How we're beating Facebook's algorithm for increased reach

Quality over quantity. One home run is better than two doubles
— Steve Jobs

In this article, we’re going to share with you some tips that we’ve learnt over the past months that’ll help you to take back control of your content on Facebook, and hopefully get your organic reach back on track. If you want a 'human' explanation for the recent Facebook Pages changes then look no further than this post from Facebook founder himself Mark Zuckerburg. 

Read Mark's comments here »

Facebook’s algorithm changes

As you may or may not know, Facebook has been experimenting with its algorithms on personal feeds for some time, and businesses who used to create a lot of organic reach are now seeing their weekly reach cut by in some cases more than 50%.

At Team Locals we’ve have seen a visible downtrend in reach as Facebook pushes for more businesses to pay for their content to be seen by its users.

In certain countries Facebook are experimenting with an ‘Explore’ tab that totally eradicates businesses away from your personal feed, even if you’ve pushed the ‘Like’ button and chosen to follow that business’ feed.

Could this be the way that all personal profile pages will be rolled out in the near future?

 beating facebook algorithm for business

Quality over quantity: Making the most of Facebook’s algorithm for your business

Like many businesses, we’ve been experimenting to see how we can best use Facebook’s algorithm to continue to reach the people we want to connect with. And that brings us back to our article heading: it’s all about quality over quantity.

The main thing we’ve noticed about Facebook’s new algorithm is that it knows if you’re trying to promote something — like, it’s REALLY clever. We’ve tried a number of different posting techniques to try and make a workaround, but every time we see our promotional content being squeezed.

So how do you get around this? The answer is by offering something that Facebook will view as beneficial content for its users. As an example, if you own a fishing tackle business then you might want to start creating some really insightful blogs around the latest fishing techniques that are relevant to fishing enthusiasts in your area.

Where are the best places to fish, what fish should people be looking for, and what bait will work best for the type of fish being fished?

Alongside this content, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t also be promoting your products that you feel will be beneficial to your audience. Add some linked product boxes to your blog post, explain to the reader that you can help them with their problems, show them what tools of the trade will help them most, and which of course you can help them with.

We're practicing this method within this very post. At the end of the article you'll see an enquiry box asking if there's anything we can help you with, and at the top right will be one of our products ranges, most likely our business website service.

In contrast, if you simply head over to your business’ Facebook feed and slap on a URL linked post to one of your new products or services then you're probably going to see Facebook's algorithm working in full effect. It'll see what you're up to and it'll put the airbrakes on your post. 

Bear in mind that over 1 million links are shared every 20 minutes on Facebook! You really have to stand out to get noticed, and blind, mass posting just won’t cut it anymore.

 

Want some big organic Facebook reach? Ride the trend wave

During May we’ve put out around 170 pieces of content onto our Team Locals Facebook page: a mix of videos, images, and links. So what content has been performing best?

Unsurprisingly it’s the content that is most relevant at the time of posting. The first example I’ll show you for this is an article we wrote around ‘British Sandwich Week’, which was trending 21st — 25th May 2018.

Why did this article link placed on Facebook get increased reach, interactions, and post clicks? Because it was timely, informative, and helpful to the Facebook community. Within the article we’d shown where the best places to buy a quality sandwich were in our location (Portsmouth) and Facebook lapped it up.

 Increasing your business Facebook reach example

Next up was a simple 10 second timelapse video we posted up during a beautiful lighting storm that took place over Portsmouth on Saturday 26th May. The clip couldn’t be more simple. You can see a GIF of the clip below.

This post got a reach of over 5,000 and 140 reactions. Again, the reason this did better than some other posts to our page is because it was timely, we posted the clip just as the storm was crossing over the city.

As a sidenote, and to give some perspective of the change in the Facebook algorithm, in 2016/2017 this sort of post would definitely have been a 25-50,000 reach post.

 Example post to increase Facebook business reach

The last example is our biggest reach for the month of May 2018. The post in question had a reach over 126,000 and had over 3,700 reactions (remember the good old days on Facebook).

The post was an image post containing news that one of our city’s renowned roller coasters was to be dismantled.

Not cutting edge news for sure, but it was something that resonated with all ages, and from a large radius of the city — the ‘Skyways’ roller coaster had even starred in an episode of Mr Bean with Rowan Atkinson back in the 90s!

 Increase business Facebook reach example 3

Again, this piece of content was timely, and resonated with Facebook’s users, which is clearly what they want to happen. The more people interacting, commenting, and sharing the better for their own advertising machine.

If you can tap into these rules, show timely knowledge, and offer something useful to your own business’ audience then you will see an increase in overall reach.

Look for trends, watch what is happening around your location, and proving your authority will play a massive part in boosting your organic reach for Facebook business.

 

Increase your organic Facebook reach with paid boosting

Seen those little messages from Facebook that say ‘This post is performing better than X% of your other posts’? Have you dismissed these in the past? It’s probably time to rethink your marketing spend and add a little for Facebook Boosting.

