How to reach more people on Facebook
Have you seen your reach on Facebook drop? You’re not the only one. We hear from lots of makers who are worried their posts aren’t reaching as many people as before. It’s not just the craft sector or independent makers either; businesses across all sectors have seen their organic reach fall in the last few years as Facebook has made changes to its algorithm.
Recent reports show that if you have a Facebook business page, your posts are now probably only being seen by around 10% of your followers. But don’t give up! Facebook is still the biggest social media channel in the world by far, and one of the best ways way to get your products in front of people – and there are things you can do that will help you reach more people.
— Amanda Crago (@beadyozgirl) October 4, 2016
Here are some simple tips that could help you improve your organic reach on Facebook, so more people will see, share and buy your gorgeous things.
1. Understand how Facebook shows posts
I’m fed up with Facebook – one week my reach is mega, the next week dropped loads. Doing the same things so never understand why #folksyhour
— Nikomi (@bynikomi) October 4, 2016
First up, it’s helpful to understand a few basics about how Facebook works. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which posts it shows in people’s feeds. There are around 1,500 different news stories it could show each user, so it needs a way to decide which ones get shown and which ones don’t. Based on user feedback, Facebook now prioritises news and updates from friends and family.
We’ve heard from our community that people are still worried about missing important updates from the friends they care about. For people with many connections this is particularly important, as there are a lot of stories for them to see each day. So we are updating News Feed over the coming weeks so that the things posted by the friends you care about are higher up in your News Feed.
This means it’s pretty hard for posts from business pages to show up in news feeds, as there are lots of posts fighting for that space. The factors Facebook takes into account when deciding which of the thousands of potential stories to show include:
- The number of likes, comments and shares on your post (also known as ‘engagement’)
- How often a user has engaged with your posts before
- How a user’s friends and connections are interacting with your post (have they shared it or commented?)
- Is this the type of post that user normally engages with (video vs photo etc)
- When was your post was published and how much interaction has it had since then
Knowing the criteria that determine whether or not a post is shown in someone’s newsfeed, can help you understand what kind of posts to create, when to post them and how to get them to go further.
2. Get people to engage
If you want your post to show up in people’s Facebook feeds, you need people to engage with it. If Facebook sees that your post is getting likes, comments and shares, it will show it to more people. If no one ‘likes’ it or comments when you first post your story, it will die a sad death and then will only be visible to people who actively click on your Facebook business page.
So be interesting. Post something that grabs people’s attention and that they want to share. Just adding a picture of your product with a link to your shop isn’t enough any more. You need to give your followers more than that. Share your inspiration, the story behind your pieces, why you started making a particular piece, who inspires you, little insights into your mind and your studio and ask questions. Don’t spam people with promotional sales posts.
— Kara Ford Ceramics (@karaleigh813) October 4, 2016
Think about the posts you like and share on Facebook. What makes you comment? What do you find interesting? Think about your own behaviour and look at how people have engaged with your previous posts – which have been the most popular (you can find this data on the analytics section of your Facebook page). Use that information to create your future content. It’s far better to spend your time writing a few interesting posts that people will really engage with, than sharing lots of posts that get nowhere. Make each post count.
You could also cheat a bit and share your post with your family and friends on your own personal page so they like, comment and share.
3. Try different types of content – and use video!
All posts are not the same. A study by Locowise in August 2016 showed that videos reached 12% of all the people who like your page, photos reached 11%, links 8.5% and status updates reached just 6%. Videos which are native to Facebook (ie posted on Facebook rather than just shared there) do better than videos posted from YouTube, and Facebook now ranks its Live Videos even higher in its newsfeed* and if one of your friends is doing a Live Video you will also get a pop-up notification on your screen.
— Anvil Cottage Crafts (@anvilcottagecra) October 4, 2016
So think about the kind of content you are sharing. For example, if you can make a video about your making process and share it on Facebook, it has the potential to reach twice as many people as a regular status update. A Live Video where you show how you make a piece in real time is likely to do even better but you would need announce it in advance, regularly remind people and build anticipation. You can also set your Live Videos to appear on your page after your live broadcast so you continue to get value from them.
