Ever posted anything on Facebook? Yeah. Me too. Cat pics. Snarky comments. Photos of my kid punching me in the face while I’m wearing a sombrero. Books and paintings I’m trying to promote. Yep. Pretty much everything.
Thing is, Facebook isn’t the same playground it used to be. Not even close. A few years back, if you used your page to promote something or share an awesome photo, a large percentage of your friends and followers would see it in their timelines. You really didn’t have to do anything special to reach an audience, even if you were selling something. If your cat pic was good enough or your art amazing enough, almost everyone would eventually see it. The algorithms were simpler, the interface easy to learn.
Sadly, this isn’t true anymore.
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but nowadays pretty much everyone’s timeline is sprinkled (liberally) with ‘Suggested Posts’ and ‘Sponsored Ads.’ Scroll down three or four posts into your feed and you’ll see them. Sometimes it’s junk marketing, sometimes car ads, and sometimes random products or services Facebook’s algorithms thought (usually mistakenly) you’d be interested in. But there they are, fixed on your feed for days, sometimes weeks, taking up a spot once held by actual content from your friends.
Now, if you’re just sharing a cat photo or a political rant, this change probably doesn’t bother you all that much. Facebook knows who your top engagers are (the people you interact with the most) and it’ll usually spread your posts to those people first, and then grow the audience depending on how much interaction you get. If your video of a cat attacking your ceiling fan doesn’t get quite as many likes as it did a few years ago, you probably won’t be too upset by it. You might not even notice.
Suppose you’ve got something you really, really want (or need) to be seen. Something you’re promoting, selling, or just something important you want your friends and followers to view. You want max exposure, right? You want more people than usual to see this special post. What’s the best way to do that?
Now we’re talking.
First and foremost, let’s discuss how NOT to gain maximum exposure for your big important post. Here are several common mistakes people make when posting something they really want to be seen:
Things NOT to do:
Post a link to an article or website without writing anything in the ‘What’s on your mind?‘ field (or for business pages, the ‘Write something’ field)
Hit ‘Like’ when people comment on your post rather than replying with actual words
Post a link to something when a picture or text will suffice (Links only get max exposure when people are clicking on them, not just ‘liking’ them.)
Share something without adding comments
Post a photo with words or text blocking out parts of the image (Facebook hates this.)
Spam a bunch of posts in a small amount of time (Typically only the most popular one will get good exposure)
Pretty simple, right? Now let’s talk about the things you should do when you’re trying to get max exposure.
GOOD things to do:
When using the ‘share’ feature to draw attention to a post, add a comment at the top
Whenever people comment on something important you’ve posted, respond with comments of your own in addition to likes (if likes are warranted)
If you post multiple things per day, space them out
If you have the option, post pictures or text instead of links. If you need to post a link, make sure you write something clever, funny, or otherwise appealing to accompany it. You’ll need people clicking your link in order to get max exposure
If you’re paying to boost a post via your business page, use small, well-defined target audiences. Narrow down your age range, geography, and similar likes as much as possible
Always use good spelling and tight grammar. (Sloppy spelling and grammar can sometimes lead people to think posts are spam or clickbait)
Engage friends and followers in regular conversation. Research shows that interacting with someone on a regular basis (via their timeline, not Facebook messenger) will enable them to see your posts more often
So now that we’ve covered the basics of working within Facebook’s algorithms to get max engagement, let’s talk about a few other approaches. Assuming you’ve got something awesome and share-worthy, there’s still more you can do to get likes, comments, and most importantly (for some users) clicks.
Lesson 1: Beware Facebook fatigue
Have you ever gone on your feed and encountered a big pile of shared memes, pics, and posts…all by the same person? Yeah, you know you have. Don’t be that person. You’ll get unfollowed (and sometimes even unfriended.) But more importantly, people will tend to scroll past your posts. If spamming memes and quotes makes you happy, by all means do it, but don’t expect people to care all that much. One high quality post per day will defeat ten hastily put together posts. You don’t want to wear your audience out, do you? Nope.
Lesson 2: Carefully choose your tone (mostly for business page users and marketers)
If you’re on Facebook just to share family pics and silly, fun stuff, you don’t really have to worry about this part. But if you’re on a mission to promote something or you’re trying to focus on earning respect and gaining attention, it’s in your best interest to watch your tone. Stay away from frequent negative rants. Don’t often stray off-topic. If and when you get criticized (and you probably will at some point) don’t counterattack. Be cool, calm, and confident. And stick to your message, whatever it is.
Lesson 3: Don’t be self-centered
To get more engagement, likes, and views from your followers and friends, you have to give. If you post tons of stuff, but seldom click, like, or comment on other people’s posts, chances are you’ll get tuned out over time. Try starting up a conversation on someone else’s thread. Odds are you’ll have fun and possibly earn a few friends. It’s really that easy.
Getting love and earning happiness on Facebook isn’t hard. You’ve just gotta play by their rules while staying as interesting as you can. When you do, the experience is better for everyone.
Though of course, Facebook could change their algorithms tomorrow and render this entire article obsolete. Let’s hope they don’t do that for a while.