It’s a war most of us as bloggers find ourselves in with Facebook fairly often: our desire to have our posts seen by our likers, versus Facebook’s desire to not overwhelm its users with thousands of updates every single time they log on.
With so many users on the world’s biggest social media site (Darren said this week it’s been logged as 1.317 billion monthly active users in the second quarter of this year), the potential for reader overload is astronomical. Facebook advertising executive Brian Boland explained a few months ago that Facebook now handles more pieces of information than ever before, mostly due to how easy smartphones make it for people to share. He says that there is “far more content being made than there is time to absorb it”, and for people with lots of friends and page likes, there is potential for up to 15,000 stories to be available every time they visit the site.
So what does that mean for Page owners? Well, it means that the Facebook News Feed Algorithm is designed to show your readers what is most relevant to them, not every single thing uploaded. What you need to do now is be relevant. And how do you know what is most relevant to your audience? You get familiar with your Insights.
What does your audience want?
For all the general advice we can give, it doesn’t beat your own personal experience, and the needs of your readers.
In your Insights tab, you can click on “Posts” and then “When Your Fans are Online”.
As you can see, the Likers of my Veggie Mama Facebook page are online pretty much all day – but 8pm sees the biggest spike. If I want to catch the most of my readers, that would be the time to do it.
So now you know when your readers are online – the next step is to see what types of posts on your page they interact with the most. Click “Post Types” and get an overview of successful post types (including their typical reach and typical engagement rate). For me it’s video, followed by status, link, and then photo last.
Where to from there?
Make a plan to increase the types of posts your readers like, while still trying to stay useful, interesting, and entertaining. Facebook themselves say the most engaging posts you can create on Facebook are “short, original, benefit the person viewing the content, and connect to your objectives and identity”. But at the end of the day, you want real interactions with your readers, so being authentic regardless of post type should be your main aim.
Facebook also recommends video and images for the best interaction, especially those that depict humans and their relationships with others.
Facebook’s recommendation to use video, and my insights listing video as the most popular post type, is consistent with the conclusions we came to yesterday about what worked on popular pages. For four out of the five pages we studied, video was their first or second most successful post type.
You can see here that a recent video shared on singer Beyoncé’s page has had incredible success. 222,000 shares (almost double the highest share rate from yesterday’s posts), 42,000 comments, and almost half a million likes.
So what makes it work?
- it’s original – only Beyoncè has this particular video
- it’s current – The 50 Shades of Grey book was a phenomenal success, and excitement for the new movie is ramping up
- it features a never-before-heard Beyoncé track that fans would be interested to hear
- both Beyoncé and 50 Shades of Grey are highly popular among their target audience
- It also doesn’t hurt that mobile Facebook video autoplay would make this run automatically in people’s feeds, making it look like they’re interested in it (regardless of whether they actually want to watch it or not)
It has long been said that images were consistently achieving the best results for people looking to increase their reach. Beautiful images, relatable images, funny images – as visual creatures, it appears that appealing to that sense is usually a winner.
There is little doubt that Humans of New York has nailed the use of images on Facebook. Primarily to showcase his photography work, Brandon’s Facebook page has become a legend. Every day, millions of people see and interact with the images and small snippets of conversations he provides.
So what makes it work?
- It’s heartwarming
- It’s relatable – whether you are someone like that, or know someone like that. It might make you think of your parents or grandparents
- Love is a language that transcends all barriers
- It’s a beautiful picture in a beautiful park
- The people are smiling – they’re obviously happy, and that can be contagious
- Readers might think this will brighten others’ days as it has theirs, so they share
- It’s also a bit cheeky and people love a bit of a joke.
- It’s a little bit unexpected – often the elderly have assumptions made about them and their usefulness due to their age. To see them cheeky and joking around is pleasantly surprising.
While usually focused on people (hence the “Humans”), sometimes the unexpected on the HONY page works even better.
For a while there, it was popular to try and provide useful or engaging text statuses, as they seemed to be the least penalised by Facebook (at least, less penalised than links, which could be seen as too promotional or salesy, and less penalised than overtly meme-y or spammy images). It gave rise to the question, or the fill-in-the-blanks. For some, it works really well. For others, it really can be seen as a blatant engagement grab, and quite off-putting.
