Optimizing Facebook Engagement- The Scientific Guide to Increasing Reach, Likes, and Shares

July 9, 2018 · 7 min read

If you run a Facebook business page, you’ve probably noticed that getting organic Facebook engagement is harder than ever.

Not only is the platform getting more crowded, but Facebook is taking steps to promote “meaningful content” and actively prevent clickbait from dominating newsfeeds.

So, what does that mean for brands and marketers?

Businesses must create valuable content and invest in strategies that allow them to stand out, attract eyeballs, and connect with their audience. That’s why we put together this collection of tips and tactics for maximizing Facebook engagement and visibility for your brand’s posts and ads.

Facebook’s Algorithm Has Evolved – So Your Marketing Tactics Should, Too!

Over the years, Facebook has evolved from a purely social platform to a powerful marketing tool. These days, plenty of consumers go directly to Facebook to find out more about certain products, services, and brands.

However, with recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm come changes to the requirements for successful Facebook marketing.

In January 2018, Facebook announced its renewed commitment to bringing people together through meaningful interactions and high-quality content. While this sounds like a positive new direction for the social media giant, it also makes it harder to ensure consumers see posts from your business page.

Today, we’ll explore how to master Facebook marketing for your business by maximizing fan engagement.

How Do You Define Your Facebook Engagement Rate? (And What’s a Good Benchmark to Aim For?)

Your Facebook engagement rate reveals how effectively you’re engaging with your audience. It’s calculated as a percentage of how many people engaged with your post out of all the people who scrolled past it in their feeds.

Engagement is measured in reactions to your content, the number of users who comment, click on your links, and share your content via Facebook or Messenger.

To figure out your own Facebook engagement rate, start by adding up the number of users who react to, share, comment on, or click on your post. Then, divide the total by the number of people who saw your post.

The more engagement a post receives, the more likely it is to appear in more users’ newsfeeds – and the more traffic it will drive to your business page and website.

To give you an idea of what type of engagement rate you can hope for in your industry, check out this chart from Rival IQ’s 2018 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report.

(Source: Rival IQ)

Now that we understand why Facebook engagement is so important, let’s explore how you can ensure your brand attracts and maintains your audience’s attention.

6 Actionable Tips for Increasing Facebook Engagement with Your Brand

Although it is getting trickier to stand out in consumers’ Facebook feeds, there are specific strategies you can use to maximize organic engagement. Work these six tips into your Facebook marketing plan if you want to boost engagement.

  1. Ask a Question to Strike Up Conversation

One of the best ways to spark engagement is to ask a question that gets your audience talking about and commenting on your post.

And once you get a few responses, don’t just let them sit their collecting dust. Reply to your followers! Engagement should be a two-way conversation. They’ve taken the time to engage with you, so it’s only polite that you return the courtesy. Plus, responding to your fans shows that you care about their replies and can encourage even more people to comment.

Here are a few tips to help you come up with engaging questions:

  • Keep it short: Most people don’t spend time on Facebook to read paragraphs of text, so keep your questions (and all text posts, for that matter) simple, brief, and easy to understand.
  • Ask yes or no questions: Or frame your question as a survey with two or three default answers. This ensures its quick and easy for anyone to reply to without putting a ton of effort into their response.
  • Stay on-brand: Don’t get too off-track by asking questions completely unrelated to your brand or your audience. Rather than asking questions just for the sake of it, aim to foster discussion that specifically reflects your fans’ interests and lifestyle.
  1. Don’t Leave Timing Up to Chance

As with any social network, when you post to Facebook is almost as important as what you post – especially since a high engagement rate creates a positive feedback loop. The more comments, views, shares, and clicks you get, the more of a bump your content will receive from Facebook’s algorithm – which means even greater visibility for your brand.

So, what would happen if you decided to post in the middle of the night when your followers are sleeping? Or when your audience is busy at work? Facebook would see that your update isn’t driving any engagement – and assume it’s a dud.

However, if you post at a time when you know your followers are active on Facebook, you should see some engagement right away. Facebook takes note of this and realizes your content provides value to consumers, so the algorithm rewards you with a boost to share your post with more users.

Though the ideal time to post varies slightly depending on your target audience’s schedule and local time, studies have found that content posted around noon and 7pm tend to perform the best.

