Five ways radio can beat the Facebook algorithm and boost reach

Staff Writer

It wasn’t long ago that Facebook posts were receiving a ton of organic engagement.

These days it’s a struggle to get few hundred ‘likes’ even if the content is red hot. There’s no doubt that it’s getting harder and harder to drum up engagement no matter how many tricks you adopt.

According to Facebook the average person has access to more than 1,500 posts per day, but they only look at about 300 of them.

This brings me to the famous ‘Facebook algorithm’ that you may have heard of before.  I’ll break it down for those of you that aren’t familiar with it.

There is a heap of factors and triggers that Facebook uses to pick and choose which posts should be part of the ‘300’ that appear in people’s Newsfeed.  It’s basically what they use to sift through a huge amount of content that is published, turning it into a nice chunk for each user.

Most social media producers will know this as EdgeRank.

The old News feed ranking system was based on three fundamentals:

  • Weight: what type of action did your content trigger a user to do?
  • Affinity: how close is the connection between the user and your content?
  • Time Decay: how recently did you post the content?

The current Newsfeed algorithm, however, considers up to 100,000 separate elements. Many of the factors are based on how users behave on Facebook and the actions they take, which demonstrates whether a piece of content is interesting or not.

So how do you try and sidestep all this stuff just to get your engagement back up there?

Be mindful of negative signals

‘Negative signals’ include actions such as hiding posts, posts marked as spam and unfollowing. Negative feedback will impact on whether your posts get seen by your target demographic.

You have to work extra hard to counteract all these actions – you’re looking at 100 likes or so per post to reverse negative signals.  If you notice something’s off it’s a good idea to check your negative feedback for some answers.

Key signals for good content performance

Overall it’s assessed on positive engagement, but you should be focusing on shares and comments NOT likes.  Remember your Page reach is around 2% of your fans. The smaller pool of fans, the higher the organic reach.

Also, take into account the number of clicks posts receive. If you have uploaded the content organically, you’ll want to track click-throughs to your website.

Videos:  Concentrate on how long people are watching your videos. Are they making it past that golden 1 minute 30-second mark?

Facebook ranks your paid content

If you are going to use paid content to boost engagement, you’ll want to throw some weight behind the relevancy score of your Facebook ads.

Your rank is made of two aspects: the relevancy score and the bid. Remember your relevancy score has been created based on positive/negative feedback and engagement – it’s a score given from 1 to 10. Your whole account is taken into account with the algorithm, they don’t just focus on the ad per post.

Consider the three components that affect reach

The three main elements that will affect your reach are engagement, following and time decay.

Following: Your reach is limited to number of people that are following you. If you don’t have the numbers, then your post won’t be seen by users that are within your target demographic but not following you. Hence why it’s so important to build your Page following first, then concentrate on engagement.

Engagement: Monitor how the post is going; its relevancy score, positive/negative feedback – these will affect your engagement. Test different methods and find unique ways to get high engagement.

Time decay: This translates to how long your content is appearing within the Newsfeed. You’ll make the most impact in the first 24 hours as this usually generates about 90% of your reach.

Clickbait articles

Those ‘news’ articles you keep sharing via your Facebook page could be hitting you where it hurts, so be careful. Facebook decided to target them last year in order to reduce the amount of people that clicked on a post and then quickly go back to their Newsfeed.

They classify clickbait as:

  • A headline that withholds the information required to understand what the content of the article is.
  • If the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader.

They are not only able to identify posts that are clickbait but it also picks on website links. Eventually, the links that are posted by Pages that are continuously containing clickbait will feature much lower within Newsfeed.

So be very mindful of how many website articles you share and the kind of language you use.

Despite being a fantastic marketing tool, this should be an indication that networks need to take socials off autopilot, implement some solid strategy and publish high-quality content- instead of just winging it. It just means you’ll be more skilled and experienced when it comes to utilising Facebook’s full potential.

Social FM is compiled exclusively for Radio Today by Jess Frangelli.

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