During the past month, there has been a lot of discussions regarding the change in Facebook EdgeRank algorithm related to brand pages. Since September 20th, numerous of page owners have written blog posts, articles and comments to express their concern regarding a quite serious decrease in their posts’ reach by up to 50%.
In response to an e-mail from EdgeRank Cracker, a Facebook Ad Rep wrote: “We’re continually optimizing News Feed to ensure the most relevant experience for our users. While overall engagement should remain relatively consistent as a result of our most recent optimization, your organic reach may be impacted.”
Have you already observed a decrease in your Facebook page’s reach? You probably have. And you are not the only one. But instead of spending time joining the “complain about Facebook” discussions, why not focus on how to make sure that your posts actually appear in the optimal amount of your fans’ News Feeds? Of course, there isn’t a “simply mix these ingredients” recipe that would guarantee instant success. But there are some general rules of thumb and practices that you can use as guidelines to move in the right direction.
Content, content, content
You know the greatest law of managing social media perfectly well: “Content is king”. You also know that if you want to build and sustain lasting and valuable relationships with your fans, you should always make sure that your posts are engaging.
According to the Facebook Ad Rep: “Posts that are more likely to be engaging tend to appear higher in feed. Some of the strongest factors that influence this are how engaging an individual post has been for other users who have seen it, and how engaged a user has historically been with other posts they’ve seen from that page. Feed also takes negative feedback into account, which is the number of people who have hidden a post or reported it as spam.”
Time and frequency of posts
Although a lot of research has been conducted regarding time and frequency of posting, truth is that there are too many factors that make inventing a universal “success formula” impossible. These factors being e.g. industry specifics, geographies, culture etc. Keep in mind the general rules but also try out different times and days, constantly monitor engagement rates and adjust and adapt accordingly. Incorporate the practice of weekly reporting of your page’s activity as that may help you easily identify which posts performed best at which times and days. You can find some useful guidelines about how to use ‘Facebook Insights’ here.
Monitor your industry’s influencers/leaders
Get to know your competitors. How are they managing their Facebook pages? Is their content gaining a lot of engagement? If yes, what exactly is it that makes people like or comment?
Use the new ‘Promoted Posts’ feature
Recently launched, the Promote feature gives brands the chance to promote their posts for a min. price of $7. Basically, by paying the fee, Facebook guarantees much higher engagement, explained as following: “If you don’t promote your post, many of the people connected to your Page will still see it. However, by promoting a post, you’re increasing its potential reach so an even larger percentage of your Page audience and the friends of those interacting with your post will see it.”
However, last Thursday, Matt Owen from Econsultancy shared an article expressing some concerns about the actual impact that ‘Promoted Posts’ have. Doing some experiments and promoting his posts, he witnessed a significant increase in reach, but stated that the higher engagement came from users geographically irrelevant to his page. Discussions on the subject thereby seem to remain open and page managers will have to continue adjusting and optimizing their strategies according to the dynamics of social media.
To summarize, Facebook has once again demonstrated that changes happen in the speed of light and only those who stay up-to-date and are willing to adapt will have the chance to win in the battle of being present in fans’ News Feeds.
Matt Wurst (@mwurst), from 360i, hits the nail on the head: “The bar has been raised. Create better content, supplement it with paid media. This is separating the proverbial “men from the boys” and that’s a good thing.”