By Emma Fitzpatrick
Remember last year when we talked about how and why your Facebook organic reach was plummeting?
Bad news—it’s still happening. After analyzing 880 million Facebook posts, the average engagement rate for brands and publishers has dropped 20% in 2017.
It’s time to change the narrative and combat that statistic by gaming Facebook’s algorithm. Below learn five data-driven tips to create Facebook content that will perform better.
- Think less about you and more about them.
Is this something you want to tell your users? Or is it something your users want to know?
It should be the latter nine out of ten times. That’s what the 30/60/10 rule is all about. Remember: 30% of your social content should be made by your bank, 60% should be curated, and 10% should be self-promotional.
In short, you want to deliver educational, entertaining content that piques your users’ interests. Even though it’s technically your bank’s Facebook page, it’s not all about you. It’s about your followers.
Plus, by sharing more of the content your users want (even if your bank didn’t make it), your Facebook posts will perform better. And the good times don’t stop there. If your content is already being organically viewed, liked, and shared, it will also be ranked higher in the News Feed. But if you ask followers to like or share a post, Facebook will deem the content inauthentic and penalize you.
Overall, this tactic works. The folks at Buffer tripled their reach and doubled their engagement rate. Sharing more curated content was a crucial pivot for them. About 64% of their top posts—each with an average reach of 107,000—were curated.
- It’s all about video.
While engagement on links and images fell the most on Facebook, video engagement held strong. Videos on Facebook now have, on average, double the engagement rate of other content types.
Videos get (and keep) people’s attention, so upload more videos. Facebook native videos received 530% more comments than YouTube videos posted on Facebook.
To optimize interactions, post videos between 60 and 90 seconds—or broadcast 15-minute live videos. Videos don’t have to be complicated or take forever to make. (More on that next month.)
As you try to create as many videos as you can, don’t fall into the trap of fake videos—you know the ones. Some publishers have been uploading images that play as short videos, so they’ll be ranked higher in the News Feed. Or you may have seen pictures that look like videos, but when clicked, go to an article. Facebook is now demoting and penalizing these hacks.
- Keep the post short, but the linked article long.
Keep your Facebook posts at or below 50 characters for the most engagement. After that, the more characters you add, the more your engagement drops.
Don’t worry! You will still have space to speak your mind. Posts that link to longer articles (over 1,000 words) get the most engagement. Specifically, stories between 3,000 and 10,000 words get shared the most on Facebook.
Before you post your link, test its load speed. Facebook’s News Feed shows more posts with links that load in under three seconds and fewer posts with slow-loading links.
- Get a head start.
Speaking of sharing articles, the title of your story is super important. Be sure to avoid clickbait headlines, which are any titles that withhold information and force the reader to click. No one likes posts like, “Want to save piles of money? You HAVE to try this trick…” Because of that, Facebook ranks articles with clickbait headlines lower in the News Feed.
On the flip side, headlines that are between 12 and 18 words (or 80 to 95 characters) get the most engagement. The most successful phrases to start headlines are “# Reasons Why…,” “# Things You…,” and “This is What…” As you’re popping in those numbers, stick to 10, 5, and 15.
- Boost the best.
To compensate for the difference in organic reach, many companies across all sectors are spending more to sponsor or advertise Facebook content.
But be picky when deciding which posts to boost. Generally, you should wait 4 to 24 hours after posting to gauge performance. Then, if a post is significantly outperforming your average, go ahead and boost. Facebook will often send you a notification suggesting a boost if it detects a stellar post.
Boosting works best as an amplification strategy when you already know you have something awesome.
Emma Fitzpatrick is a Philly-based freelance writer and marketer, whose specialties include content marketing, social media marketing and short, snappy writing. Pick her brain at firstname.lastname@example.org.