If there is one thing we can count on with Facebook, it’s change.
And with new changes to the Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm (again) marketers are scrambling to work out how this will impact their business.
Here are 7 Surefire Ways to Stay Invisible while Facebook Algorithm Changes. Or… you can do the opposite and build a “visible” presence online.
I have been wanting to write this post for a while, but just didn’t have the right thoughts gathered up.
Being asked to contribute to a number of awesome posts about the changes to the Facebook Algorithm recently got me thinking more about writing my own “take” on the most recent changes and what this means.
The thing is, these tips are not just about the latest changes to Facebook. They apply to any changes to Facebook in the past, present and most likely the future. In a nutshell, they apply to your online marketing in general.
As with most of my advice, I pull everything back to tried and true strategies that work year in and year out… and most of these tips are just that. Simple.
Let’s jump in:
7 Surefire Ways to Stay Invisible with Facebook Algorithm Changes
#1 Provide Low Quality, Unhelpful, Promotional Content
The most recent changes on Facebook’s Algorithm clearly state that they in an attempt to show people what they want to see, Facebook will be showing people more content from people and pages they care about and less “promotional content”.
I don’t really need to harp on about this do I?
If you want to be the Invisible Man, Woman, or Business on Facebook… post loads of promotional stuff!
Facebook describes this “promotional stuff” within organic posts as:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
You can read their new guidelines here. Facebook differentiates between organic promotional posts and those that are paid ads, saying that ad content is controlled, so users are “used to” a certain amount of ads on their newsfeed.
However, when page owners push a lot of promotional content in their organic posts, it can be a turn off to fans.
Solution? Post high quality, helpful, non-promotional content.
To do this, focus on quality visual content, link posts that lead to more quality posts (not to affiliate or sales/webinar/product pages), and upload original video directly to Facebook. Get creative!
#2 Post like a marketer, not a Fan
When you focus on providing content that is super useful to your fans, everyone is happy.
But if you post like a marketer, then it’s a surefire way to make your posts invisible. Facebook said so in #1.
Solution? Ensure that you post “native” content that fans love to see and would post themselves on Facebook.
To find out more about how to post like a fan (not a marketer) then read this post for more tips.
If you get a little “stuck” and feel you want to “sell” on Facebook, come back to this question. Does this post provide value? Does it inform, entertain, educate, empower or help my fans in some way. If you can answer yes, you are on the right track.
Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t sell at all. But primarily, on Facebook, it’s all about building relationships. Fans don’t come to Facebook to buy your stuff (sorry, but it’s true). They come to connect with family and friends and be entertained.
The best way to “sell” to fans on Facebook is to eventually lead them off Facebook to be a subscriber, where you can provide further value (more of that below), or.. yes, it’s true…use Ads. But we will get to that in a moment.
In the meantime, start out by posting like a fan. You won’t regret it.
#3 Forget to chum the waters first
If you go fishing, you can throw in a baited hook and hope for a lucky break or you can “chum” the waters first to get some fish frenzy happening.
Joshua Parkinson, CEO of Post Planner, talks about the concept of “chumming the waters” to explain how to achieve great organic “reach” on Facebook.
This involves sharing engaging content at least 50% of the time to get your fans “biting”. If you want to remain invisible on Facebook, forget to chum the waters!
Check out what I mean by “chum” in Post Planner’s Infographic Below (be sure to attribute Post Planner if you share it):
Please include attribution to Post Planner with this graphic.
Solution? Post lots of high quality, engaging chum that fans love to get excited about!
Then you can throw in the baited hooks, as described in the infographic. Read Joshua’s full post here on the PostPlanner blog.
This is returning to the concept of fans liking what fans like when it comes to posts.
The “chum” is often made up of snackable, easy to process (and easy to “share”) images, links, short videos, memes and pictures. Fans love this stuff!
A mix of created (your own originals) and curated (shared from others) content will get the fish biting.
I highly recommend you post a healthy mix of visual content that contains your own original visual content and content produced by other pages.
HOT TIP: Don’t waste time wondering what “works” and doesn’t work when it comes to content produced by others. Post Planner has an awesome viral image tool that allows you to see immediately what visual content is being shared by other pages, and to share it yourself. It makes sense if something is already being shared well, it should do well on your page too.
#4 Obsess over reach
I have some questions for you..
- What’s your reach on Twitter?
- What’s your reach on Google+?
- What’s your reach on Pinterest?
- What’s your reach on Instagram?
- What’s your reach on Facebook?
If I am guessing correctly, you can’t answer the first few questions (if you do, then you are a data ninja and hats off to you) but you most likely know the answer to #5.
You might know your reach as it relates to a particular post this week, or obsessively, as it relates to every post ever shared on your Facebook Page.
Most people pay attention to their reach on Facbeook. Why? Because Facebook wants us to. It’s a term coined by Facebook and it is one of the pillars of their Facebook Advertising System (more on that later).
Reach is useful to know. But don’t obsess over it. Because if you obsess over it, you run the risk of invisibility unless you bite the bullet and invest in Facebook Ads (more on that later).
Here are a few things I know about reach.
- Reach means that your post is put “in front” of a certain number of fans in their line of sight.
- Those fans may have that post put in their “line of sight” but that doesn’t mean they actually “see it”.
- Those fans may “see” the post but it doesn’t mean that it grabs their attention.
- That post may grab their attention but it doesn’t mean that they take action on it – to like, comment, share or click through.
