How To Increase Organic Reach and Create More Engaging Content on Facebook

Updated January 2019

In its quarterly earnings call, Facebook revealed it has 1.49 billion daily active users, 2.29 billion monthly active users, and a total of 2.6 billion monthly active users when you combine Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Statistically speaking, Facebook is too big to ignore but when it comes to social media marketing, is it actually delivering the results you’d hope to see?

Over 80 million businesses have a presence on the social network which makes it a crowded and competitive landscape.

Top 20K Brand Facebook Page Posts via BuzzSumo and Buffer-Chart

At a time when organic Facebook Reach is estimated to currently be as low as 1–3%, succeeding on the platform is more difficult than ever.

If you’re struggling to make an impact on Facebook, then this article is for you. In it, I will share some best practice tips to help you increase your organic reach and boost engagement.

But first, we need to take a closer look at how Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm works.

Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm: What You Need To Know

At the start of 2018, Facebook announced major changes to the Facebook news feed which means that firstly, people will see fewer posts from Pages and more from personal connections.

“I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” — Mark Zuckerberg

For this reason, I recommend creating your own Facebook group if you haven’t already done so. Facebook Groups are one of the best ways to build community among like-minded people. Furthermore, Groups aren’t taking the hit that Pages are in the news feed, so using them in tandem with your Page is a good strategy to increase visibility.

Recommended Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Using Facebook Groups for Business

Secondly, Facebook will prioritize content that engages users in their Newsfeed. The only way the algorithms can determine if your content is worth showing is if it has reactions, comments, and shares.

Attracting engagement is central to the visibility of your posts in the Facebook news feed. To get your business content ranked in the news feed, you need to create posts that attract long comments and/or encourage sharing or discussion.

While kittens and babies are undeniably cute, if this has nothing to do with your target audience then don’t post them on Facebook. It’s much more important to be relevant and post on timely and current topics. Identify what your audience wants to read and then create that content in the most engaging way possible.

NB Note that Facebook continues to demote posts that use engagement bait as a way to beat the algorithm. These posts encourage responding with a single word or an emoji, or ask people to tag friends in the comments.

Here are some ways to find out what kind of content you should be creating to engage your audience.

  • Look at your Page Insights tab to see what has performed well in the past. Pay close attention to those posts with higher numbers of comments and shares. Think about how you can recycle that content into new posts, for example, add a new visual, turn it into a video, etc.
  • Take advantage of Facebook Groups to ask questions and glean insights. As Larry Kim suggests you should join and start Facebook groups that fit your audience to discover their interests and concerns in order to create relevant, lead nurturing content.
  • Use a tool like Buzzsumo to find inspiration by searching which popular content is most shared right now on social media. These are the topics people want to read about so it’s worth brainstorming ideas around this content.

Now look at each post before you hit publish and ask yourself Is it interesting? Informative? Helpful? Does it provide value to your audience? Facebook advises that the more relatable your content is, the more you’ll be able to connect to your audience.

Recommended Reading: 7 Places To Discover What Your Audience Wants To Read (So You Can Write It For Them!)

8 Ways To Create More Engaging Content

1. Grab Attention With a Compelling Visual

Study after study confirms that how you create and share content matters — with visual content leading the way. According to research by Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.

Facebook recommends each post you create should include some type of creative, like images, GIFs or videos. Make sure these creative assets are high quality. Avoid using blurry images or videos or creative that doesn’t accurately reflect your brand or message.

If you haven’t already started with Facebook video, then it’s time you did.

Video has become the predominant way we consume information. The average video post generates 135% greater organic reach when compared to photo posts according to research from Social Bakers.

Video today is interactive. It’s shorter, it’s mobile and you can drive action from it. — Facebook

Tips to use video more effectively on Facebook

Recommended Reading: How to Create Facebook Videos That Foster Meaningful Engagement

Insider Tip: Facebook recently launched a new Video Creation Kit which enables you to turn your existing photo assets into mobile-optimized videos. These easy-to-use templates include text options also.

