January 25th, 2017

Get to the top of a super competitive feed

With a myriad of businesses all vying for the top spot in the Facebook news feed, it has never been more important to pay close attention to the organic reach of your posts. Facebook is a powerful marketing tool for businesses but competition for visibility in the news feed is constantly increasing; it is all too easy for posts to get lost in the depths of the ever overpopulated news feed.
Businesses must step up their game in order to give their stories the best possible chance of featuring prominently and ultimately dominating the news feed battle. Although Facebook advertising is an invaluable tool for increasing visibility, it is also essential to ensure that your posts achieve the highest possible reach in your organic feed. With a comprehensive strategy you can reach the right people without spending a penny. Here’s how.

Dwell time

Content that users have previously spent an increased amount of time viewing, whether reading an article or watching a video, will get priority placement in the news feed. By analysing the time spent viewing content, Facebook is able to gauge what stories its users are most interested in and engaged with. Accordingly, the key to getting the Facebook algorithm on your side is to provide compelling and engaging content that users will stick around to consume.

With information available instantly every which way, attention spans are fast becoming a mythical concept. If you can grab the attention of your users for even a few extra seconds then you will have the news feed advantage. Given that time spent is an important factor in determining how well your stories rank in the news feed, it may be tempting to provide longer videos and articles. However, this is not a recommended tactic as it could deter users from engaging with your content at all. Here the primary aim is to ensure that users are not immediately clicking away from your content or scrolling past without so much as a pause for thought. This means avoiding clickbait articles, misleading headlines and lacklustre copy.

Diversity of sources

Diversity is important to Facebook and the algorithm is designed to ensure that the news feed is not dominated by multiple posts from the same person or business. It is for this reason that we recommend against posting several times a day, as it is highly unlikely that all posts will be seen by your followers. Nobody likes wasted effort and as is often the case, less is more. Focus on regular high quality content instead of multiple low quality stories and never post for the sake of posting.

Even if you are a content whizz and all your posts are top notch, Facebook is still unlikely to show all of them in the news feed if they are posted in close proximity to each other. Users want to see a wide range of content and Facebook intends to give them what they want. Nevertheless, if you are one of the lucky few to be overflowing with high quality content then a good way around this problem is to utilise guest blogging. This will enable you to spread your knowledge and content across a variety of publications and pages, increasing the visibility of your content and ensuring it does not get buried in an overcrowded news feed.

Relevancy and value

Relevancy and value are our favourite buzzwords here at Yellowball when discussing content and SEO. Facebook has a news feed mission to connect users with the stories that matter most to them. Make this mission yours as well and use it as the backbone to your own Facebook content strategy. Create and publish stories that matter to your audience by providing content that not only relates to them but also provides them with some form of value.

Furthermore, avoid relentless self-promotion – this is not what your fans want to see. They know you exist and they want you to provide them with value and relevancy. If you are offering promotional content, it is a good idea to include a special offer that is available only to Facebook fans. This will allow you to self-promote whilst simultaneously providing value for your customers and will also encourage greater engagement and followers of your page. Just ensure it is only a small part of your content strategy. Nobody likes that person who can only talk about themselves; don’t be that person.

Type of content

We often talk about the type of content posted and usually preach that visual is better. Video is an increasingly important medium and is the format that tends to dominate news feeds nowadays. However, it does not mean that all your content should consist of video. Diversification of content is crucial in order to reach and engage all of your fans. Not everybody likes video – some will prefer to read an article than watch a video which is especially prevalent if they want to avoid death by boredom on the London underground with no signal, so ensure that you cover all bases.

Post photos, videos, text-only updates and links. Be sure to monitor the reach and engagement rates with each type of content and adapt your approach accordingly. For example, if photos tend to reach double the amount of people as other types of content then weave more photos into your strategy. Nevertheless, be sure to continue including a range of content types so that you do not alienate any of your fans.

Time decay

Although more recent posts tend to have an advantage in the news feed, it is worth bearing in mind that engagement levels will trump recency. For example, if another page posted a story yesterday afternoon that generated a lot of engagement and you posted a story this morning that did not engage as many people, it is likely that the story posted yesterday will appear higher in the news feed, despite your story being the most recent. Nevertheless, being consistently active will help your posts to be considered for placement at the top of the news feed. Regularity is key, but as mentioned earlier, there is no need for overkill.

Facebook advertising

Although this blog post has primarily been about increasing the organic reach of your posts, we couldn’t possibly leave without mentioning Facebook advertising. A highly valuable resource for reaching new fans and targeting specific audiences, it should be utilised as part of your overarching social media strategy in order to leverage the organic reach of your best performing content.

Furthermore, we have noticed that Facebook tends to give loading priority to sponsored content in the news feed. Therefore, if users are in a location where the signal is questionable, they will see the sponsored content before organic posts, attaching additional value to adverts. For help with using these tools, get in touch with one of our social media experts.

Conclusion

Ultimately, you will need to employ a bit of trial and error to establish how to best utilise social media for your business. What works for one audience will not necessarily work for another. Experiment with different types of content, measure how each performs and adapt your strategy accordingly. The Facebook algorithm that may previously have appeared to be impenetrable and indecipherable is really quite simple. Provide compelling content that your users want to see and you’ll be winning the news feed war.

Much like SEO theory, the key to climbing to the top is primarily about quality content. Of course this is easier said than done and devising a comprehensive content strategy that will elevate your stories above the rest takes time and thought. If you need a little helping hand then remember that we offer social media training, monthly retainers and one-off campaign management services here at Yellowball.

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