- The only way we can measure the ROI of “reach” is to measure those “actions”. Otherwise a reach of tens of thousands can have less impact than a reach of 1000 depending on how many people take action.
The thing is… reach is important. BUT you can obsess over it too much. Pay attention to it, but think beyond reach to engagement, and organic sharing.
Want to be the Invisible Marketer on Facebook? Get way too excited about reach at the expense of everything else!
Solution? Make sure you create content that gets noticed and drives people to take action.
Think about reach, yes, but for the love of all things shareable… please go a step beyond that and think about what you want fans with your fans to do with your content when Facebook so graciously puts it in their line of sight.
How can you get them to share your content organically without “asking” them in a promotional-kind-of-way?
#5 Covet Likes More Than Subscribers
No matter what social platform you are on, no matter how many likers or followers or Plussers or Retweeters you have, they will never be as valuable to you as a subscriber.
So if you want to stay see-through on the newsfeed of any social platform – not just Facebook – then covet fans, value them, count them above all else.
But if you want to shine online, then hold your subscriber community in high regard… put them on a pedestal and give them the most kick-butt helpful content you can find.
Why? Because they entrusted you with their email address. Value the heck out of that gesture.
Email is not dead. In fact it is very much a lifeline. It, along with your blog or website or podcast (or home base for content) should always be your priority.
Get clear on your sales funnel
Start thinking about how fans can become leads and then can become customers, repeat customers and ultimately brand advocates.
It’s not by focusing on them being fans. It’s by focusing on taking them on a journey – where at each destination along the way, you give them more awesome value.
Acquiring a fan is the first step. Not the endpoint.
If you look beyond the likes and how much “reach” you are getting, then you can start moving towards helping a fan become a customer.
And at the end of the day you will rarely “sell” on Facebook, but you can guide them towards your funnel where you are able to give them more great value… and the option to subscribe and “buy” outside of Facebook.
So yes, covet your fans, but covet them leaving Facebook with you to go on the customer’s journey even more.
And empower your fans to share your content. Organic reach and engagement happens when fans share content ”¦ regardless of “algorithms”.
#6 Stuff Your Basket Full of Eggs
We’ve all heard the term “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Well it’s true. Facebook is just one of the baskets, and it’s an important one, but not the only one (and is arguably not the most important).
If you want to be Invisible Online, put all your eggs into the Facebook basket, neglecting to fill any others.
The Solution? More eggs in the right baskets (not just Facebook) results in more visibility and less risk of your business being impacted by Facebook Algorithm Changes.
Here are a few key concepts to remember about Facebook and social media marketing in general.
- Build your content castle on your website or blog – this can also be a podcast (show notes) or an online TV show. Whatever it is, be sure to post your best content on the real estate you own – your website.
- Build your community on other platforms that resonate with you and where your ideal audience hangs out. Is it time you explored Instagram? Or Pinterest? Or YouTube? Google+? Pinterest? All of these platforms can drive traffic and bring significant results to your business.
Start building your platform across a few key social media networks. You don’t have to be on all of them, but start thinking beyond Facebook.
#7 Ignore Facebook Ads
Let’s get serious here. The changes to the Facebook Algorithm are not just to make sure you see better content – they are part of Facebook’s overall ad strategy.
Facebook has shareholders and they need to make money. So with that in mind, there was always going to be a possibility that Facebook would tighten the reins on organic reach.
You would be wise to listen to what Jim Belosic says in this article from BuzzSumo:
Solution? Start using the tips from #1 to #6 but be prepared… if you want to get your content seen on Facebook it may be necessary to include some paid ads, especially for your promotional content, which Facebook may keep from view.
No matter where you are at in your marketing and Facebook journey, I suggest you start experimenting with some Facebook ads.
Facebook has some of the most targeted ads around and you can really narrow down the target audience and great results even for a small Facebook page. It’s the hyper-targeting on Facebook that makes it so attractive for small (and big) business.
If you want to be successful on Facebook, then “pay to play” is inevitable… start playing with ads now while you have the choice and while organic reach and sharing is still possible.
#8 BONUS TIP: Ignore Video and Live Video
AS AT AUGUST 2016!
Since this post was originally published Facebook’s organic reach has dropped even more.
Fortunately, all of the advice in this article still stands but there is one thing that you can’t afford to avoid (or you WILL remain visible).
It’s video – in any combination – regular or live.
You see Facebook currently LOOOOOOVES video. They push video out on the newsfeed, they give it reach and the especially love Facbebook Live video.
So … post video.
- It gets more reach so you have more chance of getting eyeballs on your content.
- It catches attention
- It drives people to take action by sharing
It’s your best shot at remaining visible on the Facebook Newsfeed with organic content. But combine it with the advice above and you can still get good results from Facebook.
More Great Posts to Read for Later
Be sure to also check out the awesome posts I referred to for more tips (55 in total) about how to cope with Facebook Changes and also how to be more visible with your online marketing in general:
17 Expert Tips on Dealing with the Latest Facebook Algorithm Changes – awesome tips brought to you from BuzzSumo.
10 Experts Predict Digital Marketing Trends for 2015 – tips about what what’s dying and what’s thriving online.
28 Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2015 from the Pros – some awesome advice in here – for Facebook and beyond.
What about you. Are you concerned about the Facebook Algorithm Changes? Are you using Facebook Ads? What will you do differently (or the same!) moving forward. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
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