2. Keep Things Simple

Facebook advises that “simple posts with clean creative are best at capturing an audience’s attention” and recommends the following tips:

· Keep your color scheme clean and consistent

· Include images that are recognizable

· Use minimal, concise and impactful text

3. Go Live

Facebook Live is still big news.

Facebook Live videos get three times the engagement of traditional videos shared on the platform and it draws 10 times as many comments as regular video. Facebook actively prioritizes live video by placing it at the top of the News Feed, as well as sending notifications to potentially interested audience members.

Insider Tip: Good sound is so much more important than crystal clear pictures. Find a way to capture fantastic sound.

Recommended Reading: Facebook Live Video: The Complete Guide to Live-Streaming for Business

4. Create Stories

Facebook Stories — user-generated slideshows and video collections — are short (around 20-seconds) pieces of content created on your smartphone and available for up to 24 hours. After this time your story automatically deletes itself, although there is an option to save your content. Similar to Instagram Stories, content shared to stories will appear at the top of the Facebook News Feed.

People share more photos, videos, and links on WhatsApp and Messenger than they do on social networks.

Following the release of the company’s 3Q 2018 earnings report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed that there’s a major shift in the way people are connecting on social media. Facebook emphasized its new focus on private messaging and stories, video, and communities and groups across the ecosystem in the coming year.

Recommended Reading: Life After the News Feed: Why Facebook is Shifting to Stories (And Why Your Business Should Too)

5. Generate an Emotional Response

Numerous studies have found emotional arousal plays a key role in driving social sharing.

Research by CoSchedule found that content with emotional value gets shared significantly more than content that contains little emotional value. Once you understand how to strike the right emotional chords with your message, you can greatly increase your engagement rate.

6. Add an Element of Surprise

Marketo’s 2013 survey with Brian Carter on why people share on Facebook found that people love to share amazing and surprising content. Highly shareable content tends to present something unexpected, unusual, counterintuitive, or novel.

7. Avoid Clickbait Style Posts

Facebook has explicitly stated it will demote posts deemed as engagement bait. While posts asking outright for comments, tags or likes was once the norm, Facebook recognizes how these posts often serve as spam.

8. Post When Your Followers Are Online

The Facebook algorithm prioritizes posts that receive engagement, which is why timing your posts is so important.

To optimize your engagement and reach, you want to share content when your audience is online. If you search for optimal posting times, you will find many guides online. You can follow these recommendations as a starting point, but it’s best to do your own testing to see which days and times work best for your own audience.

Facebook makes it easy to find out your optimal posting times by navigating to the Insights Tab and selecting Posts. Here you will get data about when your Facebook Page fans are online for each day of the week.

Once you’ve determined your optimal posting times, make use of Facebook’s post scheduling feature to post at just the right time.

Insider Tip: Data from Hubspot experiments show that engagement rates drop on Facebook when you post more than once per day.

Recommended Reading: How to Use Facebook Page Insights Like an Expert

9. Analyze What’s Working For Your Competitors and Industry Peers

Look at the type of content your competitors and industry peers are creating.

Identify which content is performing well for them in terms of social shares, comments, likes, etc. Brainstorm around how you might take a piece of content they have created and add your own insight and expertise to make it more even more valuable to your readers.

Insider Tip: Facebook provides an excellent feature for this: Pages to Watch, which allows you to compare the performance of your Facebook Page and posts with similar Pages at a glance. You can also easily check out each Page’s top posts by clicking on their Page name. To access Pages to Watch, go to your Facebook Page Insights and scroll down to the bottom of the Overview tab.

Recommended Reading: Six Tools To Help You Perform A Competitor Audit

To Wrap Up

While I have focussed on increasing organic reach on Facebook, the reality is that Facebook is a pay-to-play environment now. You will need to include paid strategies for a successful Facebook marketing plan. Use organic content to analyze and test to see what works best with your audience. You can then use these insights for paid ads. Your top-performing posts are proven content. With the right ad targeting, these posts can continue to reach and engage more people.