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Facebook reach

10 Easy Ways to Increase Facebook Reach and Engagement

Has your reach been declining? Have you been getting fewer likes, shares and comments? That’s when you need to channel your inner Rocky and bounce back in the later rounds. You truly can do it! It just requires attention, consistency and a bit of persistence. Let’s dig in.

Be Yourself

Remember to let your personality come through. Also remember to use guidelines to direct your responses to comments. That way, you show that you are a real person who is passionate about your mission while retaining a certain level of professionalism and consistency.

Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) compels your supporters to act. Asking them to perform an action gives them something to do other than walking away after consuming your content. Facebook has given nonprofit Pages a donate action for this very reason.

Use Images and Videos

Facebook is a visual place for storytelling and, just like movies and picture books for kids, nothing tells a story quite like imagery. Text matters for sure; images and videos, however, grab attention as your supporters are scrolling through their News Feeds.

Behind the Scenes

Social media is super popular for a reason, because it shows what goes on behind the scenes. There’s no need to ham it up—what you’re doing is interesting even if you don’t think so. Show the steps to your next great event, or the drama as you save a puppy.

Stay on Topic

You’re trying to highlight your mission and work. Your efforts should get people enthusiastic and inspired to pitch in, in any way that they can. Make sure that your content maps back to what’s important every time. And, remember to have a little fun too.

Curate Content

You should be sharing content from your fans, related organizations, media and thought leaders. You should even be reacting to your opposition. Sharing content raises all ships and make your Page the source of great news. Don’t forget to tag like this: @Org Name.

Keep it Simple

Overthinking and overwriting lowers engagement, period.

Schedule Your Posts

Scheduling posts allows you to set posts up and double check the copy before it launches. This gives you the chance to come back with fresh eyes so that you can catch that missing comma or flip folpped word. It’s also an opportunity to set up posts for the weekends and holidays.

Timing

If a post appears on Facebook and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound? Nope, so post when your supporters are online. Otherwise, your content vanishes into cyberspace. Look at your Facebook Insights or use the ActionSprout.com Smart Scheduler to help you.

Develop Evergreen Content

Having evergreen content in your back pocket for the lean times is always a great idea. This is content that never gets old (hence the name). Can’t think of what to post today? Pull out an evergreen post and repost it. Done!

Notice anything?

Did you notice something about this list? Each section is the average length of an optimized message on Facebook. Facebook will truncate any message that appears after this point, so the first few lines matter a lot! But see how much information you can pack into such a short message? Try it out yourself the next time you post 🙂

Facebook algorithm

How the Facebook algorithm ​really​ works (and why it’s not against you!)

If you manage a page on Facebook, you’ve probably had a rant (or few) about the Facebook algorithm. The algorithm is complex, keeps changing, is never transparent and you never quite know where you stand.

If you research strategies for how to grow your page and increase engagement, you’ll find advice that is all over the map. Post more; post less; only post images and videos; only post in the morning; tell people to “Like or Share” on every post; never include “Like or Share”; run contests; don’t run contests; keep posts under 20 words; longer posts are the way to go, the list could go on and on.

The one thing you’ll hear over and over again is, “the algorithm has changed again.” What worked yesterday isn’t working today so you’ll need to change your strategy again.

This can be frustrating to say the least!

What if I told you it doesn’t have to be this complicated or confusing?

Sure, Facebook will make changes to the algorithm, and some strategies will work better than others, but keeping up with Facebook and keeping your audience engaged doesn’t have to be difficult.

This guide will put to rest some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding Facebook. We’ll learn what the algorithm is all about and explore the reasons why Facebook does the things it does. Hopefully, by the end, you will have a better understanding of how Facebook functions and how you can make the most of it.

Facebook wants you to succeed on the platform. Let’s look at how to make that happen.

Table of contents

  1. What is motivating Facebook when they change the algorithm?
  2. How Does Facebook Filter the News Feed?
    1. Previous Interest
    2. Post Performance
    3. Your Page
    4. Type of Content
    5. Recency
  3. Serve your audience, not yourself
  4. Posting Secrets
    1. Repost what works
    2. Hard to spam
    3. Supporters don’t look at your page
  5. What this all adds up to

What is motivating Facebook when they change the algorithm?

One of the biggest misconceptions about Facebook is their intent. Many bloggers and social media trainers hold the belief that Facebook is against nonprofits. They believe that Facebook throttles the reach and engagement nonprofits receive on the platform to make them pay money to reach their fans.

This thinking is not only incorrect, but unfortunately, it also leads organizations to take a defeatist attitude towards Facebook.

What is true is Facebook is very loyal to their user base – as they should be! Facebook’s number one goal is to have its 1.5 billion users keep coming back to Facebook and spend more and more time on the site each day. In fact, their goal is quite similar to your goal. You too, want supporters to keep coming back to your content and spend time with it each day.

