Facebook plays a vital role in the success of most businesses. It serves as a way to connect with customers, share information about business activities, and reach out to potential clients. But changes to Facebook's algorithm have made organic reach harder, as Mark Zuckerberg's social media unicorn begins strongly favoring paid advertisers over the natural connections that once made the website so valuable as an advertising platform.
If you rely heavily on organic reach to engage with customers, you've likely experienced a decline in traffic. After all, Facebook is a business, so it only makes sense that those who pay to advertise are going to get preferential treatment.
But there are ways to boost organic reach, even today. Here are four Facebook algorithm hacks that can help.
1. Try Preferred Audience Targeting
If you aren't using preferred audience targeting, then you're missing out on an exceptional opportunity to reclaim some organic reach.
Preferred audience targeting allows you to identify a specific segment of the population (by age, gender, location, language, interests, etc.) and increase the odds that people in that niche will be exposed to your content in their news feed. The setting uses your selected criteria to help make sure your posts get seen by the right people.
Best of all, this service is free, and it helps get your content in front of users who are most likely to engage with the post. Plus, you can use the feature to target fans of your competitors', which can give you access to people who are already interested in products like yours.
Learn more about preferred audience targeting, part of the Audience Optimization process, here: Audience Optimization
2. Post Video Content
Video has quickly become king on Facebook, especially if you want to engage your audience. These posts outpace all other content, including photos and links (whose engagement rates are falling), even on pages that don't traditionally rely on video.
If you want to increase your organic reach, then engagement is your friend. While Facebook favors those who pay for advertising, the algorithms also favor pages that perform well in the engagement realm.
As an added bonus, video can even help set you apart from your competitors, especially if they haven't embraced this form of post. So, if you want to connect with new potential customers and generate more organic reach, you need to post high-quality videos.
It is important to note that not all Facebook video is created equal, so you still need to make sure your content is solid. You can learn more about creating stellar Facebook video content here: This Research Will Make You Rethink How You Create Viral Facebook Videos
3. Select the Right Content
As mentioned above, Facebook rewards pages that have high engagement rates. That means you need to select the information you post with care.
By only posting your best content, you can increase your engagement average, which increases the odds the algorithm will favor your content over that produced by pages that aren't as selective.
But how do you figure out what sort of content makes the grade? Luckily, there are a few options that can help.
First, you need to harness the power of analytics. You can begin by getting to know your target audience through Facebook IQ Audience Insights. Then, use the available Page Insights to learn about current engagement levels and see a variety of helpful metrics. You can learn more about Page Insights here: Insights
Second, you also want to make sure that your headlines are designed to capture the attention of your target audience. Take a look at the tips in this article to get started: This New Data Will Make You Rethink How You Write Headlines
In some cases, you might want to test your content on another platform to help gauge the potential level of engagement. Often, you can do this pretty easily through Twitter, so consider posting it there before you add it to your Facebook page.
4. Invite Engaged Readers to Follow
Facebook has an incredibly useful feature that makes it simple to invite people who have recently engaged one of your posts to come back over and like your page.
The tool comes in the form of the Invite to Like button, helping to entice users who've appreciated some of your content to stop back by and declare they are fans of your business. They've already clearly shown that they enjoyed something you had to say, so the odds of them liking your page may be higher than trying to invite someone who hasn't interacted with you previously.
I've personally used this as a way to connect with Facebook users who showed appreciation for some of my content.
All you have to do is select the name of a person who reacted to your post and click the Invite button. Facebook tracks the people you have and haven't invited, and also lets you know when someone accepts the invite and likes your page.
Overall, my success rate was 15 to 20 percent. And, considering it only takes a fraction of a second to click the button, and the service is entirely free, it's completely worth the effort.
While organic reach is never going to be what it was even a few years ago, using the hacks above can help you recover some of what was lost.
However, if you have the budget for it, paying for some Facebook ads could also help you overcome the shortcomings left by falling organic reach. Personally, I recommend exploring the idea as there are a lot of great Facebook advertising features worth taking advantage of that can certainly make it easier to get ahead.