— Sian Hughes (@siansburys) October 4, 2016
If the idea of a Live Video scares you, ease yourself in by sharing photos instead. As well as posting individual photos, you can share several photos in one post and even create albums. It’s worth experimenting to see which of these kinds of posts do best – does a post with four pictures do better than just one, for instance? Always make sure your photos are really good quality to maximise your chance of being shared and seen. Poor photos won’t do you any favours – unless you want to go viral for all the wrong reasons ;)
infographic source: Locowise – Facebook Growth and Engagement Study July 2016
* source: Buffer Social – Facebook Now Ranks Live Videos Higher in the News Feed (Plus A Quick Guide on How to Use Facebook Live Video)
4. Change when you post
There’s lots of advice about there about the best time to post on Facebook, but really it depends who you are, where you are, who you want to reach and what you want them to do (comment, share, click, buy…). So while a big company with loads of page followers might find their reach is best at 8pm in the evening, if you’re an independent maker without thousands of followers to comment and share, you might be better posting at a quieter time when there is less competition and you’re more likely to be seen.
According to Hootsuite, the best time to post on Facebook is between 12-3pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Hubspot is more specific and claims the best time to post is 3pm on Wednesday afternoons and that other good times to post are weekend lunchtimes between 12 noon and 1pm.
— Kath Heywood (@kathheywoodart) October 4, 2016
Your perfect times might be completely different though. You can see when your Facebook fans are online by clicking on your Page Insights and then going to the Posts section. Ideally you need to post when your fans are online and most likely to react to your post (or able to click and buy). Experiment with different timings and see which ones work best for you.
Read more about when to post: Hootsuite – The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook
Find out how to see your Facebook page Insights: www.facebook.com/business/a/page/page-insights
5. Try shorter posts
Are you ready for a depressing stat? According to Sprout Social, “on average, a person will read 20-28% of the words in your post”. So don’t spend hours writing a mini essay – instead treat your Facebook post as a headline and learn to be concise. Think about your post as a chance to pull people in and catch their attention. What is it about your video, photo or update that’s interesting – what do people really need to know?
— Elizabeth Clark (@little_bigbird) October 4, 2016
Sprout Social adds that: “Facebook posts between 0-50 characters long receive the most engagement. The more characters you add after that, the less engagement you can expect.” So choose your words carefully.
6. Reply to all your comments
All the algorithm changes on Facebook mean it’s now more important than ever not to post and run. If you’re spending all this time trying to get people to react and comment on your posts, take the time to reply to everyone. Facebook likes conversations because that’s genuine engagement, so even if you are scheduling your post make sure you keep an eye on your notifications and respond to any comments as quickly as you can.
— Kara Ford Ceramics (@karaleigh813) October 4, 2016
As an independent maker you have a huge advantage over the high-street chains because you are your company. When people buy one of your products they are buying from you, not a faceless corporation. So take advantage of that and use Facebook as a platform to build relationships with your fans and customers. Replying to people’s comments is just one way of doing that – it shows your customers you value them and means they’re more likely to comment next time.
— Angela Snape (@CoverStoryCraft) October 4, 2016
6. Create or join Facebook groups
One way to reach more people is to join a Facebook Group or even create your own. A Facebook Group is a place where people with similar interests can come together to share links, advice, videos, photos, organise events and talk to each other. There are local Facebook Groups, groups for specific crafts like crochet, groups for Folksy sellers… think of subject and there will probably a Facebook group for it.
— Anvil Cottage Crafts (@anvilcottagecra) October 4, 2016
Because you get a notification on your desktop, tablet or phone every time a member of your Facebook Group posts in your group, posts here don’t have the same problem getting seen as posts on a business page (unlike posts to your own page, posts on Group pages don’t rely on the Facebook algorithm deciding whether or not to display that post in someone’s newsfeed), so they tend to be much more successful and have a much higher reach.
Here are just a few examples of Facebook groups…
To find groups you’re interested in, type the word or phrase into the search bar on Facebook, press enter or return and then click the ‘Groups’ tab. It will show you all the relevant groups, how many members they have and a brief description. You can then join that group (you’ll need to do that as yourself, not your page). If you can’t find the right group, why not start your own? You can also get involved with pages like British Crafters who set a different theme every day and invite makers to post their products.
Read more about Facebook groups:
Moz – How and Why to Build a Facebook Group
Facebook – The difference between Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups
7. Pay to boost your posts
If you want your posts to be seen by even more people, you can boost your reach by running Facebook adverts. You can choose to promote either your page or a post, and you can also choose who you would like Facebook to show it to. It only costs a few pounds, so it’s a low-cost way to get your work in front of more people.
Read more about how to use Facebook adverts in this post:
How to Use Facebook Adverts to Boost your Craft Business
How is your Facebook reach. Have you tried any of the tips above? What’s been successful for you? We’d love to know. Tell us by leaving a comment below…