3 Ways to Beat the Facebook Algorithm

Shannon Maguire
Shannon Maguire Community Manager, Likeable Media

Posted on January 31st 2014

3 Ways to Beat the Facebook Algorithm

ImageDavid Bowie’s hit “Changes” (you know, “Ch-ch-ch-changes”) should be Facebook’s theme song. After all, it seems that with each day comes another mysterious algorithm change that leaves us scrambling. Sure, you could constantly throw money at every piece of content to make it perform better, but should you really have to pay for fans (who willingly chose to like your page) to see your posts? I think not. So here a few easy ways to beat that algorithm and boost engagement.

1. Put the call-to-action on an image.

The site that was once all about the “LIKE” is now all about the “Benjamins.” Stay far away from copy that begins with the word “like” (or “comment” and “share”) because it’s pretty much a kiss of death to organic reach. There are plenty of ways around this, from moving the call-to-action to the second half of the sentence to asking for a “thumbs up,” but perhaps the best way to include a CTA  without being punished by the algorithm is by putting it on an image.

There’s a reason Instagram and GIFs are so popular: we are all about the visual. When you’re competing with adorable puppies and friends’ precious newborns, you have to get straight to the point. By putting a CTA on an eye-catching image, you get your point across immediately. Also, from my experience as a Community Manager, it’s safe to say that less than 50% of your community actually reads the caption at all. Don’t let your message get lost in the feed.

2. Optimized link posts.

In the social network’s most recent algorithm update, Facebook Product Manager Chris Turitzin claims, “The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share.” However, it’s not enough to share link posts with standard previews; you have to make sure that the image being pulled into the preview or being upload has the correct dimensions for optimal engagement. Then there’s something else to consider: Check that your brand’s site pulls in properly sized images to link previews automatically. This will ensure that consumers sharing your links on their own will also be sharing better, more attractive content to their networks.

3. Create in-post contests.

One last great way to boost reach is through engagement. Last year, Facebook announced a change to contests and giveaways on the platform that allows for in-post promotions. This means that you no longer have to drive traffic to a tab or microsite for your fans to participate in promotions. While there are still some barriers (for instance, sharing is not an entry option), this is still a HUGE opportunity for brands. Here are a few hacks to get the most out of your in-post contest:

  • Ask for photo comments. Image replies appear larger and draw more attention, bringing more people to check out the post and ultimately enter.
  • Ask for fans to tag friends. While sharing is not allowed, mentioning a friend in the comments is considered a proper form of entry–and it boosts your reach.
  • Make Woobox your friend. Not only does it pull all comments and likes from posts for you to view (Facebook cuts off likes after a bit), but you can also choose winners randomly and download CSVs for all post entries.

How is your brand coping with the latest algorithm changes? Share your tips and hacks in the comments below!

Originally posted on Likeable Media's Likeable Daily

Shannon Maguire

Shannon Maguire

Community Manager, Likeable Media

Lover of social media, pop culture, random facts and movie trivia. Community Manager at Likeable Media. Graduate of Hofstra University. 

See Full Profile >

Comments

Shannon Maguire
Posted on January 31st 2014 at 2:46PM

Hey everyone! I had a great question from a reader on Twitter who asked:

Hi, , I just read your post on social media today, but what do you mean with "(Facebook cuts off likes after a bit)"?

To clarify, I meant that when you have over 1,000 likes on a post and you click the 'likes' button, you may not always be able to view every use who liked the post. Moreover, if you are holding a random giveaway, this would make it impossible to include all entries in the drawing. 

This is why I discuss Woobox, which is a great site. You can pull all of the likes from a specific post and all of the Facebook user's names who liked it. You can also randomly select a winner and generate an acceptance form -- for free!

hailley
Posted on January 31st 2014 at 6:17PM

Thanks for the great post, Shannon! Your first point is definitely something I'm going to adopt. Putting the CTA in the photo is brilliant! 

I've been using the link sharing feature in hopes that it will help but am still not seeing the greatest results. Other than switching up the featured image do you have an other recommendations?

Shannon Maguire
Posted on January 31st 2014 at 6:30PM

You can always create a custom image with the wording "click here" in the correct link image size. The great thing about optimized links is that the image appears larger in newsfeeds and the entire post is now a clickable link. 

Also, make sure you're changing the text in the link preview. Use it as another oppurtunity to write engaging copy to grab your fan's attention. 

MaelRoth
Posted on February 1st 2014 at 7:46AM

Putting a CTA in the image is a great advice I haven't really thought of so far. I'll try it out next time! Thanks for the great post Shannon :-)