 Increase your business Facebook reach paid boosting

We’ll get into Boosting in a separate article but for now I’ll share this with you. We've noticed an increase in organic reach speed once you pay a small amount towards the boost that Facebook is suggesting.

Simply by paying £8 — 10 to boost a post can give your organic reach a super spike that’ll get the post seen by a lot more people. We think this is Facebook’s little wink-wink to you that if you pay a little into the machine you’ll get a little something back.

As I wrote this article we'd seen one of these images pop up on one of our latest posts. The post was already getting quite a bit of traction, organic reach was increasing, comments and shares were going up fast as well.

In under an hour we'd got 1,794 reach, 33 comments, and 45 shares. So I tested the theory by paying £10 to boost the post over a two day period. We targeted people in our area, and those interested in live music events, and outdoor music, which was relevent to the post. 

After 10 minutes of boosting the reach had gone up to 3,851 organic vs 22 paid, had 60 shares, and 37 comments. 

After 30 minutes from boosting the reach was 4,150 organic vs 63 paid, had 72 shares, and 49 comments.

In one hour post-boost the linked article had a reach of 7,128 vs 225 paid, 85 shares, and 64 comments.

When the boost finished 24 hours later we'd had an organic reach of 36,617 vs 9,525 paid, 311 comments, 253 shares, and over 12,000 post clicks. There's no doubt that this post was gaining momentum without the extra little push from us but as we've seen with other posts the small monetary paid boost acts similar to a turbo-charger in a car engine. 

 how to increase your organic facebook reach

This is a classic example of what we explained earlier about getting your posts out in a timely fashion, and during a trend. As people started to find out about the news of this postponed event, our article was on hand to offer some insight surrounding the situation, and was being shared by the Facebook community. 

It's not conclusive that giving your posts a little paid tickle will help the organic reach, but from our testing over 2018 it is certainly helping the speed and discovery of the post in a positive way. 

Have you experimented with this and seen results? Let us know.

 

Will photos and video help your business Facebook reach?

 Will photos and video help your business Facebook reach

The quick answer is yes — Facebook is especially pushing video content right now. You may have seen or heard of Facebook Watch. This is Facebook’s attempt to take on YouTube and create a platform for creators to share their world through the medium of video.

While YouTube currently boasts more video views than any other platform, stats show that Facebook is catching up fast. Just before the launch of Watch in 2017, Facebook was generating 100 million hours of video watch time.

Create some interesting video around your businesses activities, showcase what you get up to on a weekly basis, address your followers directly, and post video content that they want to watch and your organic reach will start to increase.

Photos have always performed well on Facebook, but again it's about adding content that's relevant, and in a timely way. Creating bespoke images and GIFs that are on trend, or that support what your business' activities are will get your audience liking and sharing, and in return Facebook will reward your organic reach by pushing the post further afield.

 

But are your images uploaded to Facebook Pages being suppressed?  

From our own experience it's a big fat YES. But why? To be totally honest I have no idea why this is right now. There's the possibility that Facebook wants you to use Instagram for images and this is its attempt to push to towards that platform, or there could be another reason.

Images that we know in the past (circa late 2017) would’ve seen a 20-50,000 reach will now get 2-6,000 and maybe 10,000 reach if you’re lucky.

We're still experimenting with this to find an answer. If you've seen some interesting results with image posting to Facebook Pages then let us know.

 

Creating live video for your Facebook business page

Facebook is hot on this, we think even more so than pre-recorded and edited video content. If you can create some location based video that again is relevant to some current trends and events happing around the Facebook community then you'll be onto a winner with your organic reach stats.

The algorithm will be checking to see if your live is relevant, where your posting from, and the interactions your live video will be creating. If it sees that it's a video of real value then you'll see a genuine increase in the reach, pushing your live feed into the Facebook feed of new users that might not know about your business.

You can find out more about Facebook Live here »

 

Summary

Overall, we’ve found it to be a real mixed bag with our content uploads to our business Facebook page. There’s definitely something going on with images being suppressed, videos are being pushed more than photos and links, but across the board not one ‘type’ of post seems to be doing visibly better than another.

The one positive that stands out above all else is around creating timely, noteworthy content that your audience will resonate with. For now we’ll be paying a lot more attention to what we’re posting, when we post it, and the frequency of uploads, and we’d suggest you do the same for your business.

Think about what content you’re creating and the reasons behind it, plan when you're going to post (using your past analytics can help massively with this), and consider if the message you want to convey should even be posted to Facebook at all! If it’s not relevant to the audience on there, don’t post it — find another way to get your message seen.

We'd love to hear how you're getting on with posting content to your business Facebook page. Have you found any little tricks you can share with the business community? Let us know.

 

Need some help with your business social media? We have over seven years experience working with business and events from all over the south coast. Get in touch for a chat.

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