How to Growth Hack the Facebook Algorithm to Reach Your Most Engaged Fans It's not Mark Zuckerberg's fault that you're not up to date with how social media marketing is done in 2018.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Facebook is not going away, and any marketing professional or small business owner would be foolish to stop using it in spite of the fact that marketing on Facebook today is not easy.
Related: Facebook Might Be Shrinking Your Audience but There's Lots You Can Do About It
In fact, for as much industry chatter that Facebook's decision to tweak the algorithm to favor people and not brand pages has created, a recent poll in the Social Media Masterminds Group on Facebook indicated that marketers don't foresee another emerging social network rivaling Facebook anytime in the near future.
As seen in the above video, regardless if you're a content creator or a Fortune 500 company, marketing on Facebook shouldn't be centered on how you can reach the masses but rather how you can identify and retain the attention of your most engaged fans, as only 1 percent or less of page fans are currently seeing your content.
While marketing on Facebook is more complex than posting status updates and memes, the first step is to understand how the algorithm works.
To be candid, Facebook is a business and isn't in business to help you grow yours for free. With over 2 billion daily active users, it's safe to proclaim that Facebook is one of the best mediums to advertise online and it knows it. Despite Facebook being free to use, ad budget is required in order to get the maximum return on Facebook as a brand.
Related: With Entrepreneurs Freaking Out After Facebook's Drastic Newsfeed Change, Here Are 4 Things You Can Do Right Now to Survive
Besides paying to play, other key factors go into Facebook determining the type of content that it shares, such as posts that are written with a call-to-action to click through to a website are penalized, as are posts that contain "engagement bait" (e.g., "like this post," "comment below," "share this post," etc.).
However, if you can strategically find a way to get your brand front and center in the newsfeed while keeping users on the platform, you've cracked the code.
Below are five strategies to implement right away to help you hack the Facebook algorithm.
1. Comment farming
Think of the Facebook algorithm similar to word of mouth marketing. Facebook will feature what the algorithm thinks is relevant to you based on what others in your network are speaking about digitally. Posts that contain a significant number of likes, comments and shares will typically get higher visibility in the newsfeed for at least 24 hours provided that the post continues to get engagement.
Tip: The next time you post on Facebook, ask a question or make a statement that will elicit comments from your network or page followers. Then, reply to each comment that is made on your post to trick Facebook into thinking it has higher organic engagement.
Related: Why You Need to Stop Worrying About Facebook 'Likes' in 2018
2. Short posts
The next tactic isn't so much to trick the Facebook algorithm as it is to trick the eyes of fellow Facebook users to see your post in the newsfeed while scrolling through. If you want your post copy to stand out, post a text-only status update at 85 characters or less. By doing so, your text font will appear to be larger than the standard Facebook font size. However, your post has to be text-only so use this tactic whenever you post a one-sentence comment or question.
3. Facebook ads
Advertising on Facebook doesn't need to be expensive. In fact, I recommend that Facebook page managers "boost" their content with as little as $10 daily or $300 per month. By tapping into Facebook ads, even with a small budget, you can use the custom audiences feature to ensure that your content is seen by the right audience. Remember, while a lot of brands and businesses are aiming for the masses blindly, you should be strategic with getting your content in front of your target buyers and most engaged fans.
Related: How to Make Money With Facebook Ads
While Facebook groups have not yet been adopted widely by brands, industry groups like Social Media Masterminds and others that bring together influencers, creators and marketers alike have become the new wave of sharing content and insights off of the traditional newsfeed that's dominated by brand pages and profiles. Facebook has yet to cut off the organic reach that groups provide, which is why every brand should be finding a way to create a group of its most engaged fans.
As is the case with groups, Facebook Messenger is an untapped resource for brands to organically build tribes with their most engaged fans and creators. Provided that you have a community manager who's paying attention to who's actively commenting on your Facebook page, start forming conversations directly in Messenger with your "super fans." As described in the video above, how much would 20 to 30 engaged fans mean to your business? With Messenger, you can still keep your loyal fans engaged, albeit through 1:1 conversation. The next time that you have a campaign or promotion running, let your fans in on the launch before the masses. Better yet, use this newfound 1:1 access to get your fans to do the marketing for you altogether.
Related: Best Practices for Growing Cash Flow With Zero Business Development