How to increase Facebook reach and beat the algorithm

1. The evolution of the algorithm

There isn’t a shred of doubt that every Facebook Business page owner is chasing for the holy grail called Facebook algorithm and the secret on how to beat it. Over the years, this algorithm has significantly changed and evolved, which is constantly dictating new trends and marketing strategies for the business owners.

Let’s give it some context first.

In the early days, the algorithm started small by assigning certain “value” to each piece of content posted out there. To put it simple, plain text posts get 1 point, posts with an image get 2 points, and so on.

What this means is, for example, if you as a user have never liked a post containing a photo, it will not be showing you content with photos.

Over the years, Facebook got flooded with overproduction of content and an extremely competitive market. The algorithm has highly evolved and is now taking hundreds of things into the account. It can be something as simple as the semantics you use. For example, it detects some buzzwords such as posts containing “congratulations”, which probably means the post is announcing something big and important, thus assigning it more value.

At the beginning of 2018, the revolution was on the horizon when Adam Mosseri, the Head of Facebook News Feed, announced the algorithm is going back to its original values – friends and family. Apparently, now it’s all about bringing people closer together.

Interacting with people … is associated with a greater sense of well-being. And the benefits [to the content creator] are even stronger when you’re close to the person, and when the interaction requires some effort. 

Adam Mosseri, Head of Facebook News Feed

So, how does all this help you increase your Facebook reach?

2. How it all works

As Adam Mosseri kindly explained, try observing each Facebook post as a restaurant menu and break the problem into 4 steps:

Inventory – What’s on the menu? What are the options? (Meaning, checking all posts available out there, how recent they are, how frequently does the publisher post, etc.)

Signals – Is it breakfast time? What’s good at this restaurant? (Checking the time of the day, buzzwords, how much bandwidth a user has, what device is he on, etc.)

Prediction – Will I like the salmon today? (Checking your previous interactions with the author, number of likes, clicks, negative feedback, and shares; evaluating how useful the post is, etc.)

Score – Take all this info into consideration and place an order. (Post is given a certain relevance score and it’s shown on your news feed)

After you’ve gotten the basics on how Facebook algorithm works, let’s explore some simple tactics that will help you increase your Facebook reach.

3. The snowball effect

Engagement is the most important factor if you wish to boost your online presence. The more people engage with your content (likes, shares, comments, feedback), it adds more context and draws more visitors. Try not to post updates only, but rather to start conversations. Having a top-class customer service and interaction will significantly boost your chances.

TIP: Don’t be afraid to use all the options available to you. Instead of just posting updates, try starting a poll or a quiz on a certain subject, ask your audience questions (for example, what kind of content would you like to see more? Images, videos, tutorials…). Hold special deals for the participants/winners. Get creative!

Brand advocacy can also bring good results. Inspire your employees, colleagues and partners to share your content and promote your business. Do the same with your most loyal customers and visitors. Offer loyalty deals to them. It’s also a good idea to partner up with other business owners from the same niche.4. Good, old content

Content is the king, it’s as simple as that. Bill Gates said it back in ’96 and it never gets old.

Varied content will offer the same piece of information in different formats. There are so many ways you can share content with users, so don’t limit yourself. Make use of posts, status updates, images, videos, polls, tutorials… Try keeping up with the latest trends, but don’t just post what’s trendy at the moment. It will limit you to a smaller audience and make it look like you’re pushing for a quick fix.

As far as the latest trends go, sharing relevant video content is a good idea. Try using to customize YouTube videos and make the most of the content you publish.

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TIP:
Remember that Live Facebook videos tend to get 3x more audience.

Human touch will help you build enough authority to engage your audience to action. It will also help you attract the right group of people, as quality is more important than quantity. Inactive followers will not be of much use.
Make sure to add a social context to your content and sharing inspirational things as it increases effectiveness. You should stay on topic and keep it professional at all times, but try not to be too formal. It’s a good idea to keep it short and snappy. Accompanied by some solid visuals and a clear and inviting Call-To-Action, it will be spot on.

One great example of this human interaction and keeping it simple is Nutella. With visuals and messages such as this one, it really convinces you that a chocolate nutty cream is the solution to every problem, doesn’t it?

TIP: Don’t forget to add a Call-To-Action to the content you publish. It will engage your audience to action.

Be evergreen with your content. Out of all the content you share, there will always be certain things you can identify as the most relevant. Choose posts that have done very well and reuse them. Usually it’s a piece of information that never gets old, such as video tutorials, “How to” sessions, Q&A, industry news, testimonials, … The evergreen content can be a slippery slope as misuse can lead to counterproductive results, so make sure to learn which types of content are considered as evergeen.

5. Use Facebook Insights

The Facebook Insights page should become your best friend while planning for your presence boosting strategy. It gives a very detailed and valuable insight into page and posts metrics. It can help you learn which posts get the highest organic reach, which types of posts your audience prefers, the number of likes…Moreover, it gives you an insight into your visitors’ demographics, such as their age, gender, country of origin, time of day when your posts were viewed.

Once you export these data and put them to work, you will be able to pinpoint both your strong spots so you know what to boost further, or your shortcomings so you can think of an improvement strategy.

TIP: Invest some time to determine when’s the best time of day to post. Recent studies show posting at non-peak times can increase your visibility.

6. Paid ads

The overproduction of content has forced Facebook to give more advantage to paid ads over organic results, due to too much content being published every day. Forecasts from Facebook VPs even take one step further and claim there will come a time when organic reach will be zero. This is aligned with Facebook’s aspiration to offer users the most relevant content, not just spill all that’s available out there.

Having in mind How Facebook Ads Work, it surely is a way to reach a more refined audience and instantly boost your reach.

The obvious downside is that it will cost you money, but if you set your goals right, choose your marketing objective, precisely define your audience and budget, craft a smart advert and make sure to learn from the experience, it will pay off.

7. Conclusion

Boosting your presence with paid ads is a good enough solution on a short-term basics. However, look at it this way: Your Facebook followers are the same as your real-life friends. You could buy their presence, even their attention, but you can’t buy their trust and loyalty. Be patient, be yourself and stay authentic, it’s the best way to reach out to people and be heard.

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