Engagement on Facebook Pages has fallen by 20 percent since the start of 2017, according to BuzzSumo who analyzed over 880 million Facebook posts by brands and publishers.
As a social media marketer, it is worrying to see these trends. But we feel there are ways we can combat this organic reach decline on Facebook and we’d love to share some strategies with you.
In this post, we’ll share 14 straightforward ways to increase your Facebook Page engagement -- many of which are proven and have worked for us.
1. Post less
Posting less grew our reach and engagement by three times.
But the main reason for the growth wasn’t just because we were posting less. It’s because posting less allowed us to focus on quality instead of quantity.
We were able to share the best content every day when we post only once or twice a day. When we were posting four to five times a day, we struggled to consistently find so much great content to share.
If you are a solo social media manager or a small business owner who handles your own social media, you might have experienced this before. Finding great content takes time, and you don’t always have the time to do that.
2. Post when your fans are online
We used to believe that there’s a universal best time to post on Facebook: early afternoon.
But not anymore.
We now believe that every brand has its own perfect time(s) to post. That’s because the best time to post depends on several factors that are specific to each brand: What industry are you in? Where is your audience based? When do your followers use Facebook?
A scientific way to find your best time to post is to look at your own data. In your Facebook Page Insights, under the Post tab, you get data about when your Facebook Page fans are online for each day of the week.
3. Create specifically for Facebook
What works on Instagram or Twitter might not always work on Facebook. For example, hashtags are great on Instagram and GIFs are great on Twitter but both less so on Facebook.
It’s best to create your Facebook posts specifically for your Facebook Page.
4. Try videos
If you’re wondering how to craft your Facebook posts, we think you should try videos.
From what we have seen this year, videos perform best on Facebook in terms of reach and engagement.
Videos now gain twice the level of engagement of other post formats on average.
Here are three more tips to help you get the most out of your videos:
- Upload your videos onto Facebook: Videos uploaded onto Facebook have, on average, 110 percent higher engagement rate and 478 percent higher share rate than YouTube links, according to a quintly study of six million Facebook posts.
- Experiment with square videos: After running $1,500 worth of experiments, we found that our square videos received higher average views, engagement and completion rate than our landscape videos, especially on mobile devices.
- Add captions: When studying over 500 Facebook Pages and 12,000 Facebook videos, Locowise found that 93 percent of video views happened without sound.
5. Go Live
Facebook has also been pushing their Live videos a lot in this past year.
They tweaked their algorithm to rank Live videos higher when they are Live than when they are no longer Live. Facebook reported that “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer Live” and “people comment more than 10 times more on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos."
To help you get started with Facebook Live videos, here are some ideas you can try:
- Share behind-the-scenes of an event, your work processes, or your office.
- Host a Question-and-Answer or Ask-Me-Anything session.
- Interview industry experts.
- Explain or demonstrate how to do something.
- Discuss breaking news.
- Share weekly tips.
6. Share curated content
It might feel weird sharing other brands’ content. That’s how we felt initially. But after experimenting with sharing high-quality curated content, the results changed our mind. By sharing top-performing posts from sites like Techcrunch, Inc. and Quartz, we were able to reach a much bigger audience.
7. Ask for opinions
It might be obvious that people comment when they have something to say. But sometimes, we don’t offer them a chance to say anything!
Asking questions is a good way to offer our followers a chance to share their thoughts.
8. Boost your top posts
If you have a budget for Facebook advertising, consider boosting your top-performing posts. Your top-performing posts are proven content -- content that is proven to engage your audience. This makes them suitable for a boost. With the right ad targeting, these posts would continue to engage more people, reach even more people.
And you don’t need a lot of money for this.
9. Recycle your top posts
Besides boosting your top posts, you can also recycle them.
This will help you get more value out of your content. When you re-post a piece of high-quality content, it can often generate as much reach and engagement as the original post (sometimes, more) -- essentially doubling the value of that content.
Instead of reposting the top-performing post as it is, change the post a little. There are several ways you can make it look fresh again:
- Add a video
- Add an image
- Ask a question
Generally, for Facebook, you would want to wait several weeks before reposting the same post if you are posting only once or two a day. This will prevent your followers from seeing the same post too often and getting bored of your Facebook posts.
10. Watch other Facebook Pages
The social media landscape is ever-changing. What’s working today might not work tomorrow. It can be helpful to learn from other Facebook Pages and see what has been working for them.
Facebook provides an excellent feature for this: Pages to Watch.
Pages to Watch allows you to compare the performance of your Facebook Page and posts with similar Pages at a glance. You can also easily check out each Page’s top posts by clicking on their Page name.
To access Pages to Watch, go to your Facebook Page Insights and scroll down to the bottom of the Overview tab.
11. Experiment with new content
Another way to keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape is to constantly experiment with new content.
Just a while back, images were the best type of content to drive engagement. Now, videos are taking the lead. Brands who started on video early before it became the norm were able to benefit from the trend the most.
Testing new types of content keeps you at the edge of the latest trends.
A technique we like to use was inspired by Coca-Cola’s 70/20/10 marketing budget rule.
You can use this rule in many ways:
- 70 percent of your content should be the types of content that are already performing well now, such as videos and images.
- 20 percent of your content should be iterations and improvements of your 70 percent, such as new types of videos.
- 10 percent of your content should be experimental content, which might become the next big thing.
12. Reply to comments
If you want your followers to engage with your Facebook posts, here’s something simple to try when they comment: reply to all their comments.
This would make them feel heard and be more willing to comment on your Facebook posts in the future.
There’s a psychological explanation for this, too. Moira Burke, who studied 1,200 Facebook users, found that personalized messages are more satisfying to the receiver than a simple Like.
13. Host giveaways (occasionally)
Contest and giveaway posts generally get the most amount of engagement.
There are two things we keep in mind while hosting such giveaways:
- Do them only once in a while. Having giveaways regularly can sometimes annoy your followers (unless that’s the main objective of your Facebook Page). I would recommend leaving a few weeks or months between each one.
- Give relevant gifts. Most of the time, our prize is our Buffer swag. That’s because we know that many of our followers would love to get a Buffer swag (and we are thankful for that) and they are the exact audience we want to engage with.
14. Create a linked Facebook Group
Finally, a potential resolution to the falling organic reach and engagement on Facebook is to start a Facebook Group and link it to your Facebook Page.
A Facebook Group with your most engaged followers would likely generate more discussions than your Facebook Page. My hunch is that the discussions in your Facebook Group will benefit your Facebook Page in several ways:
- More awareness: As your members engage with one another in your Facebook Group, they likely have your brand at the top of their mind. You can also post and comment with your Facebook Page. All these might encourage your members to check out your Facebook Page, like live videos did for Social Media Examiner.
- Facebook algorithm boost: This is purely a guess. Since your Facebook Group is linked to your Facebook Page, engagement in your Facebook Group might influence how your Facebook Page posts rank on your members’ News Feed.