Do you wish your posts would get seen by more people? The way to get seen on Facebook is simple: Get better “engagement.”
Engagement is a metric Facebook uses to judge the quality of your page. It is measured by actions users take with the content you post. Specifically, they measure reactions (likes,) comments, clicks, playing sound (for video,) length of interaction, and shares among other things. It’s no coincidence that better engagement for you equals more advertising dollars for them.
So how do we HACK engagement to get our posts seen by more potential customers?
Here are seven ways to quickly ignite your engagement on Facebook and significantly improve your growth.
Hack 1: Perfect Your Frequency
Want instantly higher engagement numbers? Post more often.
When you post often, you give different segments of your audience more chances to engage with relevant content. The higher your engagement numbers grow, the more likely it is that Facebook will show future posts to a greater portion of your audience because the algorithm has more data on what your audience wants to see from you. In my experience, engagement has a snowball effect. As your numbers go higher, they will continue to do so as long as you keep doing what you are doing.
So you might have wondered, “How often should I post on Facebook?” (and maybe you have even wondered, how much is too much?) At 30 minutes, half of the people who will see your post have. By 2 hours and 30 minutes, 75% have.* Posting every two hours is a safe bet for many pages.
Supercharge this hack: The optimal frequency for posting on any Facebook page can vary greatly. To find your best frequency, test different schedules for a day or two each. Try posting every hour, every two hours, etc. Look at the data in your Facebook analytics and watch the number of ‘net likes’ you are getting each day – this measures the number of likes you have gained, minus the number of unlikes. Your maximum frequency rule will be as often as you can post and still see net gains on follower growth.
Hack 2: Use A Scheduler, But Also Use Facebook
I know what you are thinking. “Oh yeah, post every hour…how am I going to do that?”
None of us are machines, and none of us have time to get on Facebook every hour. Once you find your optimal frequency, you need to keep it up to see the results you want. Use a tool to schedule most (but not all) of your Facebook posts. Facebook has scheduling functionality or you can use one of the popular scheduling apps available now. (See FREE Facebook Planner below.)
Why not just schedule everything? Facebook still wants you to be an active user on Facebook. Page owners who schedule everything have reported decreased reach.
Supercharge this hack: If you are trying to schedule a lot of content through Facebook’s own scheduling functionality, you can do so quickly with a spreadsheet using their free Power Editor tool.
Hack 3: Create A Visual Brand
Social media is visual. Bad photos don’t go far on Facebook. You need to know the fundamentals of lighting and composition at a minimum, but your photos and videos need to be more than good from just a technical standpoint, they need to inspire emotions.
Emotions, especially positive emotions, equal powerful engagement on Facebook. If you post amazing images, you will see more likes, more comments, and more shares. All of the social proof Facebook uses to decide your content should be shown to more people.
Supercharge this hack: Once you have photography basics down, take a step further and study visual storytelling. Perspective, staging, and even color can all play a role in drawing viewers into the scene you set. This is one of the best classes I have ever seen on telling a story with inanimate objects through photography: Story On A Plate: Food Photography and Styling. If your product is a service, you might want to learn more about conveying emotion in photography.
Hack 4: Post Mostly Viral Content
This is one of my best Facebook tips for growth and is actually it is so painfully easy you won’t believe you never thought of it.
The best way to know if something you post is going to get great engagement is if it is ALREADY viral. And THAT is the content you want to share most of the time. Of course, you will want to share your own content as well, but it is best to share at least 50%-80% other people’s already viral content. Developing a track record for posts with high engagement tells Facebook they should show your posts to more people.
Supercharge this hack: Develop an ideal customer profile (Lesson 16 in Lisa Jacobs, Build An Etsy Storefront That Sells) based on real followers. On your personal profile, follow the pages your ideal customer follows. What’s showing up at the top of your personal news feed now? Is appropriate for your audience and brand? Is it being shared a lot by others? Even if it is just something funny or cool, SHARE it in real-time.
Hack 5: Don’t Post Updates, Start Conversations
The biggest mistake I see people make with their Facebook pages is scheduling only posts from their own site, or worse, scheduling the same boring updates from their site to Every. Social. Network. *cringe*
It’s easy, but it just doesn’t work.
Great conversationalists know that people often just want the chance to talk about themselves…so treat Facebook followers like real friends. Ask them what they think. Respond to each comment in a personal way, like you would a friend. If you can get your followers talking, Facebook will reward you. And even better, followers will develop a personal connection with your brand and become loyal customers who won’t just buy, they’ll sell for you.
Supercharge this hack: Get training to better your people skills. Apply what you learn about conversations on Facebook. Books like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and classes like Master Your People Skills with Vanessa Van Edwards will show you exactly how to do it.
Hack 6: Start Using What’s New NOW
Facebook, more than any other social network, has a history of promoting content that uses their newest functionality in the news feed. What does this mean to you? Be an early adopter and you will get priority in News Feed.
Facebook Live – Right now, Facebook Live is a huge opportunity to get traction if you have been struggling with getting your posts seen on Facebook. Consider developing content on your site, then promoting it with a live video. Just like with other types of communication on Facebook, the best live videos engage members of the audience and encourage them to interact.
Facebook is giving live video priority in News Feed over other types of content* for the time being. So, go broadcast yourself! Now! Don’t wait until you have a fully formed strategy on this one…shoot first, aim later. Reap the benefits.
Instant Articles – Instant Articles is even newer than Facebook Live, and was still in beta with select content creators up until April 2016. It delivers a near-perfect user experience when it comes to written content. Articles load…pretty much instantly. And they are formatted perfectly for a variety of devices. Fantastic for users, an opportunity for brands, and fabulous for Facebook’s numbers. People no longer have to leave Facebook to view content from participating publishers – it can be syndicated right to Facebook.
One thing to be aware of though, if your income is largely determined by page views on your own website, you may need to develop a new strategy to use this feature. Facebook will let you display privately-sold ads or join their ad network to monetize these posts, but 3rd party ad networks are not allowed within Instant Articles content.
Supercharge this hack: What is new changes often. Be on the leading edge of Facebook’s updates by following their media updates and blogs like Mashable, Ad Week, eMarketer, and Moz. If a Snapchat-like camera feature is indeed what’s coming next, you will be ready!
Hack 7: Join or Build Niche-Specific Facebook Marketing Groups
Did you know that there are secret groups there where content creators join forces on Facebook? Its not a trick, just better networking…and it gets unbelievable results. Find these groups by searching for things like “social media sharing” in Facebook groups and by networking in your industry in real life.
How they work:
Bloggers and content creators share their highest-engagement posts (that they have already shared on Facebook) in the private group once or twice a week. Other members of the group choose which posts would fit their audience and share them. Steer clear of posting direct sales or affiliate links. These groups are not meant to share that kind of thing…they are about great content to help build all of your pages.
Why they work:
1. Your content gets shared to new audiences. They interact with your content. You grow.
2. You get proven high-engagement posts to share that boost your track record. Not like a ‘share for share’ group which is considered spammy, these groups are all about high quality, relevant content.
Supercharge this hack: These groups can sometimes be exclusive and hard to get in to. If you can’t find a good group in your niche, start one! Contact non-competitive site owners or bloggers in your niche with followings similar to yours and invite them to join your Facebook Sharing Group. Even groups as small as eight to ten active bloggers with similarly-sized audiences can help transform your reach.
Facebook can be a leading source of traffic, customer data, and sales for your business. Now that you understand how to hack your page for growth on Facebook, get out there and get seen!
This post originally appeared in May 2016.