How To Beat The Facebook & Instagram Algorithms
My followers don’t see all my posts on Facebook and Instagram; how to beat the algorithms!
WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ON FACEBOOK?
Do you get the feeling that your followers on Facebook just don’t see everything you put out there? And have the interaction levels for your posts slowly dropped over the last few years? Well there is a very good reason why you feel this way; because it’s true! It’s all down to the Facebook and Instagram algorithms, read on to learn how to beat them…
In 2014 marketeers starting noticing a decline in the organic reach of their posts. According to Facebook, organic reach is, “the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution”. We know now that this was due to Facebook changing their algorithm so that often only a small proportion of people actually saw what was posted. A study from Edgerank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for a Facebook page dropped from 16% to just 6.5%. And even more dishearteningly, research from Ogilvy told us that for pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%. The algorithm is based on literally hundreds of variables, but the posts we do see are largely down to relevancy to us as a Facebook account holder.
Photo credit Nuvi
Facebook claim the changes were made to decrease the problem of too many pages with too many fans. The cynical among us know that Facebook took such actions to encourage us to spend money with them. Boosted and sponsored posts can not only be targeted at specific new target audiences, but you can also PAY to ensure that all your connections see your posts. As a small business owner and advisor this was not good news. Many small businesses launch and base themselves on their Facebook page until they can splash out on a website. So the benefit of Facebook to small businesses and other users was drastically reduced, thus affecting sales/business.
Facebook took this a step further in 2016 by altering the algorithm for the way news feeds appear. Content from family and friends now appearing above other posts, further reducing organic reach for a business.
Enough of the bad news! The good news is that some very clever Facebookers out there have been working hard to try and crack the algorithm. There are many theories on how to counter the effects of the algorithm, I have picked the most effective and achievable to help your mission!
- Look at the quality of what your posting, not the quantity
- Think about the type of content you’re posting:
- Consider using video content and animation – this gains the highest interaction levels
- Always include an engaging visual – people rarely read posts without an enticing visual
- Is it high quality – would you share or like this yourself?
- Are you adding value to your follower? [eg. A well written blog relevant to your offering]
- Think about using Facebook live broadcast if your target audience is a younger demographic
- Educate your followers:
- Remind them they can go to pages feed on the left of the Facebook page to see news from the pages they follow.
Encourage your followers within your posts to engage so that they see more of what you’re posting…most people don’t know that’s the case and will be grateful for the knowledge.
- Don’t forget the call to action – because we want people to interact with our posts more than ever, don’t forget to ask them to do just that!
- Respond to comments on your post, even if it’s just a quick ‘thank you’.
- Include a link back to your website if you have one – this ensures your follower can find out more if they want to.
- Post on trending topics if it is relevant to your business – Facebook now pulls through content based on trends.
- Analysis – use the Facebook analysis tools available, but also learn organically what has worked and what hasn’t in terms of your posts. If followers went crazy for a blog your posted, try a new blog along the same lines for instance.
Although we want to beat the algorithm to improve our organic reach, it is also worth considering using Facebook as an advertising platform. Spending money to grow a relevant target audience, gain sales and ensure people see your posts is not a bad strategy if it’s the right thing for your business. It’s a cheaper way to advertise than print media for many small businesses.
IT’S HAPPENING ON INSTAGRAM TOO!
In 2016 Instagram followed in Facebook’s footprints by altering their algorithm in a similar vein. Exactly as with Facebook, Instagram changed their algorithm to show posts in an account holders’ feed in order of presumed level of interest rather than chronologically.
As with Facebook, this new approach means that not all of your followers see all your posts and of course that has an effect on the organic reach of your posts.
What is the order of the posts your seeing based on?
Infographic Credit: Buffer Social
Nevertheless, there are still many things you can do to counteract the effect this has and still reach out effectively to your followers. There is some cross-over with the advice for Facebook, but also some tips which are specific to the wonderful world of Instagram.
- Post quality content – higher quality = higher engagement
- Use filters and editing tools to create beautiful imagery – Research found that ‘filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on’, particularly the warmer filters available.
- Use hashtags – the number 1 way to increase your following. Think carefully about which ones you choose. They should always be relevant and if you’re a small local business, they should be regional too.
- Consistency – think about what your or your brand stand for. What is your tone of voice, what colours do you use and what is your style. If you take this through everything you do eventually people will recognise and look for your posts.
- Interact with your audience – replying to comments drives loyalty and engagement and takes no time at all to do.
- Who’s doing it well? Follow some really great brands who do Instagram well and watch what they post, when they post it and how they interact.
- Analysis – try and unpick why some posts have been successful and others less so. Part of refining your strategy is learning what works and what doesn’t for your business.
WHY THE ALOGORITHM CHANGES CAN BE A GOOD THING
With all the advice above, it is clear that the objective for us is to increase the quality of what we are posting. Driving ourselves to improve like this can only benefit our businesses and the added value to our customers and followers. So let’s see it as a positive and a challenge we’ve been set!
If you’d like to know more about Social Media Marketing, get in touch:
Kate Cotterill, HandBuilt Marketing
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