Social media was never going to be the same again after the emergence of Facebook in 2004. The platform started small behind the likes of Myspace and Xanga. Little did we know that this hybrid platform for only college students would become one of the most innovative web creations ever.
Despite being around for over a decade, Facebook is just now maximizing its profits. The platform remained "cool" for a long period of time with no on-page advertisements, only being geared for user interaction. The development of pages has created third party advertising that totaled $17,928,000,000 in revenue in 2015. Yes you read that right, Facebook is a $17 billion revenue generator, $4 billion more than the NFL in 2015. With Facebook on top of the world, just about any company who is smart has jumped on the train when it comes to advertising on the social platform. This has created the ever trendy "Social Media Manager" job that is highly attractive to millennial workers. A position that was once thought of as an interns role is now a management role for certain companies. Learning Facebook's algorithm for "reach" and "engagement" is a science, but with some base tips you can have a chance at becoming a pro.
1. Know Who Views Your Content: Facebook determines who sees your posts organically by their "reach" algorithm. Sure you can pay for boosted posts, but it is up to you to get your content to be seen by the people already on your page. Do you know the demographics of your audience, which posts they routinely engage with, their interests? These analytics can be found easily in "Facebook insights" to give you a better shot at hitting your target demo. Once you know who views your content, posts should be targeted around that knowledge. Generally Facebook will hide posts from people that are not at all interested in your product based on their engagement history.
2. Talk to People not at People: Facebook is certainly an advertising tool in 2016, but it's far from traditional advertising. Experts would suggest making 80% of your business posts not directly trying to sell something. Be funny, sell an experience, post a meme, or simply relate to your target demo. People want to be a part of the conversation rather than seeing nothing but billboard ads. I'm not saying to never do standard advertising, I'm simply implying to mix things up a bit to grow that organic reach. If the Facebook algorithm sees a lot of posts without organic reach in a row it starts to view you as a spammer. Once it views you as a spammer the reach will drop dramatically.
3. Post Content That Has Good Lifespan: Twitter and Facebook are different entities. It is easy to sniff out a Social Media Manager who is more of a Twitter guru when they post "in the moment" content to Facebook. Facebook is meant to let content survive for hours or days at a time, while Twitter content tends to be more about repetition and staying current. Facebook's algorithm will have no chance to reward you for likes and shares if the post is about an event happening in three hours. Planning ahead is your best friend, especially with the ability to create events.
4. Find Reasons to Use Facebook Live: Facebook experts will refer you to the "Facebook Live" function that has taken social media by storm in 2016. Allowing live broadcasts of your business, the platform elevates Periscope to a much higher level. Once you go live, your page will begin sending out notifications to a high percentage of your friends to watch it. Organic reach at times can actually supersede your page likes by simply streaming a live video. After the production is concluded, the video turns into a standard video on your timeline that can be boosted. Now filming just anything is hardly recommended. These videos should be thought out and a demonstration of your product or establishment for the average person. Always assume that the consumer watching the video knows absolutely nothing about your company. Also assume that the bounce rate is high on these videos. They need to be designed so anyone can jump in, watch for one minute, and get something out of it. Optimize your videos to be over 10 minutes in length for the best possible reach.
5. Post More Often: It's so simple right? Unfortunately more than half of the businesses in the Facebook game are not posting enough. Experts would recommend posts should be over three engaging posts a day. Some companies are scared to do that due to their poor engagement rate and giving a bad look to their company. If your posts are formatted for the Facebook algorithm and boosted a bit, I expect you will see progress. Keep the expectations within reason. If your page has 250 likes, know that it might take awhile to get trending at 20 new page likes a week. Stay steady, fresh, and stick to the plan. Don't let several days go by without posts!
The trickiest thing about Facebook is that these tips could become dated in less than a year or two! The platform is ever changing and as a Social Media Guru, it is up to you to stay on top of it.