Businesses on Facebook have noticed as much as a 44% drop in their posts’ organic reach since Facebook implemented an ongoing series of changes to its newsfeed algorithm. Starting with the release of Story Bump last August, growing your reach and fan base organically has become a big challenge for small business owners, not to mention professional marketers.
This month, Facebook announced changes to how text and link posts from Pages are ranked. According to their research, users are less likely to interact with text only posts from Pages than ones from friends. This finding has lead to changes in the ranking algorithm, lowering the visibility of text only posts from Pages and boosting other ways Page owners can interact with their audience and get more likes on Facebook posts.
Facebook product manager Chris Turitzin suggests “link-share” posts as a new way for Page managers to engage with fans and increase the reach of their content.
“We’ve found that, as compared to sharing link by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds.”
To help you adapt to the changes in Facebook’s news feed algorithm, we have five ways to reengage with your Facebook fans and increase the visibility of your posts.
1. Link-Shares as Status Updates
The best way to share links is to use what Facebook calls a “link-share”. Instead of embedding links without images into your status updates, “link-shares” posts automatically pull the metadata (title, photo, and meta description) into the status update box.
All you need to do is add a link in your status and let Facebook do the work. Copy the URL of the link you want to share and past the link into the status update box on your Facebook page. Facebook will populate the data, and the link will appear in your fan’s newsfeed like this:
If your blog doesn’t have an image, you can add one using the “upload image” link. A great way to find free images to use, is to look through our guide to 45 Free Marketing Tools for content generation. However, if your blog post contains multiple images, Facebook will give you the option of selecting which image to feature.
Lastly, once Facebook has populated the metadata into the status update box, you can delete the hyperlinked URL to clean up the appearance of your post. The metadata that Facebook pulls (the image, title and description) is hyperlinked so there is no need for the redundancy of another link.
It’s also a good idea to add a description of the link to draw your audience’s attention to post. Including even a short description can lead to higher levels of engagement.
2. Image Optimization for Links
Facebook has super sized the image size of link-shares to 526 x 274 pixels on desktop news feeds- up from its previous size of 154 x 154 pixel. That translates to more space and prominence when your posts show up in someone’s newsfeed. Just look at the difference between an image optimized link-share and one that is not.
The recommendations for Page owners sharing links are to include images that are 1200 x 627 pixels, although images can still be set to a minimum of 560 x 292 pixels.
Implementing these recommendations will make link-shares on your Facebook page more appealing visually, thus increasing click-through rates. If you’re posting links to your blog posts for example, adapting to these changes can significantly increase visitor traffic to your website.
3. Posting Times
Do you know when your fans are online? Before Facebook’s overhaul of its analytics dashboard last year, figuring out the best times to post involved a lot of guesswork or monitoring. Now, Page admins can find the best times to post by checking “When Your Fans Are Online” tool in their Facebook Insight dashboard. Since the news feed algorithm changes have made it difficult for your posts to appear in your fans’ news feeds, posting at a time when most of your fans are online can help increase your posts’ organic reach. Find out how to use Facebook for your business by increasing organic reach.
4. Focus on Content Quality
Whether you’re posting your own blog posts or sharing content that you found elsewhere, the quality of the content is directly linked to how many people will see your posts. Facebook has stated, “This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.”
This is especially true for Facebook audiences viewing content from mobile devices. So what factors make up high quality content? Ask yourself these questions before posting:
- Is this timely and relevant?
- Is this from a source you trust?
- Would you share it with friends or recommend it others?
- Is this content genuinely interesting? Or is it just link bait with no substance?
5. Respond to Comments
Take advantage of Facebook’s threaded comments feature and respond to fan comments and questions. Even if it’s a quick “thank you” or acknowledgment for the comment, you’ll be increasing visits to your post as well engage customers on your page.
Although the news feed ranking changes can be confusing and challenging to keep up with, Facebook is becoming more transparent about their news feed algorithm.
Make use of the link share, use images to attract your audience’s attention, and use the description in the link share to tell a story and entice your fans to click on your links.