(Source: Kissmetrics)

  1. Share Meaningful Content to Impress Facebook (and Your Fans)

We’ve already touched on how Facebook adopted a more active role in protecting user interests. Well, a big part of this change is that Facebook now prioritizes content that users actually want to see in their newsfeeds.

Facebook’s algorithm gives preference to posts that inspire “meaningful interaction” between users – which tends to favor posts from their friends and groups, rather than promoted or branded posts.

As a result, businesses and brands need to make more of an effort to engage with consumers in a meaningful way.

Sure, this might be easier said than done – but that doesn’t mean it’s not achievable. Ultimately, “meaningful content” starts with knowing your audience and understanding the type of content that performs best.

Here are a few general rules to keep in mind when coming up with content ideas:

  • Play off your audience’s emotions: If you can make someone laugh, get excited, or think about something in a new way, you’re winning. When brainstorming new Facebook posts, think about the emotional triggers you can pull to make your audience respond, participate, or react in some way. For example, can you bring your followers together over a shared frustration, villain, or success?
  • Aim to create positive experiences: The language and ideas in your posts should always be positive and inclusive so your audience feels like one big community. Of course, for many brands this requires monitoring comments for trolls and respond accordingly. If it makes sense for your brand to use humor to defuse a situation, go for it!
  • Use storytelling to bond with your fans: Using storytelling to make a point or advertise a product not only makes your post more memorable and easy to digest, but it can also trigger the release of oxytocin – which leads to a stronger relationship between your brand and your audience.
  1. Leverage Video to Grab (and Keep) Consumers’ Attention

Sharing video content allows you to stand out in the average Facebook newsfeed. Even if someone is quickly scrolling through their feed, the eye-catching motion of a video is often enough to score you a second look.

Since announcing their major algorithm update earlier this year, Facebook has become more vocal about encouraging brands to post video content. Not only is video a powerful tool for generating discussion and engagement among your followers, but it allows you to communicate more efficiently.

Remember that viewers must actively unmute Facebook videos, so it’s always a good idea to use captions in your video content. This allows you to draw your audience in quickly and help them get your message with or without sound.

Native Facebook videos tend to perform much better than links from YouTube or Vimeo, so it’s definitely worth uploading your videos directly to the social network. In fact, a 2017 study found that native Facebook videos receive 304% more engagement than videos hosted on other sites and an average of 530% more comments!

  1. Ask for Engagement with Simple Calls to Action

Whenever you post to Facebook and don’t include a call to action, you’re missing out on an easy opportunity to engage with your followers.

Once you got their attention with your high-quality, meaningful content – what do you want consumers to do?

Whether it’s like your post, tag a friend, share an opinion, or react with the most appropriate GIF, give your audience a nudge in the right direction by asking them to do something specific.

Of course, asking fans to take action doesn’t mean begging for engagement. You’ll get better results by gently encouraging debate, posing questions (see above!), and asking your audience to share their thoughts.

You can also motivate users to engage by hosting a contest or giveaway and inviting them to participate.

  1. Pay to Play with Promoted Posts

As organic Facebook engagement continues to decline, even amazing content can struggle to gain traction.

So, if the algorithm seems to be working against your brand, you can always pay to play.

Facebook ads are a great option because you don’t need to spend a ton to see results. If you continue to create interesting, eye-catching content, a small paid boost might be all you need to drive traction.

However, it’s only worth paying to promote your content if you intend to treat Facebook as a serious marketing platform.

Zero in on your ideal customer with custom audiences and insights, retarget consumers who have visited your website already and monitor how visitors interact with your website after viewing a Facebook ad.

Create Custom Content that Facebook’s Algorithm and Your Audience Love

Now that you know the importance of sharing high-value content that inspires meaningful interactions, it’s time to put it into practice!

Yes, the rules of Facebook marketing may be changing, but that doesn’t mean your business can’t continue to stand out and inspire users to engage with your content. Just because you’re representing a business page doesn’t mean you can’t be human – that is, along as your stay on brand. Remember to be authentic, positive, and relatable so your audience can connect, interact, and engage with your brand.

Focus on publishing content that is relevant to your audience, short and concise, visually interesting, and encourages discussion. Commit to creating content your audience loves and Facebook’s algorithm will reward you with greater visibility and more opportunities for engagement.


Head of Content at Promo.com. * * * Storyteller by day. Content consumer by night. Habitually inspired.

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