So what makes a great text status?
Let’s look at Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. With more than two million fans, and a regularly-updated Facebook page, Ree connects with her readers in a variety of ways (mostly with images of her delicious cooking). But Ree has a quirky sense of humour her readers love, and often gets the text status exactly right.
Always self-deprecating, Ree likes to poke fun at herself and how she looks on her Food Network cooking show. Her penchant for overexaggerating also usually sparks a giggle.
Ree has a brother with special needs, and he is quite the character on her blog. Many of her readers can relate, and think he’s sweet.
Again, her quirky humour and casual, friendly demeanor really makes an impact. Thanking your readers for something is usually something they appreciate.
People want to know there’s a human person behind the Facebook page, and that the person is interested in them. If the reader comments or otherwise engages with the content on the page, they want that engagement to be a two-way street. If you are a blogger, then make an effort to be around. Don’t just post and run – post and chat. Post regularly (but not so much that your posts get hidden as people get sick to death of seeing you) and be approachable. Facebook keeps track of the pages that each person interacts with, and boosts the visibility of the last 50 pages in the newsfeed. It’s ideal to be one of those last 50 interactions (which include engagement and profile/image views).
Not only will Facebook limit the reach of meme content in favour of more relevant (i.e. current news or shared interests) pieces of content, but fans will see through desperate grabs for likes or comments. It also pays to be thoughtful and aware of giving your readers what they want without appearing overly strategic. At the end of the day, you still can’t beat being useful, inspiring, visual, and interactive. And nobody will tell you what works on your Facebook better than your readers will, so get to know your Insights.
As Jon Loomer says:
Meh. Just share interesting content. Monitor your results to figure out what works.
(Jon will be back tomorrow with some super-useful tips from the other side of the coin – advertising and marketing on Facebook – it’s not to be missed!)
Do you think as a whole, bloggers are over-thinking Facebook organic reach strategy? Have you found reaching your fans frustrating? Or have you hit a stride that works?
Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net, and the gal behind Veggie Mama. A writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd, she can be found making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.
The #1 thing DrewryNewsNetwork notices on Facebook is when you tag your Facebook friends from a fanpage with an image of food, they are immediately engaged, and highly likely to share your content without asking them to repost. Additionally, Facebook fans are likely to join your business fanpage off of the strength of having engaging images like food and clothing alongside blog posts or webpage content.
excellent post. it’s really difficult to pin point what the audience exactly wants. you get to a point of trial and error scenario but after a while you’ll definitely come up with a new idea. i’m hanging with 2 two words: consistency and authenticity. thanks!
I’ve resisted a Facebook page for my business – it’s just one more thing to add to an already overloaded to-do list !
From a users perspective, I prefer to interact on the pages where there is actual discussion. Nothing on Facebook is worse than seeing a threads of comments that are being posted with no discussion.
This is very informative and useful post. thanks for sharing :)
Quite some practical tips on boosting organic Facebook reach. Every marketer and social media newbie can readily apply each tip to take their reach to the next level.
I am really impressed with the level of revelation shared from this post.
The tips on using video and images are most insightful and its more helpful to see how what makes each of them work for just about anyone that puts them into practice!
This post “kingged” or upvoted in kingged.com where it was shared for bloggers,social marketers,and online marketers.
Thanks for clarifying things. Cheers.
I know a guy who got more then 200,000 likes in mere 3 months by posting unique, amazing, breathtaking videos and photographs. People want entertainment and free, useful things :) That’s what the main focus should be. Its easy to succeed that way is what I feel.
Thanks for the great tips as we all could use a couple once in awhile. I use to run a blog for money but now I just blog for fun.
The secret seems to be posting engaging stuff, either videos or pictures, and following up quickly to show that you’re around to chat. The quick follow up makes the post gain more traction. People see a party happening and just have to hop on board.
As for the video/image thing my Fans appreciate humor more than anything. A funny update here and there and you’re likely to draw in more fans while keeping your current fans entertained and engaged.
Being funny is one thing but moving in to respond to fans quickly is the trust building element many people leave. I’ve seen Pages with 50,000 Likes which score 5 comments on new updates, and I’ve seen Pages with 40,000 Likes which generate 3,000 Likes and 500 comments for a single update.