To do that, Facebook works incredibly hard to give their users the best content possible – and so do you! Giving users the best possible content is the algorithm’s job and understanding how it works and why Facebook continues to hone this system is essential to getting the most out of Facebook for your organization.

Does the algorithm do its number one job? Yes. If you look at Facebook usage numbers, you will see each month its users are coming back more often and staying longer. Does Facebook always get it right? Of course not, they’re human. But their intentions are good.

How Does Facebook Filter the News Feed?

Understanding how and why Facebook makes changes to the news feed is the key to getting better at creating content that will help you accomplish more on the platform.

First off, it’s important to note that if it were not for the algorithm, your news feed would be completely overwhelming. Currently, Facebook can show roughly 300 posts in the user’s news feed each day. But due to the number of friends people have and pages they follow, Facebook has to choose from roughly 1,500 possible posts from that person’s network to show them.

That means the average post is only seen by 6.51% or less of that page’s fan base.

The algorithm has over 100,000 highly personalized factors that it uses to decide which users see what pieces of content. Luckily you only need to understand five concepts to understand the algorithm overall:

Previous Interest

The algorithm measures a user’s past interest by paying attention to what each user engages with over time. In making decisions on what content to include in a person’s newsfeed, Facebook wants to know whether the user has ever engaged with posts that are similar to the new one.

The more a person engages with your content on Facebook, the more your posts will show up in their news feed. This cycle helps pages build real relationships with Facebook supporters. Facebook makes these previous interest calculations for each user based on every post they have ever engaged with. So, your content strategies must take the interests of the individuals’ you aim to engage with into account as well.

Two of the most important questions you can ask yourself each time you post are “why will the people who see this engage with it?” and “what value will they get from engaging with it?”

There are a number of reasons people engage with content, but one reason dominates them all. People engage with content on Facebook because they want their friends and family to see them engaging with. For your posts to earn engagement, the act of engaging with it (liking, sharing and commenting) must provide value to your supporters.

Post Performance

Post-performance boils down to one maxim – the more users there are that engage with a particular post, the more likely other users will do the same.

When you post something that earns good initial engagement, Facebook takes this as a positive sign and will share it with even more of your audience’s news feeds.

In fact, early performance of a post might be the best predictor of whether other users will want to see and interact with your content.

Your Page

If other users have engaged with your previous posts, Facebook will be more likely to show users your current content. Facebook’s algorithm is continually judging your Page and the more your audience likes your stuff over time, the more likely Facebook will share all of your content more broadly.

One key strategy to help your page succeed in this way over time is to focus on sharing highly engaging content on your Facebook page. Some organizations have trouble doing more than press release-style posts, and that will hold them back the one time they have a great post to share.

Be sure to build off successes. Repost high-performing content.

Type of Content

There are several categories of Facebook content: status updates (simply text), links, photos, and videos. The algorithm makes a note of the kinds of content a person regularly engages with and then shows them similar content.

For example, if you, as a user, have engaged with a lot of baby photo posts from your friends, you will likely see a lot more photos (and probably baby photos) in your news feed in the future. If you get a lot of your news by clicking on link posts and going to the articles, Facebook will show you more link posts.

Different people like different types of content, which mean your job is to post a variety of content types. You want to engage all of your fans, no matter what type of content they prefer, so don’t be afraid to try all different types of content.

Recency

Some people think this refers to how recently the content was posted, but that’s not exactly the case. What the algorithm takes note of is the recency of post engagement. For example, a post may not get a lot of engagement right away, but as people start to engage with it more, the algorithm notices this, and the self-fulfilling prophecy of the engagement cycle takes over.

No one can tell you how often to post or even how many times to post each day. Generally, more is better, but it will take some experimenting. The best way to determine this is to make use of the data Facebook provides in your page insights and use that to guide your posting behavior.

Serve your audience, not yourself

If I told you that Facebook is a social network, you certainly wouldn’t argue. But the truth of the matter is that Facebook is a platform* of* social networks. Users come to the site to connect with people, organizations, and content they care about. In short, to succeed as a page manager, you must serve your audience, not yourself.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of serving yourself as a page manager rather than your audience and supporters. What does this look like? Well, it looks a lot like using your Facebook page as a soapbox, talking* at* your audience, not with them.

Facebook is not a broadcasting tool; it’s a community tool.

To protect against this, bake your supporters into your content and posting strategy. Asking yourself these questions will help you head in the right direction:

  • What subjects do they care about right now? What are they already talking about and sharing that pertain to my cause?
  • What types of content do my supporters enjoy the most? I.e. Images? Videos? Articles?

These two simple questions will keep you in the right headspace to fully connect with and engage your supporters on their terms, where they are currently at.

The best way to answer these questions and keep a pulse on your supporters is to use the Inspiration and Timeline tools offered inside of ActionSprout. These tools quickly show you what your supporters are currently talking about and in what form(s) they consume their content.

Posting Secrets

Now that we understand the philosophy of using Facebook let’s look at some tangible ways to post better.

