When Facebook added the extra metric beneath all posts that shows “how many people saw this post,” social media managers all over the web were enthralled… and outraged. The excitement comes from the ability to be able to see exactly how many people saw a post.
Take that, Mr. “What’s the ROI on that?” Boss Man! However, this has also struck a nerve with many social media managers who grab their hair in frustration when an LOLcat video goes viral and their post stagnates – “Only five likes and 25 people saw this post? That stuff was genius – GENIUS!” By strategically planning your content to play by Facebook’s “rules of reach,” you can maximize the reach of your Facebook posts in 2014.
Your boss may be hounding you about the percentage increase of likes on your Facebook page month over month, but as a social media manager, you know that likes can only get you so far. Facebook has increasingly made moves and updates to stress the importance of post engagement and reward those brands and pieces of content that garner strong engagement. So, what counts as engagement? Engagement can be qualified as any actions your users take to interact with your page. These actions could be:
- Liking your page
- Liking your post
- Sharing your post
- Commenting on your post with words
- Commenting on your post with a picture
- Posting to your page
- Tagging your page
Encouraging your audience to comment on your status by asking them a question or giving them a fill-in-the-blank phrase are ways to naturally encourage conversation and engagement. I've found that photo contests and flash giveaways also perform well and boost a page’s reach.
Identify trending content that is relevant to your brand
Facebook recognizes when a piece of content becomes popular among your network. Facebook will visually group mentions of a piece of content if it's shared within a person’s network by multiple friends or pages.
Keep an eye out for articles that are gaining popularity among your audience (or those that look like your audience) and post during the height of their popularity to increase the exposure this piece will have to your audience. This works best when you keep your audience and their interests in mind! If you're a beauty supply company, posting a video from a skateboarding competition that is going viral will probably not resonate as well with your audience.
A quick trick to see if the content you're considering is “hot” is to jump over to bit.ly. Paste the URL of your content (as if to shorten it) and the site will show you how many people are clicking on this link right now.
There is plenty of debate as to what fancy schmancy tricks will help you pull the rabbit that is Reach out of the Facebook top hat. When it all boils down, content is still king. You should always be identifying what interests your audience and what they're eager to engage with and factoring that into creating future content that will get you quality Facebook reach.
And of course… nothing’s gonna work if it doesn’t show at the right time for your audience, so check your Insights frequently for what times of day and what cadence works best.