Views from organic Facebook Page posts have been declining. A recent announcement from Facebook explains why.
“On a given day, when someone visits News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible stories we can show,” says Facebook. “Because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, Pages will likely see changes in distribution.”
To provide a better, more relevant user experience, Facebook has altered its algorithm to focus on “higher quality” content, which will appear more prominently in user’s News Feeds.
The algorithmic change is based on the following four factors:
- How often users interact with the Page;
- The number of Likes, shares, and comments a post receives at large and from fans in particular;
- How much a user has interacted with this type of post in the past;
- Whether or not users across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post.
What This Means for Merchants
Facebook has been reluctant to admit that advertising is the best way to get Page content noticed. However, a recent Facebook document entitled Generating business results on Facebook (PDF) leaves little room for doubt that organic placement is no longer sufficient to grow a fan base or gain visibility in News Feed.
“[W]e expect organic distribution of an individual Page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site,” the document said.
Facebook’s solution to this problem: advertise.
“To maximize delivery of your message in News Feed, your brand should consider using paid distribution, as it enables you to reach people beyond your fan base and move beyond the organic competition,” stated the document.
8 Tips for Merchants
Based on Facebook’s own words, to get content seen by the most people, Page owners will have to advertise. Because people spend more than 50 percent of their time on the News Feed, ads that appear there stand a much better chance of garnering attention. According to Facebook, ads in the News Feed get a 96 percent greater return on ad spend than those in the right-hand column.
Aside from that, here are eight tips for merchants to maximize the value of organic posts.
- Make posts timely and relevant. The more relevant the content, the more likely people are to engage with it. Before posting, ask yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others?”
- Add value to your readers. Give readers behind-the-scenes insights into your business, share interesting tips on using your products, and post relevant third-party content such as links to interesting articles or customer testimonials.
- Include the use of photos. Kissmetrics, an analytics platform, reports that posts containing photos get 53 percent more Likes, 104 percent more comments, and 84 percent more clicks than those that do not. So, when possible use photos. Videos also work well.
- Use simple, short copy. This helps ensure fans read the entire message. Kissmetrics says that posts with less than 80 characters get 66 percent more engagement.
- Create content that targets specific audience segments. This helps to ensure content has relevance and speaks to the interests of those targeted.
- Pay attention to Page statistics. Insights, the analytics component tied to Pages, can help you see which posts are driving the most engagement, views, and reach. With this knowledge you can post more of the same. Also, pay attention to the day of the week, time of day, and frequency of posts, as this will help you optimize posting activity.
- Encourage engagement. Ask questions, use polls and “fill in the blank” posts to stimulate engagement from fans. End posts with a call to action asking them to comment, Like, and share.
- Interact with fans and others. Reply to people who comment on posts with a comment of your own, and thank those who Like or share your content. This lets them know you are paying attention.