With all this background, what could brands do to ensure their Fb strategy is aligned with the priorities of Facebook algorithm?
1. Start conversations that get user talking to each other
Pursuant to Fb, one of the algorithm’s key ranking signals is whether a user has previously interacted with your Page. And while nobody is going to engage with your brand Page as they would with their friends’ pages, these likes and shares go a long way towards growing your reach on future posts.
It means you must put in the elbow-grease before the Fb algorithm could begin to recognize and reward your Page’s value.
And by elbow-grease, we don’t mean shoddy, obvious engagement-bait. (The algorithm could tell, and it’ll down-rank your post and maybe also your Page.)
At the end of the day, the best way to earn more engagement is to be genuine. Or maybe try curious, funny, fascinating, or inspiring. Regardless, we have plenty of extra simple tips for growing your Facebook engagement over here.
And always keep in mind that you do not need to seek out controversy to get engagement. Tapping into a power emotion (cats; baby cats; baby cats in danger; baby cats uncomfortable) will do the trick, too.
2. Post when your audience is online
Another ranking signal is Recency that matters as the Facebook algorithm selects which posts to pop up people. Newer is better. Now is best.
However, when is your audience online? Well, pursuant to our data:
- B2B brand updates perform best from 9 am to 2 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
- B2C brand updates perform best at noon on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
3. Never update content that will get you down-ranked
We know you would never do that anyway. But still, just FYI, here are some categories of content that Fb has explicitly stated will get your Page down-ranked immediately:
- Links to websites that utilize scraped or stolen content with no added value
- Borderline content (a.k.a offensive but not prohibited content)
- Misinformation and fake news
- Misleading health information or dangerous “cures”
- Manipulated videos or “Deepfake videos” that are flagged as false by third-party fact-checkers
4. Publish high-quality videos longer than 3 minutes
In May 2019, Fb introduced that the newsfeed will increasingly surface quality, original videos. The algorithm is growing the influence of those three ranking factors:
- Loyalty and intent: videos that people seek for and return to;
- Video length and view duration: videos that people watch past the 1-minute mark, and which are longer than 3 mins;
- Originality: videos that are not repurposed from other sources and which have plenty of added value.
When you are a video creator on Fb, keep these guidelines in mind so that you are giving the Facebook algorithm exactly the type of video it wants. (And don’t forget tip #1: baby cats in danger.)
Pro Tip: When you are a wiz at the video, ensure you are using Facebook live video, which averages 6 times more engagement than regular video.
5. Post often and consistently
According to Facebook, Pages that post usually are more likely to be meaningful to their audience. Therefore, posting frequency is a ranking signal that could affect how high up in the newsfeed your posts are placed.
We have said it before, and we will say it again: a social media content calendar goes a long way towards achieving the type of consistent quality that’ll keep your audience engaged and attentive.
Hootsuite’s planning tool takes care of all of that when you are inclined to give it a try.
6. Leverage Fb Groups which are meaningful to your audience
At Facebook’s 2019 F8 conference we heard that Groups continue to be one of the most valuable parts of Fb, based on user behavior. What’s key for brands here is that Fb said people “might see more content from Groups in their newsfeed.”
Fb itself is doing its part to promote the function with a redesigned Groups tab that shows new activity. As well, by helping people uncover new communities with a Suggested Groups sidebar (as well as in other high-vis spots throughout the platform, like the Gaming tab and Marketplace).
With the Facebook algorithm prioritizing Groups content and Fb’s “F5” design refresh devoting significant screen real estate to Groups, brands need to plan to take benefit.
How? Consider beginning a new Group based on your brand Page. A Group could be where you foster discussion, education, problem-solving and, yes, solid entertainment about the topics that matter to your audience.
7. Support your organic wins with paid adverts
While your brand’s organic content could deepen your relationship with your audience, Facebook ads remain the best way to expand your brand awareness to the 2.4 billion potential customers who use Fb.
And Fb’s targeting capabilities might get even more vital for marketers who care about audience data, given Google’s recent announcement that Chrome is phasing out third-party cookies.
As you track your high-performing content, ensure you capitalize on the ability to turn it into low-CPC (a.k.a cheap) advertising for your brand’s voice. With Hootsuite Adverts, you could set up, test and analyze an entire funnel’s worth of adverts:
8. Let your fans understand how to prioritize your content in their newsfeeds
With Fb’s move towards increased transparency in how the newsfeed ranks content, your audience has more control than ever over what they see.
Let people know that once they follow or like your Page, they could also check the “See First” preference to let the Facebook algorithm know that your posts are essential to them.
Of course, this tactic works best when you’re consistently producing content that resonates with your audience and supports your Facebook marketing strategy directly.
9. Empower your people to advocate for you
The decline of organic reach has savvy marketers turning to tried-and-true tactics such as good old word of mouth. Except, you know, at scale.
That is certainly the premise behind influencer marketing, however, another, possibly even more authentic method to spread the word is by tapping your brand’s employees.
Whether it is just you and your dog, or you pay salaries in 5 different currencies, an employee’s great word is strong gold. (After all, they are the ones who know the inside scoop on your brand.)
And even if they don’t have the 1 million followers your official Page does, their organic reach is less limited. Here’s a calculator that crunches the numbers on your employees’ potential reach, if and once they’re empowered to share your model’s content to their own followings.