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Effective Ways to Outsmart the Facebook Algorithm in 2018

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The Facebook algorithm often feels like a mystery, doesn’t it?

Perhaps that’s why Facebook’s recent announcement to push back against branded content in 2018 has so many businesses sweating.

In a moment of transparency from Mark Zuckerberg himself, Facebook seemingly laid down the gauntlet against marketers and brands at large.

And as a result, brands are rightfully concerned about their organic reach on the platform.

However, the recent Facebook algorithm changes don’t necessarily signal a death sentence for brands.

Not by a long shot.

Based on what we know from recent Facebook stats, the platform produces one of the best ROIs for marketers based on its massive user-base. Given that your customers are already on Facebook, there’s every reason for you to be there too.

The reality? Surviving the new Facebook algorithm means making some changes to your content strategy in order to bolster your organic reach.

Based on Facebook’s best practices and top-performing brands, we’ve broken down nine tactics to do help you do exactly that:

 

1. Incorporate Video Content ASAP

You’ve heard it a million times before and we’ll say it again: it’s now or never for marketers to hop on the video bandwagon.

Perfect for starting conversations and keeping your fans’ eyes glued to the page, marketers of all shapes and sizes can incorporate video on Facebook. You don’t necessarily need to create big-budget commercial content, either.

2. When in Doubt, Start a Discussion

As part of the most recent Facebook algorithm update, the platform is now punishing marketers perceived as trying to game the system, so to speak.

For example, Facebook has explicitly dropped the hammer on posts deemed as engagement bait. While posts asking outright for comments, tags or likes was once the norm, Facebook recognizes how these posts often serve as spam.

3. Activate Your Brand’s Most Powerful Advocates

The key to overcoming the Facebook algorithm has been under your nose since the day you started marketing on the platform. Yet so many brands overlook it—your employees.

Employee advocacy has never been more relevant than it is today. Since Facebook is prioritizing content from friends and family over businesses, this is the perfect time to start your employee advocacy program or rev it up if you already have one.

Your Facebook page’s reach is already somewhat limited by the number of fans/followers you have. And when you tack on these new changes to the algorithm, the number of people that see your content is going to be reduced even more.

Encouraging your team to share your content with their networks on Facebook instantly amplifies your reach. Not only that, but since the posts are coming from friends and family instead of your brand, people will be 16 times more likely to actually read it.

4. Fewer Links, More Photos & Tags

Conventional wisdom tells us that Facebook prefers brands to keep content on their platform versus solely linking off-site.

In fact, Facebook’s practice of deemphasizing links and preferring their own native content is well-documented, especially in the case of video.

5. Make Each Post Unique

As brands are expected to consistently post Facebook day after day, it’s common for businesses to run out of their own content to promote.

This ultimately results in either brands repeating themselves by posting the same pieces over and over or not getting enough mileage out of their content by only posting once.

The solution?

For starters, consider crafting unique descriptions for your posts in order to reintroduce them to your followers without becoming repetitive. Where you might have used a quote the first time, you could switch things up with a tag or question the second or third time.

6. Make the Shift Toward Facebook Groups

The reported drop in Facebook page reach, with some sources citing organic reach as low as 2%, is the latest Facebook algorithm’s elephant in the room.

While this doesn’t mean you should totally give up on your brand’s Facebook page, it does explain why many marketers are migrating toward Facebook Groups instead. As fans and followers essentially “opt-in” to a group and commit to discussions within it, customers who join your group are arguably the most likely to engage with your brand’s content.

For marketers focused on problem-solving and educating communities, Groups might be better suited to your strengths rather than starting a Page from scratch.

7. Narrow Your Audience

The beauty of Facebook is the ability to zero in on your audience.

If you have a widespread audience, consider narrowing your audience down by interests or geography. Facebook (and Sprout) gives you the option to set these preferences and restrictions per post. While this may initially narrow your reach, it may increase your engagement as a result. Think of it as fine tuning the relevance to specific fans.

8. Time Your Content to Perfection

The Facebook algorithm prioritizes posts that receive engagement, which is why timing your posts is so important.

To maximize that ever-so-important engagement, brands should strive to stick to a content calendar that taps into the best times to post on social media.

9. Embrace the “Pay to Play” Game

While brands should certainly focus on improving their organic reach, there’s no denying the power of Facebook ads.

The good news?

Data shows us that Facebook ads produce an overwhelmingly positive ROI with 93% of marketers already on board. Laser-targeting combined with so many creative options, Facebook ads offer marketers freedom unlike any other other ad platform.

Double-dipping some of the tips above, you can create a video ad that grabs the attention of your followers.

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