12 tactics that will boost your Facebook reach

Facebook’s organic reach may be down, but these strategies can help you beat the news feed algorithm to reach more of your followers.

If you find Facebook marketing challenging these days, you’re not alone.

Facebook’s algorithm updates can make it tough for brands to get noticed.

According to a report by research firm L2, brands are now responding to the plunging organic reach by posting more content to Instagram than to Facebook.

Don’t despair—Facebook has plenty of life left. I’ve scoured the Web to find out what’s working on Facebook now.

Here are the 12 top tactics to add to your Facebook marketing toolbox:

1. Post native videos.

Video is the top strategy you should be using.

This tip is straight from Mari Smith, the Facebook Queen. In February, she said:

“Facebook is absolutely taking traffic from YouTube right now with video.

“What happens with autoplay, it’s all psychology. They come in through your newsfeed, start to see a tiny bit of movement, boom, it draws them in. They’ll stop and play your video. Make it short, quick and easy, with a call to action.”

Since then, even more evidence of video’s prowess has emerged.

Socialbakers looked at more than 670,000 posts by 4,445 brand pages and found that video posts had an organic reach of 8.71 percent, far higher than text-only statuses (5.77 percent), link posts (5.29 percent) and photo posts (3.73 percent).

At Buffer, we’ve seen video’s effect firsthand. Notice anything about these two posts that have the highest reach and interactions? They’re both videos.

Here are three ways to use videos on Facebook:

1. Post them natively: Posting directly to Facebook seems to provide better results than linking to video from sites like YouTube or Vimeo.

2. Choose a featured video: Facebook enables you to pick one featured video for a prominent place on your page. Here’s ours:

3. Create video playlists: Group related content together in a Facebook video playlist. (Note: This feature may not be available to everyone yet.)

2. Share quote photos.

A tactic that is still going strong is creating and sharing quote photos.

Mike Gingerich does a great job of explaining these photos’ perennial popularity:

“People love inspirational quotes that motivate them or elicit a particular emotion, which in turn can lead to post interaction, especially shares.

“A Facebook share plays a huge part in social proof and can result in many new friends of fans finding (and liking) your page. These new eyes are an opportunity for you to start the relationship-building process.”

I love what Kim Garst of Boom Social is doing with shareable quotes. Check out the engagement she gets with images like these:

Buffer offers a tool to help you create images like these quickly and easily. There are a lot of other image-making tools available, too.

Note there’s some evidence that posting photos to Facebook might not be the best strategy right now, so your success with this tactic could vary.

3. Target organic posts.

If Facebook is limiting your posts to a smaller audience, why not ensure it’s exactly the audience you want?

Targeting was once more of an ads feature, but since Facebook rolled out new tools for publishers, more brands are experimenting with targeting organic posts.

Social Media Examiner experimented with mixed results. It discovered that some targeted posts “definitely had higher engagement than posts that didn’t use targeting.”

Social Media Examiner concluded that this tactic has potential, particularly for smaller pages.

If you fall into that category, here’s a great starter guide:

Jon Loomer has an in-depth guide if you want to learn more.

4. Engage your call-to-action button.

Late in 2014, Facebook introduced a call-to-action button designed to bring businesses’ most important objectives to the forefront of their Facebook pages.

Make the most of this addition and add the most appropriate call to action available. Page administrators can select from seven calls to action:

  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Use App
  • Play Game
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch Video

5. Try dark posts.

Dark posting is when you target a post to a select audience. Dark posts do not appear on your timeline.

Dark posts are great for split testing. You can create three or four variations of the same post and then see which performs best without flooding your timeline.

Here’s how to find the dark posts feature:

Click “Power Editor” in the left column of your Facebook ads manager. (Note: Power Editor is available only to Chrome browsers.)

Click “Download to Power Editor” at the top of the page to download the accounts you want to manage.

Strata Blue wrote detailed instructions on where to go from there.

6. Focus on key topics.

Moz recently discussed driving traffic from Facebook and included tips from Rand Fishkin.

Here’s Rand’s tip to learn what works for you on Facebook:

“Learn what does work in your topics in Facebook. There’s a great tool for this. It’s called BuzzSumo. You can plug in keywords and see the pieces of content that over the past six months or a year have performed the best across social networks, and you can actually filter directly by Facebook to see what’s done best on Facebook in my niche, with my topics, around my subjects. That’s a great way to get at what might work in the future, what doesn’t work, what will resonate, and what won’t.”

You can search for specific keywords on BuzzSumo, or filter by your domain to see what you created that did well:

7. Post more frequently.

Another no-nonsense tactic to counter low Facebook reach is to post more frequently.

Writing on Social Fresh, Dennis Yu observed that, overall, total interactions per day on Facebook increase linearly with posts per day.

At the same time, negative feedback doesn’t seem correlated to posting more frequently:

Yu notes that some brands post 30-40 times per day and get less negative feedback in proportion to total engagement.

If you’re able to keep a close eye on your Facebook Insights, try upping your Facebook frequency.

8. Get creative with Trending Topics.

As Facebook’s Trending Topics move closer to real time, I click these newsy topics more and more. When I do, I notice that right below the details of the news item are more posts from others I’m connected to or a few degrees away from.

For example, when I checked out the latest news on “The Walking Dead,” I saw this post from Jeff Goins:

Goins’ post is a great way to take advantage of Trending Topics in a way that feels personal and organic, not spammy and forced. Could you do something similar?

9. Study negative feedback.

Sometimes discovering what your audience didn’t like is a great way to learn how to make them happier in the future.

Facebook Insights offers four types of negative feedback (you can find them under the “Posts” section):

  • Hide post
  • Hide all posts
  • Report page as spam
  • Unlike page

Facebook offers these statistics as a raw number, but it might be handy to think of this number as a ratio relative to your overall interactions, as well.

Studying negative feedback can help you better identify which types of posts your audience perceives as spam or chooses to hide. Over time, you might discover patterns to help guide your post types, themes and language.

10. Keep testing.

There’s no doubt Facebook has changed, but success is still possible. Facebook offers this guiding strategy:

“Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content—content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives—can still reach people in News Feed. However, anticipating organic reach can be unpredictable, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads.”

With that in mind, I enjoyed this case study from Search Engine Journal. It’s a set of experiments that increased organic reach 219 percent in one month. The article offers plenty of inside peeks to help you re-create a similar testing strategy.

These last two tactics may not be available to everyone right now, but they’re a sign of where Facebook could be headed.

11. Use 3-D ads.

For Saint Patrick’s Day, Jameson promoted its whiskey with the first 3-D video Facebook ad—an attention-grabbing video of a shot glass skating across a bar.

12. Post cinemagraphs.

Cinemagraphs—still photographs that incorporate subtle, looping video elements—could be another future eye-catcher on Facebook. They take utmost advantage of Facebook’s autoplaying video feature.

AdWeek reports Facebook is banking big on the stylized GIFs as it introduces them to advertisers, and The Wall Street Journal notes Heineken has used cinemagraphs on Facebook for the past few months.

HubSpot has collected a bunch of neat cinemagraphs on its blog.

Can you imagine using images like this in your marketing someday soon?

Have you experimented with any new Facebook tactics?

A version of this article originally appeared on the Buffer blog.

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