In a concerted effort to improve the user experience Facebook are constantly updating and altering the Facebook algorithm. The result is leaving many small business owners and entrepreneurs feeling like anything we post must be boosted to gain traction.
Not entirely true, says Dennis Lu, Facebook ads expert and CTO of BlitzMetrics.
HOW TO ORGANICALLY INCREASE FOLLOWERS
ENGAGEMENT. The primary purpose of Facebook’s algorithm is to ensure that everything in a user’s (News) feed is relevant to them. Likes, comments, sharings, check-ins and reviews all encourage Facebook to increase your page’s relevance score and push your posts organically into someone’s news feed. Facebook actually provides you with a relevance score for a paid post, but the same algorithm applies to non-paid posts.
When you hit publish, Facebook shares your post with 1% of your active audience (aka your followers who are currently logged-in and active on their accounts). If someone engages with that post, Facebook sees this as a green light to show your content to a wider audience. Therefore, dum da da da, more engagement = more views, no real surprises there, however, according to Dennis, Facebook assigns a “point-based system” ranking engagement.
Based on Dennis’ research, Facebook ranks engagement as follows: Likes = 1, Comments = 6 and Shares, Check-ins and Reviews = 13. Comparatively negative engagement (IE hide this post, spam or unlike page) = minus 100.
The algorithm needs to create an experience that makes users want to come back to Facebook. That’s why Facebook says, “It’s about the user experience.” – Dennis Lu
Other determining factors, affecting your relevance score, include:
- Whether your post is of interest to your followers based on what else they have engaged with
- Whether your post has time relevance (IE your friend has just checked into a coffee shop two streets from your current location)
- The media type – video content will rank higher than photos
- Whether photos are part of an album (this will rank higher) or a single post
- Passive clicks that don’t generate a story (IE someone viewing your photos, albums and previous posts; but not liking, commenting or sharing)
- Creation and viewings of Facebook Stories and augmented reality (both of these rank high); and
- Whether your audience is engaging with you through Messenger (also high ranking)
Your relevance score is also affected by your click-back rate (IE page or website views) and how long your video was viewed for (IE a 3 second view will earn you 0.25 points, whereas a 60 second view will earn you significantly more). The average video view time is 6 seconds.
HOW TO WORK OUT YOUR RELEVANCE SCORE
To gain an understanding of your relevance score, download the CSV file with your post insights, create a spreadsheet, and then weigh each post to calculate your estimated EdgeRank / relevance score. Remember this is only a rough estimate, no-one, but Facebook, can ever tell you with 100% accuracy what your number is.
Facebook provides more data to you through the Ads Manager platform (even for organic posts), but high level information can also be accessed through Insights from your page.
WHAT’S A GOOD LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT?
An engagement rate of 10%+ is considered exceptionally high and will ensure your post is pushed into the feeds of many others. The average page gets between 3-5% activity from your followers. IE Embrace Marketing‘s Facebook page has 170 followers, so I can expect that between 5 – 8.5 people will engage with my posts, which is true, that’s the level of engagement I usually get. If I have a post that has received 17 engagements+, I know that this post will do exceptionally well organically (and even better paid).
AVOID NEGATIVE FEEDBACK AT ALL COSTS
Deep diving into your metrics (through Ads Manager) is the best way to understand which posts your followers are really engaging with. Some marketing gurus suggest posting multiple times a day to increase your reach. Facebook now determines this as a negative, unless each post is receiving significant interaction. This negative feedback will send your page into a downward spiral because if you continue to have low reach and high negative feedback, Facebook begins to prejudge your content. The same is true of positive reach and positive engagement.
ONLY BOOST POSTS WITH HIGH ORGANIC ENGAGEMENT
Boosting posts can be expensive, which is why Dennis recommends only boosting posts that are receiving high organic engagement. Let the algorithm do the work for you. If a post has received high organic engagement, Facebook has already assigned a high relevance score to that post, so it will do better paid, than a post with low organic engagement.
He also recommends boosting posts to two audiences:
1. People who would have seen the post if you had more power in their News Feed
2. The media or influencers relevant to your brand
Dennis will only ever invest $1 a day for 7 days before deciding if the engagement and reach is worth further investment.
Click here to read / watch Dennis Lu’s entire interview with Social Media Examiner
- Only share content at times when your audience is at its highest
- Add photos, videos, check-ins and text posts to albums to increase your relevance score
- Create good video content – consider hiring a videographer or a video creation company, it might be cheaper than you think
- Don’t over post, you want high engagement with every post
- Start using Facebook stories and augmented reality to increase your relevance score
- Look at Messenger bots to increase your reply rate
- Run video campaigns that drive people back to your website and page
- Don’t always push “sell” posts
- Encourage check-ins and reviews as much as possible from your current clientele
- Regularly log in to your Ads Manager and assess your metrics to determine which posts are receiving the highest engagement; and
Remember, the average person has 500 Facebook friends and follows 150 pages, so the algorithm is strict. Facebook also alters the algorithm for users that log in twice a day vs those that log in 20 times a day. There is a lot of content Facebook has to cut through to decide what gets shown to who, so always put your best foot forward. Don’t rush your posts, with Facebook, now less is more.
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