UNB Marketing Blog
Tips and tricks from your university marketers

How to fight the dreaded Facebook algorithm

Author: Marketing

Posted on Feb 12, 2018

Category: Web and Social Media

Have you ever wondered why your posts aren’t reaching your entire audience? When Facebook moved to a pay-for-play model it became increasingly difficult to promote your brand without shelling out the big bucks. But don’t worry — we’ve put together a list of best practices to help you extend your reach and engage your audience.

Keep it short and sweet

Just because Facebook allows you 63,206 characters doesn’t mean you should use all of them. The suggested ideal post length is 40 characters. Yes, you read that correctly. Good news! If you’re clear on your goals and objectives this will be easy. Trying to drive traffic to your website? Start with a high-quality image then write a sentence of engaging teaser text and include a shortened link to your website or blog for more information.

Posters are for print

Your visuals matter. With more than 60 million active Facebook business pages the competition for attention is steep. Facebook’s 8 Tips for Visuals is a great place to start if you’re looking to gain insights into the type of visuals that perform best. Think about how many advertisements you see in a day. When we see text on an image we automatically assume that we’re looking at an ad — and so does Facebook. Adding text to your image will limit your reach because Facebook wants you to pay to advertise. If you are advertising, keep your text to a minimum. Facebook recommends keeping text to a minimum. This is where linking to more information is key. Save your posters for print and use a high-quality, engaging image and your teaser text to grab attention.

Avoid “engagement bait”

Facebook recently updated its algorithm to discourage “engagement bait.” Here are some tips to ensure you’re reaching as much of your audience as possible.

Don’t ask your audience to:

  • Tag their friends
  • Comment with specific answers
  • Vote using reactions or comments
  • “React” to the post
  • Share the post with their friends

Don’t fall into these traps. Instead, let your content speak for itself. Ask questions that will inspire a dialogue among your followers.

Customize your content

With 80% of active users checking Facebook on their smartphones, we can’t ignore mobile usability anymore. Have a great photo? Make sure it’s sized properly for the platform you’re posting it on so that everyone gets the full picture. Canva is a great free tool that will help you ensure that your images are sized correctly for each platform.

Know your audience

Every platform has a different audience. You wouldn’t speak to your great aunt in the same tone of voice you do your niece or nephew, so don’t feed your content from one platform to another. While Facebook’s audience is skewing older — with Instagram and Snapchat becoming more popular with the younger population — the best way to understand your audience is through measurement.

Most platforms offer free analytics so don’t forget to take advantage of these tools to check out your audience demographics. Keep an eye on which posts are performing best and which ones are missing the mark. Knowledge is power. Any questions? We’d be happy to help! Reach out to us at socialmedia@unb.ca.