Welcome to part 3 of Fighting the Facebook algorithm. In Part 1 I gave you a little intro to the Facebook algorithm and some of the approaches, Part 2 showed you how to find that content thats working and create little formulas to find that sweet spot.
Problem is, even when you get to that point when you know what works, the algorithm will still slowly diminish your reach. You want to keep it high so every now and again you need to give your Facebook page a little kickstart.
You do this through Facebook’s paid promotions.
Now Facebook’s paid advertising deserves its own series of posts, for the sake of this post I’m going to concentrate on promoted posts.
If you want to maintain a high reach organically, you have to support it with paid. Theres no way around it. Now I’m not talking major budgets here, in some cases £100 should cover you, and you probably only need to do it once a month. I say once a month as thats the pattern I’ve found in some of my clients. Bear in mind, this budget is just for a kickstart, this isn;t budget for running a campaign. To explain, when running big campaigns, like a product launch or a sale, its always good to have some paid activity planned. The amount you spend is dependent on the sort of reach, or goals of the campaign. What we are doing here is just waking up some dormant fans that may have dropped off thanks to the algorithm.
When is the Facebook algorithm affecting my reach?
First thing you need to do is know when your page needs this, if you are applying the processes you have learnt from applying part 1 and 2 you should be seeing a decent reach across your posts, by keeping an eye on that reach you can decide when you need that extra little push.
As mentioned before I use Sprout social for this, there is a simple area that shows average reach per post in its reporting section.
Not the most exciting image, what this does is give you an idea across a time frame you define as to what the average reach your posts are achieving. Granted, one or two lower performers are going to bring that down and you can counter them whilst applying the formulas you have worked out. But sometimes you may notice a significant change, thats when you need a little boost. By the way, Facebook insights has a great section where you can compare performance :
In insights you can specify dates and it automatically gives you a comparison. (just go to insights, click on reach, then click the organic options in the block on the right of the graph)
With Sprout social, I record each weeks average post reach in a spreadsheet, I add some conditional formatting that chafes the cell colours based on the percentage difference in data. For instance if the current week average reach is similar to last weeks it has a tint of Orange, if it drops by more than 20% it goes red and if it climbs Green. That way I can quickly see how we are doing. This will fluctuate a lot, sometimes when I see a red cell I may give it another week, I will tap into my formulas for organic and apply them. For instance if I see reach has dropped and I know a gallery gets me lots or reach I will add that to my content plan. Then check the average reach for the week again. If I start seeing a constant red line, its time for a promoted post. Test first, then pay.
So once you have noticed you need to boost the page reach, how do we do that?
Quite easily actually. Now you need to remember you are growing your page’s reach, you aren’t growing your audience by promoting the account. You just want to make sure all your content is going to get that reach it needs.
Lets spend some money
Heres the most important part before you commit any money to promoting your posts, you have to have your next three posts planned out and good to go. I have seen clients blitz money to promote a post, get the paid reach they need then have some shitty content ready to go. Whats going to happen is the reach is going to drop again… quickly. So make sure you have your next organic posts ready, this will help stretch the after effects of the spend and maintain the users you have just woken up.
Now lets spend some some money. Facebook advertising deserves its own post so for now I’m going to assume you know you’re way around it
Go to your advertising account and select the post you want to promote. (You can create a new one whilst preparing to promote, but lets assume the post is already up and you want to promote it)
Now heres the targeting part, you are not targeting by interest, you aren’t targeting by demographic, you aren’t targeting by location (at this point anyway) – you just want to wake up the people that have liked your page but have stopped seeing your updates.
Just scroll down to connections and select ‘Only people connected to (YOUR PAGE NAME)’ Do you see what we are doing here? We don’t care what their age is, we don’t care what their interests are or where they live, we just want our post to reach the people that ‘like’ us but haven’t seen us in a while. Your ad will display to users that are engaged of course, but will also reach the dormant users.
Decide on your budget, run dates and Bidding. In this case I usually choose “Optimise for post engagement’ you will pay every time your ad is displayed. (not the total amount of course) The cool thing about promoting a post is that it has an after effect, you may tell me I’m wrong here, but I’ve noticed when running a promoted post at least two following posts get a bit of the effect on them. (remember : the next posts have to be effective ones you worked out)
Done. Once this goes live some old fans will see your content and possibly engage, your post will get all the reach it needs from the paid activity but you will start to see the next posts reach start to increase. Put the data into your spreadsheet, and carry on applying your little formulas.
I hope this gives you an idea how to make your pages work harder, there is a lot more detail on paid activity and split testing and so forth but thats for another day. Parts 1, 2 and 3 are how I make my clients pages work harder and ensure we have a highly engaged audience. This then helps with all your other strategies and goals.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.