Editor’s note: This is the tenth in a series of reports from five Digital First Media journalists who attended ONA13 through the Digital First Represents program.
I attended the Pro-level Social session at ONA13. Tons of great tips came out of this session, but one thing really stuck out for me. After being inundated with questions about Facebook’s algorithm, Meghan Peters, who works in Strategic Partnerships for Facebook, said this:
“It’s based off of connections. Our goal is to serve up the most relevant post to that individual user. It’s based on the user’s interactions.”
So, it’s personalized, based on the interests and friends and “likes” for an individual user, to an extent. This stuck with me.
Language, voice and word choices probably matter. How people use Facebook in their day-to-day lives probably matters.
Our daily weather post has increased reach by 5-7 times or more since I’ve made these changes. Facebook defines “reach” as, “The number of unique people who received impressions of a Page post. The reach number might be less than the impressions number since one person can see multiple impressions.”
Here is breakdown of the changes that helped increase the reach:
Think SEO, but with more lifestyles relevance: I started by making changes to the language. Previous weather reports were more like bulletins. I wanted to add more immediacy, so I used words like “today,” “weather,” “mid-Michigan,” “central Michigan.” It appears that posts with timeliness, location and lifestyle information helped improve our reach.
Be conversational: Our previous weather posts featured some all-caps writing, and a lot of ellipses and/or fragmented sentences. So, I changed the tone to a more conversational one. In scrolling through our newsfeed, I actually noticed that any post with all caps or sentence fragments had significantly less reach. I eliminated the impersonal tone, and watched the reach of our weather posts increase.
Use active verb tense: Just like stories and photo captions, an active, present tense voice is more engaging and appears to improve reach.
Time of day is important: I began posting our weather status between 5:30 and 6 a.m., which is a little earlier than before. Half of the reach numbers on these statuses were attained by 7 a.m., and the other half came throughout the day. Considering when the information is most relevant to the community may get more views in news feeds.
Does the poster matter? We have several admins for our Facebook page. Do posts made by more Facebook-engaged users get more reach? Maybe. I am pretty engaged, and my posts on our branded page nearly always have higher numbers than other admins who aren’t as engaged overall. With our weather, when I took over posting the weather after ONA, our numbers went up. It’s something to consider, and something I am watching.
The reach numbers, and the differences between the two styles, are about average for us. So changing our style increased our engagement tremendously.
What do you think?
What do you think of these suggestions? Have you noticed any factors on your own Facebook page that can improve reach and engagement?