Bloggers constantly complain about Facebook. And for good reason. It is “no fair” that the platform gets to decide which content is pushed out to user’s feeds. But there are ways to level the playing field. Because after all as of the start of 2016, Facebook has 1.59 billion active users per month aka over 20% of the global population.
Yeah. That’s a lot of users. A lot of people that might want to see what you’re putting out there!
The following post includes WCBC insight as well as information from a Quick Sprout post from earlier this month.
The goal of Facebook promotion is to increase your page’s organic reach – or a post being seen by a user without you having to pay to promote it. Facebook’s algorithm is complex to say the least but there are a few factors that contribute to organic reach.
- A user’s previous interactions with page – if they’ve liked, shared and/or commented on previous posts they’re more likely to have new ones appear in their feeds organically.
- A user’s previous interactions with post type – if they like every video you post then they’ll see your videos, for example.
- The interactions from other users who saw the post – Facebook starts by showing new content to a small set of your followers (based on #1 and #2 above) if those people engage with it (likes, shares, comments) then Facebook will include the post in more user’s feeds.
- Any complaints or negative feedback – if a user reports your post to Facebook or says they’re not interested in content like this then Facebook won’t show it to them.
- When it was posted – new content is the most interesting and as it ages it becomes less interesting. There isn’t much you can do about this factor other than just knowing it contributes to Facebook including your content on user’s timelines.
There are a few things you can do to improve your chances of an un-promoted post getting seen.
Do It Yourself
Actually scheduling posts to Facebook yourself instead of using a service like Buffer or Hootsuite is probably the most important factor in getting your content seen organically. Facebook’s algorithm favors posts uploaded by the user. We recommend uploading a landscape/horizontal image to the post even if Facebook automatically pulls in a portrait/vertical one. Our template dimensions are 1200 x 627 pixels and we export it to a .jpg photo.
You can choose to leave the link in the copy of the post or just have the image be the hyperlink. Play around with both ways for a while to see what your users click on more often!
We’ve got a step by step tutorial on How to Schedule a Post to Facebook here.
Time of Day
When you post is probably the second most important factor. And you’re probably posting at the wrong times. Another factor in Organic Reach is the amount of competition your posts have. Facebook selects content to be shown to users when they log in. So, if there are tons of posts made from friends and other pages a user has liked made around the same time, the less likely yours will be shown.
A study by BuzzSumo that compared the number of posts with the average engagement of all posts on the platform revealed that the best time to post in the US is between 9 and 11 PM. Yes, 9 and 11 PM.
If you only post once a day think about posting later at night for the timezone most of your readers are in. Again, give it a shot and see if your engagement improves!
The Day Itself
While users are on Facebook everyday there is one day that stands out – and it might surprise you. Sunday is the day the platform sees the most active users. Analysis of interactions with posts revealed a steady amount Monday through Friday with an increase on Saturday and a peak on Sunday.
Maybe more users spend more time on Facebook on the weekends. Or maybe there is a lot less competition from similar pages (businesses not posting on the weekends). You can make your own choice as to why weekends do better but there’s no denying they do so maybe schedule posts on the weekend and see how they do!
Some post types perform WAY better than others. There are 6 post types you can make on a Facebook Page – Questions, Images, Videos, Links, Giveaways and Coupons/Discounts. And they get the most average engagements in that order. [Bonus engagement points for Questions that have an image or video with it.]
When it comes to sharing blog content it is likely you’ll be using Image, Video and Link posts most often. Images on average received the most likes and videos the most shares.
Experiment with the post type, mix it up and pay attention to the posts that receive the highest amount of engagement from your audience.
A Picture Is Worth…
Twitter restricts us to 140 characters. Instagram has started to truncate captions so we see more pictures. Pinterest’s whole thing is images. So, Facebook really isn’t much different.
An analysis of the optimal post length on Facebook revealed that 0-50 characters or about 10 words will get the most attention from users.
So, keep it short and sweet and to the point! But don’t be too click-bait-y… Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t like that too much (don’t use the words Like, Click, Share or Comment in the 10 words – your users know how to use the platform).
Your Blog Post Length
The goal of sharing your blog posts on any social media platform is to have the user click through to your blog. So while what and when you post to social media is important, what the user clicks through to is maybe even more important if you want them to engage over and over again.
Having high quality content on your site is important for a lot of reasons. Another one to add to the list is that users are more likely to click through to posts with between 1000 and 2000 words. Articles between 2000 and 3000 followed very closely behind. But posts over 3000 words performed a little worse with posts under 1000 words performing the worst.
What this means is that Facebook users are glad to read high quality content but don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes doing so. (The average person reads at 200 words per minute) And if they click over and read something less than 1000 words they probably get a little frustrated that they took the time to click through at all!
[for reference, this post is currently at 1090 words]
Play Nicely with Others
We already covered that it is better to post directly to Facebook yourself instead of using a scheduling program and that Videos and Images are highly engaging posts so what’s the best method for sharing content from YouTube and Instagram.
- YouTube: bottom line, don’t share your videos from YouTube – upload them yourself. The platform loves videos but it doesn’t like sharing content from YouTube. If you’re sharing videos that you’ve created yourself the best bet is to embed/upload them directly in the post.
- Instagram: Facebook double taps Instagram. Maybe it is because Facebook owns Instagram but sharing images from Instagram to Facebook results in more likes (23% more to be exact) than images uploaded directly to Facebook.
Hashtags go the way of the Pound Sign
Facebook added the hashtag function a few years ago but the user base hasn’t gotten on board. Posts that contain hashtags did about 34% worse than posts without them. So use your 10 words wisely and don’t include a hashtag.
- Do It Yourself: upload posts directly to the platform instead of having auto-sharing set up or using a social media scheduling tool.
- When You Post Matters: the time of day (9-11 PM) and the day itself (Sundays)
- What You Post Matters: stick to questions, images & videos
- Short but Sweet: Facebook posts that are 50 characters or less get the most engagement
- High Quality Click Through: users like clicking through to articles between 1000 and 3000 words
- YouTube No, Instagram Yes: embed your videos directly and share images from Instagram to Facebook
Now that you understand more about the ins and outs of getting your content seen on Facebook we hope you will incorporate these tips into your social media strategy.
One final tip, Image and Video posts are much easier for WCBC to share on our Facebook page so if you want to increase your chances of having content shared upload images and videos directly! We post member content 4-6 times a day!
Be sure to see all the stats for yourself at QuickSprout.com
image via The Golden Girl Blog