Facebook page visibility has been steadily dropping over the last few years, leading marketers to search for clever ways to increase their exposure. After all, what’s the point of using the platform if no one can see your posts? To that end, here are a selection of ways you can increase your page visibility.
First: Understanding EdgeRank and Reach
Say you have a Facebook page with 1,000 followers. When you post a status update, you check a few days later in the Insights pane and find that only 100 of your followers have seen the post. This number is the combined total reach of the post, made up of three distinct kinds of reach.
- Organic Reach: These are the people who see the post when you post it. No interference, no third party involved; just a post from you showing up on their feed.
- Paid Reach: These are the people who see the post when you pay to promote it. How much money you spend varies from post to post and from campaign to campaign.
- Viral Reach: These are the people who see the post when someone from the first two kinds of reach shares the post. They see it as “shared by [friend’s name]” rather than a direct post from your page on their feed. This is true even if they follow you.
Obviously, if Facebook showed your post to everyone who follows you, your organic reach would be 100% of your followers, your paid reach would be zero and your viral reach would be however many non-followers saw your post. Facebook, however, wants to make money. They cut back on organic reach to emphasize paid reach, both of which lead to viral reach.
How does Facebook determine who gets to see a post? That’s where EdgeRank comes in. EdgeRank is the name for the algorithm Facebook uses to determine who should see any given post, whether it’s from parent to child on personal pages or business to consumer on business pages. EdgeRank is made up of a few different factors:
- Timeliness. A more recent post is more likely to show up in a feed than an older post.
- Post type. Image posts, link posts, text posts, video posts; each type of content has a weight, and some types are more visible than others.
- Connection. This is where the ever-important user engagement comes in. If a user has interacted with your page recently, they are more likely to see posts from your page. This interaction can be anything from clicking a link in one of your posts to commenting on your page, checking in or leaving a review.
Combining these two concepts gives you a fairly complete idea of how Facebook works, and thus how you can manipulate it to your advantage. It all comes down to this:
- Post frequently so your timeliness isn’t decayed.
- Post weighted types of content, like links, images and videos.
- Encourage engagement to increase that connection between your page and your users.
How can you accomplish these goals?
Timeliness being one of the basic components of EdgeRank means you need to post frequently enough that your content is always fresh and available to be seen. A week-old link isn’t going to have much influence; it’s old news. A brand new post is much more powerful. Depending on the size of your audience, you’re going to want to post at least once per day. This also helps with new user discovery; if a user is searching for your business or blog, they’re more likely to follow an active profile.
Time Posts Properly
If you post right now, and your users don’t sign on to Facebook for another two hours, that’s two hours worth of other businesses and people posting whose posts will show up higher on their news feed, generally speaking. It’s beneficial for you to figure out the peak hours of activity for your users – when they’re online to see your posts the moment they’re posted – and time your posts for those moments.
Facebook gives you an immediate access button to boost the engagement of a post. It’s essentially a shortcut for creating a bland, unfocused ad campaign around that post. Rather than use it, learn how to run a basic, effective ad campaign focused around a post. It will work much better than the boost post button ever will, and it’s not hard to do once you know what you’re doing.
Post a Variety of Content
If posts containing video are the most heavily spread, why would you post anything else? Well, Facebook – and the users of the site – like variety. Videos have issues of their own, as well; the Facebook video player has issues, some users don’t like videos and they don’t always bring in as much engagement as easier, faster to consume posts. Post a variety of content; images, links to other sites, videos and text posts.
Run Engagement Contests
User engagement is arguably more important than any other metric on social media. It’s easier than you might expect to get; just run contests that require it without coming out and saying it’s what you want. For example; run an image caption contest with a simple coupon – or even just page recognition – as the prize. It’s free for you, it’s free for your users to enter and it boosts engagement dramatically. There are all kinds of contest ideas you can run; pick one and run with it. You can even set up a weekly or monthly theme contest to keep users coming back for more.
Statistics have shown that Facebook users respond better to humor and other positive emotional content than they do to negative, depressing, angry or other “bad” content. Avoid talking about what’s wrong with the world; make jokes about trivialities in your day to day life instead. Post something relatable and humorous and you’ll win the love of your users.
Respond to Comments
It’s one thing to get your users to comment on your page. It’s quite another to get them to stick around. One thing that helps is to respond to comments whenever you can. If your users feel like they aren’t being heard, that their posts are falling on deaf ears, they won’t keep posting. Thank them for comments, respond to their criticisms and generally engage in a two-way conversation. You are, after all, here to be social.
Customize Link Previews
When you post a link, particularly a link to your own blog, Facebook generates a preview of the website. You can control what shows up in that preview by adding meta og: tags to your site. You can specify the title, description and image all remotely. Do this, partly so that you can customize the appearance of your links when you share them, and partly so they appear how you want them when other users share the post.