Repost what works

When you notice one of your posts over performing, repost it! We suggest reposting a piece of content as long as the reach and engagement are growing or the same as the original post. Once reach and engagement start to drop simply stop reposting.

Why repost?

When you repost a piece of content, it will reach, and, therefore, engage, a different slice of your audience than the first time you posted. In this way, you are increasing the reach and engagement of that post without having to spend a penny on ads.

When we say “reposting” we don’t mean deleting the old post and posting it anew. We simply mean resharing your very own high performing content like you would from another page.

Hard to spam

Now you may be thinking, “Isn’t this the same thing as spamming my fans?” No, it is not. It is actually relatively hard to spam your followers on Facebook. The Facebook algorithm is sophisticated enough to know that the content you are reposting is the same piece of content you posted before. Therefore instead of delivering it to the same audience as last time, the algorithm will look for new folks in your fan base that would also enjoy that piece of content.

As we said up front, Facebook’s number one goal is for users to keep coming back to Facebook. Delivering them spammy content is not a way to do so. Therefore, Facebook doesn’t want to spam your followers as much as you do.

Supporters don’t look at your page

The next question is usually, “won’t it look strange to have multiple of the same post on my Facebook page?” The answer is, yeah it might, but no one will visit your page to notice. The thing is supporters don’t spend time on your Facebook page. In fact they rarely, if ever, visit it.

Users spend most, if not all, of their time on their own news feed. That is where they see and interact with your content. And by reposting your high performing content multiple times you ensure that more of your supporters will see your content in their news feeds.

What this all adds up to

We’ve covered a lot of material! Hopefully, you understand Facebook a little better and have some new ideas and strategies to try. Let’s wrap this up with the core idea: Facebook wants you to be successful. Your success means more great content on Facebook. Great content is good for users, and it’s good for business!

I’ll say that again: Facebook wants you to succeed at creating great content. Their entire platform depends on having good content they can use to fill countless hours of their 1.23 billion users’ time.

So, if you focus on creating and posting great content that number one serves your audience, you’ll find Facebook really can be a highly effective channel for reaching, engaging and capturing supporters.

content curation

3 Reasons Why Every Nonprofit Should be Curating Content

As a page manager on Facebook, you’re facing three large hurdles every day:

  • The need to post quality content
  • The desire to engage as many fans and supporters as possible
  • The frustration over the organic reach of your posts (or lack thereof)

Fortunately, there is a content strategy that will address all three of these daily challenges. It’s called Content Curation.

Content curation is the practice of sharing other’s high performing content on your own Facebook page. Sometimes this is merely sharing a funny video or image that you think your fans would like as well. Or it’s sharing a trending, breaking news story that relates to your cause. (This strategy is also sometimes called “newsjacking” or “piggybacking”)

Page managers that practice content curation can post more quality content to their page and thus, reach and engage more of their fans and supporters. (We like to see pages posting two to five times a day so this will help you get to that target)

This strategy hinges on the fact that this content is already proven to engage users on Facebook. In turn posting this content on your page is low risk and highly likely to engage your fans as well. Think of it as a vetting system for content!

At this point, folks usually push back on this strategy. They’re concerned the approach feels too much like stealing, plagiarism or being dishonest to supporters.

“How can we be expected to take other people’s content and pass it off as our own?”

1) Facebook does not follow classic communication rules

The first thing we have to do is reframe the way we think about Facebook. Facebook is not a broadcasting platform, it’s not a soap box, it’s not a one-way communication tool. As such, classic communication rules don’t always hold up. In some instances, they are even flat out wrong or harmful to use on Facebook.

What Facebook is, is a social network. It is a community, a place for public conversions, a place for back and forth communications between your organization and your followers.

As such sharing content from others is not stealing, plagiarism or being dishonest.

2) Sharing content is normal and expected on Facebook

It’s time to reframe the sharing of other’s content, not as stealing, but as taking part in the social, community aspect of Facebook. Everyone does it, users expect it, so to be successful on Facebook you’ll need to become comfortable with it.

This isn’t just something for users either, most of the top pages on Facebook share other page’s and people’s content on their page.

In fact, some pages even thrive on only sharing other’s content. This is good news for organizations that struggle to create original content or struggle to create an enough of it on their own!

The fact is the majority of Facebook pages should have a mix of curated and original content. A rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your page’s content should be shared content and 20% your own original content.

3) Not sharing content could actually hurt your page

Reach and engagement aside, the fact that your page is not sharing others’ content could create ill will and negative feeling with your fans and supporters.

If your page is not taking part in this practice, it’s possible some users will notice it and get the wrong idea about your page and organization as a whole. They may think of your organization as being boastful, selfish or too good to take part in the Facebook community.

Moral of the story

Sharing content on Facebook is normal, expected and not taking part could hurt your page in the long run.

Making a point of sharing top performing content that relates to your cause can significantly increase the organic reach and engagement of your page. It also allows you to post more content to your page and fill in the holes when original content is not available.