If you’ve managed a business page on Facebook over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed some shifts in who your content is reaching. Experimenting with different strategies for how to reach biggest audience is half the fun of social media for business, as there are endless ways to distribute content to your fans. The true inner workings of the algorithm that runs Facebook will never be revealed, as this is the social network’s secret sauce for keeping business pages hooked on advertising. However, there are certain activities that Facebook considers less desirable. Use this list as an internal audit, and watch your reach grow without spending a dime on ads.
Your content is too spammy. Not only is it off-putting to your fans when you try to hard sell them something over social media, but Facebook sees through your tactics and could penalize you by limiting your reach.
- You’re overdoing it. There is nothing worse than being bombarded with posts from the same pages over and over, and Facebook agrees. We recommend no more than two posts per day.
- The timing isn’t right. Knowing your audience is the first step to learning how and where to reach them, and a huge part of that relates to the time of day you are posting content. Also keep in mind that you are always competing against other business pages for space in the newsfeed; so it’s a fair strategy to post at non-peak times (after 5 p.m. and weekends) to tap into an audience you know isn’t being inundated with ads.
- You have low engagement with a particular fan. Interactions on Facebook are what drive the algorithm and give the channel feedback it can use to tailor what you see in your newsfeed. Therefore, if a particular user isn’t engaging with your content (liking, commenting, or sharing) they are less likely to see your posts in their newsfeed, even if they read what you publish on a regular basis. Using calls to action in your posts can help significantly, as they ask your audience to respond, showing Facebook that they are truly connecting with what they’re seeing.
- You have low engagement in general. This one is a conundrum, because if you have low reach already, why should you be penalized for trying to grow your audience? Facebook doesn’t address this directly, but if your reach and/or engagement are low, Facebook ranks your content below your competition’s content in users’ newsfeeds.
- You aren’t paying for ads. Although Facebook states that it doesn’t penalize pages that don’t place ads, organic reach has dropped by 20% in the last year due to changes in the algorithm. Therefore, most businesses are now spending advertising money to recover the difference, which means if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, your reach is likely even lower.
- You’re using third party platforms. Facebook can tell the difference between a live post and one that has been scheduled through Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or any other scheduling platform. It wants to see businesses interacting and posting in real time, not apps churning out archived articles that are backdated and bland.
- Hashtags are a red flag. They inform Facebook that you are likely feeding your posts from a third party platform, such as Twitter or Instagram. Because Facebook owns Instagram, that is your one free pass. But any posts using hashtags fed from Twitter are a surefire way to decrease your reach, as Twitter is an obvious competitor. (Are you sure this is true? Technically, hashtags work on Facebook – it’s just that nobody uses them. I think this is more a sign of laziness to your fans, not really a red flag to Facebook itself.)
- You aren’t reaching the right people. Facebook wants to ensure that your fans are legitimate, quality individuals who will benefit from your content, not inner circle pawns or purchased fans (yes, that is a thing) who could care less about what your business is posting. We recommend connecting with other local businesses in your area, that way you ensure your page is connecting with people who are viable customers.
- You’ve set up your page incorrectly. The most common mistake business owners that aren’t familiar with social media make is setting up a personal page when they should establish a business page instead. Even with thousands of friends on your personal page, it simply can’t offer you the same functionality that a business page can, and will be detrimental to your reach if Facebook can’t index your page through its search feature.
Many people think that Facebook’s algorithm requires a combination of luck and magic to succeed. While there are elements that we may never be privy to, these are surefire ways to grow your reach. Best of all, these tips provide an internal checklist to audit yourself, giving you a solid foundation on which to promote your page.[ois skin=”1″]