OK, I’ll name the Page. Check out Andrew Spence’s Page on Facebook. He’s the guy who generates an absurdly disproportionate amount of Likes and comments relevant to his number of Page Likes, because he knows it’s all about inspiring people and entertaining them through humor.
The guy really gets it. A clear case study for how you should use Facebook if you want to really rock it out.
Thanks Stacey, super smart share here with some fab examples.
I’ll tweet it in a bit.
Hey Ryan, Just saw this. Thanks for the shout out! Appreciate it :-)
Thanks for the great tips to use with Facebook. Facebook has reduced its reach overall .They reduced the reach to get more paid reach from customers .This tip helped to improve the reach .Thanks
I appreciate the explanations!
Every so often, I check analytics to see what it was that did well. And of course, usually visual content excelled. I am ready to get started to tap into more specific and consistent posts on Facebook.
I have never tried to post a video, but I will have to try. I think these are great tips and I agree that images are by far the most engaging, followed by asking questions, and finally links to an article. Links to an article seem to do very poorly, but if I share an image and then just put the link along with the picture then it will do very well.
That is Good because i have used facebook fan page but i did not understand well about this fan page thanks for your explanations
Unique content increases likes exponentially. So the content is the real like attractor.
so funny thanks for the tips will put them to practice
Thank you for sharing this information!
After watching a webinar in the Problogger Community where Darren spoke about how he schedules his Facebook posts for maximum visibility throughout the day…
I’ve been wanting to try it on my own page, but I’ve only got a small fan base – and I wasn’t really sure which times of the day I should be posting for my specific audience (I’m in the UK).
And if I’m honest about it, I haven’t even looked at the new insights Facebook introduced until now. Gees, it took long enough to understand the old ones, so I guess I just kept putting it off.
Anyways, after reading your post I now know when my FB traffic spikes, and which updates get the best response – so thank you once again! I’ll test it out now using Hootsuite or something similar.
Looking forward to reading the other FB posts published last week. :)
I’ll share on Twitter shortly.
I like the video idea, but it is difficult to come up with something great on a budget. To do it consistently is nearly impossible for small businesses.
same with me i love the video idea
This post was a great help. I actually discovered there is some useful info on the Facebook Insights feature. Every little bit helps. Thanks for taking the time and having the foresight to put this post together.
Thank you very much for making this analysis of Facebook, this information will help me
Facebook has certainly changed over the years and what I noticed is that you want to have fans on your page who want to be there and are engaged. Just having a number of LIKES means nothing, at least to me if they aren’t going to engage, share, comment, like etc.
I’m always engaged on my page and although I’m a personal finance blog my nightly “What’s For Dinner” post gets upwards of 200 comments on a good night sometimes more. I leave the post up sort of like a forum where they come back the next day and continue to chat amongst themselves.
If I stick around to chat it will boost the conversation because they know there is a human there. You are right about that and this post of yours is spot on. Facebook is one of the hardest of social media these days and takes much more effort than holding a contest and asking people to LIKE and SHARE to get noticed.
Great post. But I have a question. You mentioned that at the times of maximum reach, you first post a video, followed by status, link, and a photo. So, what is the time different between each of these posts?
Hi Nabil. I don’t post them in that order, It was just the order of the types of statuses that were most popular. So videos work best on my page, and photos work the least well (which is apparently not the norm!).
Great post, thank you! I have actually found ways to grow the organic reach on Facebook, after a significant decrease about a year ago… I agree that by giving my fans what they want I can promote my business as well, withowt being pushy, but it’s not easy. You have to adapt, be authentic and work really hard. Also, I noticed there are no recipes, what worked for me might not work for other types of pages…
Thanks for all the inputs! I agree on the part that status updates and images are huge when it comes to gaining engagement. I have yet to try videos for the FB pages I manage, but now I see in depth the value you can derive from it.
A lot of people post business opportunities, and spam facebook groups with their business opportunities.
I don’t want the answer is?
I have done all the above that was suggested!
since they updated the platform in my glance it has become hard to get organic traffic, daily numerous changes on facebook algorithm are being made. i am loosing the talk about even after using the best tactics. i think the time has come where these pages are waste.
Nice nice post. Thanks for your sharing. I’ll apply some great tips for facebook. Thanks!