The Facebook algorithm change had many social media marketers up in arms. Engagement on Facebook pages has fallen by 20 percent since 2017, according to BuzzSumo who analyzed over 880 million Facebook posts by brands and publishers. Many now assume that the only way to get your page in front of users is to pay for Facebook ads. While these do work, there are still ways to increase engagement on your page without paying.
Facebook wants people to have a great experience on the app so the algorithm serves content that will provide that. When you get comments, shares, and reactions on your content, it signals to the algorithm that they’re enjoying it, which in turn will get it more widely distributed on the platform.
1. Know your audience
People using Facebook don’t want to see a sales pitch, and certainly won’t engage with one. They use social media to be entertained. Make your posts informative, inspiring or entertaining to get the most engagement.
You need to know the needs and wants of your audience to engage with them properly. Find out who is engaging with you by using Facebook page insights, look for details that could help you engage with your audience better.
2. Use engagement prompts
Make it easier for people to engage with you by asking a question or leaving a sentence to complete. Typically, when you ask a question, readers will start formulating an answer in their mind immediately. They may also look at the other comments on the post to see what other people are writing and whether they have similar or opposing views. If the question or sentence is relevant to your products you will engage with people who are your target audience.
3. Be relatable and human
People want to feel that they are engaging with a person rather than a faceless organization. Share behind-the-scenes footage of your business or experiences of your employees. Exhibition stand contractor Quadrant2Design regularly post about employee achievements both at work and at home which gain more engagement than business posts, although the office dogs receive the most attention!
Present honest emotions or shared relatable values. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, your audience will build a rapport with you if you show your emotions.
Always reply to comments left on your posts, that way your audience can interact with you which will encourage them to interact further.
4. Use high quality images
Facebook posts that include a photo see higher-than-average engagement rates. Simple shots work well. Facebook suggests a product close-up or a customer photo.
If you would prefer to use professional images there are plenty of free stock images available on the internet, but personal images tend to work better. You don’t need any fancy equipment, your phone will do.
5. Use video and Facebook live
The BuzzSumo study mentioned above also found that “videos now gain twice the level of engagement of other post formats on average”.
Upload your videos rather than sharing a link. Videos uploaded onto Facebook have, on average, 110 percent higher engagement rate and 478 percent higher share rate than YouTube links, according to a Quintly study of six million Facebook posts.
Facebook tweaked their algorithm to rank live videos higher when they are live than when they are no longer live. Facebook reported that “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live” and “people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos”.
6. Plan posts that people will save
People tend to save posts like recipes and how-to tutorials that they might want to come back to later. If they think these posts would be helpful (or make them look good) to their friends and family, they’ll often share them or tag people in the comments.
7. Make people laugh
People use social media to be entertained so if you can post something that will make your audience laugh they are much more likely to react to it and share it. Make it timely and speak directly to your target audience and you’re almost guaranteed to create engagement on your posts.
8. Test and measure
Testing is an important part of any marketing strategy. Use Facebook page insights to establish what content is working and what isn’t. The analytics will show you how many people your post reached and how many engaged. If something worked well tweak it and repost it a few weeks later.
9. Post when your audience is online
Your audience is more likely to see your posts if they are online when you post them. Use Page Insights to find out when most of your fans are online.
- From your Facebook Page, click Insights at the top of the screen
- In the left column, click Posts
- Click When Your Fans Are Online
Times are shown in your local time zone. If your fans are all active in the middle of the night, they’re probably in a different time zone from you. To confirm, click People in the left column, then scroll down to see the countries and cities in which your fans and followers live.
Post consistently, at least 2-3 times a week so people get used to seeing posts from you. But don’t go overboard or you will put people off.
10. Create a Facebook group
Creating a group with your fans is a good way to generate discussion and comments on your page. More than 1.8 billion people use Facebook groups. And those meaningful interactions in groups can create brand loyalty and lead to increased engagement on your Facebook Page. As the members communicate they will be reminded of your brand, generating awareness that might lead them to visit your page. You can also comment in the group using your page.
11. Host a giveaway
Everyone loves a freebie and getting people to comment or answer a question to be in with the chance of winning something is a good way to get engagement. Just don’t overdo it or you will annoy your audience. And make sure the prize is something people want.
12. Watch other Facebook pages
It’s worth keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing on Facebook. This will give you ideas of what works and what doesn’t. You can see how much engagement they are getting from specific posts.
13. Keep up with the trends
Joining a trending conversation or topical subject is a good way to get people’s attention. It is a great way to diversify your content and show that your brand has depth.
14. Ask friends, family and colleagues to share
Ask everyone you know to share your posts. This not only puts your content in front of their audience, broadening your reach, but also tells Facebook that this is good content worth sharing which will increase your appearance in news feeds.
Facebook has made it more difficult to engage with users without paying for ads that is true. However it is possible to still get attention on your page in an organic way. Follow these pointers and monitor what happens. A word of warning though, it may take time, so be prepared to be patient.