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Creating content to beat Facebook's algorithm and cut through the noise

Posted on Fri 2nd Nov, 2018 in: Advice, Blogs, Social Media by Rebecca Farnsworth

Brands are finding it a lot harder to talk to audiences through their Facebook pages as organic reach, seeing a post through an unpaid method, is at an all-time low. In short, audiences are less and less likely to see content posted from a Facebook business page. 

Organic reach for business pages has been decreasing for years, falling to 1% - 2% in 2014, with a core reason being Facebook’s constant reviewing of its algorithm – the way it decides what content is shown to users. Facebook was made with the objective of connecting people, however it has been criticised in recent years for prioritising commercial content. It has responded by altering its algorithm to help genuine interactions between friends and family reach audiences. Business pages can now struggle to reach audiences and they often have to pay for this privilege, known as paid reach.

Earlier this year, Facebook changed its algorithm yet again and your News Feed now has a friend interaction focus stronger than ever. This approach has been given the name Facebook Zero by some critics – as organic reach for business pages drops and is expected to become zero.

This new approach also favours sharing content with other users that has high levels of engagement, as it recognises this as being more meaningful. Insight shows a steady decline in organic engagement on business pages since Q1 2017 where pages collected nearly 30 billion total interactions, but this number has now dropped to 12 billion. Business pages are struggling to get high engagement levels because they are not reaching audiences and when they do, it may not necessarily be content they want to see.

Organic reach is also on the decline because Facebook is an extremely competitive platform; there are lots of brands, with too much similar or irrelevant content, trying to communicate to the same audiences.

However, while there are challenges, it is not impossible to cut through the noise. At the heart of this is understanding audiences. If we understand the audience, we can create relevant content for them, increasing engagement and therefore reach.

With 1.47 billion daily active users on Facebook (average June 2018), the platform is an important resource and by following some simple tips brands can increase their chances of reaching these vital consumers:

1)    Incorporate video

When creating social media content plans, it is important to think about the different formats that posts can take and, if possible, incorporate video into this. Facebook prioritises video content on the platform, as it helps to keep users on the site for longer and generate conversations, so these posts tend to achieve a larger reach and potentially more engagement.

A page which particularly focuses on video content is Tastecard. To make sure it stands out, it has taken an engagement approach, which encourages followers to spend even longer on its videos. One example is its ‘name that food’ video, which asks the public to name food items that look unusual. The content in the form of a video is prioritised by Facebook and because of its humorous and relatable nature, it received high levels of engagement, meaning it would then be pushed out further to other users.

2)    Clever copy

It’s also extremely important to get the copy text right. To fight through the ‘people-focused’ algorithm, use ‘buzz’ or ‘trigger’ words, which will influence Facebook into thinking you are creating meaningful interactions. For example, ‘congratulations’ is a term likely to be posted to a family member, so brands can use similar language and phrases to push through its content.

Facebook loves engagement, so we always aim to encourage users to DO something. Ask them a question, start a conversation or simply get them to like if they agree!

3)    Targeting

Publishing content at the right time is also key and for this you need to understand your audience. What time is best to target mums? You are unlikely to hit mums at 3pm on a weekday, but perhaps before the children are up pre 7am, or once the kids are tucked up in bed at 8pm.

4)    Budget

There is no getting away from the fact that companies need to spend on Facebook to get their content seen. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Clever targeting through boosting posts means we can talk to the right audience, creating even more valuable interaction and brand awareness.

Following tips like this can help brands stand out and fight through to peoples’ News Feeds. Take Nando’s. It uses a range of different techniques to speak with its audiences, from video content, to lifestyle photos and shots of the food. It’s content is also personal and human – as if a friend – with a focus on student living and stories relating to its malaria support. In return, posts are receiving quality engagement from audiences, not only with high levels of likes and shares, but also commentary.

Facebook is putting the audience first and rewarding content that produces meaningful engagement. This suits us just fine – we also put the audience first - with them at the centre of each of our social media strategies. Find out how we can help maximise your Facebook page by dropping us a line.

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