Are you wondering how to get the best out of social media marketing? You are absolutely not alone, in fact just about every business owner I speak to is concerned that their social media marketing just isn’t working as well as it used to.
If you are nodding your head as you read this then you have probably fallen victim to the last couple of algorithm changes from Facebook and Instagram. They pretty much wiped out most people’s organic reach. But don’t despair, here’s what you can do to get back on track…
What’s happened to my reach?
September 2019 saw the latest in a number of updates to the Facebook and Instagram algorithms. According to Facebook, it is the most significant change in the last 5 years and will change the way people use Facebook forever.
The first thing to note is that the way your newsfeed has changed. If it doesn’t look any different right now, it soon will. You used to be able to put 7 lines of primary text before the read now button kicked in. You will only be able to put 3 lines of primary text on your posts once the changes happen.
This means that you need to be even more succinct with your message otherwise it will be missed. Get the important stuff into one sentence.
The rationale for this change is that it compresses the newsfeed and makes it easier for the user to scroll through more content much more quickly. Even more reason to get that image/video right. You need to be even better at attracting attention from now on.
They have also changed the permitted height for videos to a ratio of 4:5. If your videos are taller than this they won’t be shown in the newsfeed – ouch. Although this is only a small change, it will significantly impact on what creatives marketers and businesses are sharing on the platform.
This also applies to paid content. Both paid and organic content now has to be short enough to even show up in the feed. What are you doing differently right now to make sure your posts are getting seen?
There is also a tightening up of health claim posts. Facebook will be reducing posts with sensational or exaggerated health claims in the algorithm, hurting their reach.
This means they may also penalise a post that promotes a product or service based on health claims, like magic pills or medicines to help you lose weight. So, if you are in the health industry what are you going to do with your social media marketing to make sure you are not penalised?
So, that’s what they are doing but how can you make sure that your business is still getting noticed on Facebook and Instagram?
What can I do to beat these algorithm changes?
If you have ever used paid advertising on Facebook you will have heard of the relevance score. For those who haven’t it is a score that is attributed to your post (or advert) to gauge how relevant it is to the people you are trying to attract. This is determined by how many engagements the post gets.
The more likes, shares, comments and emojis your post gets, the higher the relevance score. A really good post will get between 8 and 10 out of 10. The lower your score, the fewer people will get to see your post (even if you have paid for it).
From September 2019 Facebook is going to be introducing this scoring system to ALL posts. So how does this affect your social media marketing?
Let’s say you have 1,000 page followers. You put out a post and get 3 likes. You get no shares and no comments. This would likely return a low relevance score as Facebook would assume it is not a very engaging post and that people are not that interested in it.
This would mean that Facebook would limit the number of followers that get to see the post. This in turn would limit your chances of getting more likes or clicks so your post will pretty much die a death right there.
Now let’s say you put out a post and immediately you get 5 loves and 3 comments. This will help your relevance score and so Facebook will then push it out to a few more of your followers to see if this engagement is repeated. If it is then you will get more and more reach.
This means that you have to create ENGAGING posts otherwise no one will see them. If no one sees them it’s a waste of time spending time on Facebook right?
How can you make them engaging?
There are a few things that have been tried and tested by marketing experts over the years and here’s a roundup of some of them.
- Tell a story about your business or the staff within it
- Video behind the scenes – especially something funny or unusual
- Ask your followers for their point of view on something
- Share a funny experience
- Share a disaster – people love disasters and it shows that you are human and vulnerable just like everyone else.
- Put out a poll – ask customers which of the 2 new products they like best (or similar)
- Use images of other people – everyone can tag each other or themself and this gets the comments etc flowing
- Ask your staff/followers to like and share your post as soon as possible after it’s posted. This is made easier if you post at certain times on certain days.
- Like, comment and share other people’s posts. This shows Facebook that you are an engaged user yourself and it also shows others that you are not just about self-promotion
- Have a proper marketing strategy – just posting and hoping for the best won’t cut it any more.
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The more engaging the post is, the more reach Facebook will give it and so potentially the more engagement you can get. This can mean that you get more views than you have followers, especially if you are a new page.
Because Facebook is now all about engagement, you need to think more strategically about your followers. You need followers that are genuinely interested in what you have to say. If they are not interested they won’t be engaged, and if they’re not engaged they won’t help you to get your content seen.
Quality is most definitely better than quantity in my opinion these days on Facebook. I’m not just saying that either. Here’s some proof.
Here’s one of my pages with over 10,000 followers. Look at the amount of reach my posts get…
Pathetic isn’t it? That’s because I collected these a while ago, before I really knew what I was doing. They are not my ideal customer, they aren’t really that interested in what I do, they don’t know me and they’ve never worked with me. They are therefore not very engaged and so my reach is awful.
But look at this page that I also created with 37 followers. Look at the reach the posts on this page got…
That’s right, I got 145 people to see these posts even though I only had 37 followers at the time. This is because the 37 were extremely engaged and clicked and shared everything I posted. Facebook took this to mean that the content must be good and so it shared it with other people who had shown an interest in similar posts. They liked it too and so I get more and more reach.
There you have it, don’t worry too much about the numbers, concentrate instead on getting the followers that are going to be engaging with your content and helping you to spread the word, because this is the only way you will achieve organic reach from now on.
There is some good news though. LinkedIn still gets you in front of a significant number of your connections, but your posts need to be engaging here too. The more likes and shares and comments you get, the more people will get to see the post in their feed.
There doesn’t seem to be any hard or fast rule of what to post on LinkedIn as I have tried all sorts over the years and some of my best posts have been the most unlikely to get those shares. A video of an empty car park with just my car on it got over 750 views with lots of shares and comments.
A picture of my training room set up for a workshop got over 1,000 and so many comments it’s quite astonishing. I think people liked the anticipation maybe?
The trick is to try things out and see what works. Don’t just keep repeating the same old thing though as people will soon get tired and stop liking and commenting. Mix it up and see what happens.
…A Free gift for you
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I’ll see you in there 🙂