audiences now see themselves one step ahead of the competition. Conversely, those who have previously focused on superficial interactions are reminded that fans are all well and good, but only sales carry the business.

In the face of recent algorithm changes by Facebook, the ability to motivate the former to engage in real interactions is sure to lead to the latter sooner or later.