Facebook is crowded. Noisy. It can be difficult to stand out in the chaos.
You’re creating great content. You’re going live. You’re posting, posting, posting. Maybe you have a Facebook business page with a few hundred likes, or a group with 1000 members. It can feel like a losing battle to try to pick up steam and get people excited about what you have to say.
If you’re hoping to build a brand/audience/business using Facebook, I’m here to tell you: posting on your Facebook business page 8 times a day or constantly dropping blog post links in your group is probably not going to get you and your brand the attention or excitement you deserve.
If you already use Facebook to network, grow your business, or establish your brand, you may struggle with how to get traction & engagement on your posts.
Why increase your Facebook reach?
Visibility on Facebook can be a VERY powerful tool to grow your business, especially when you’re just starting out. Expanding your brand reach organically can save you money on advertising and help you scale your business.
I myself am not a social media expert. I’m an investor, a business owner, and an educator. I use Facebook to engage with my students and connect with other professionals. However, Facebook has been an invaluable tool in allowing me to reach those who would eventually become my students, and ultimately successful investors!
When I started Bottom Up Wealth, I didn’t have a following. In fact, I didn’t even have any Facebook friends!
Since I originally thought I was going to be a financial adviser, I started a brand new Facebook profile in 2016 when I founded Bottom Up Wealth to be sure that I was SEC compliant. Later on I decided to provide investment education instead of portfolio management.
Since starting over from scratch on Facebook, I’ve gained 5,000 friends, nearly 10,000 profile followers, over 10,000 business page likes, and around 30,000 Facebook group members. The majority of these relationships were created without paying for ads.
I accomplished this through a variety of different means. As an introvert, a lot of this visibility was actually very unintentional. However, it was a blessing in disguise: being visible on Facebook has been the key to connecting me with a whole lot of amazing people I’m proud to now call Bottom Up Wealth students!
Once I realized that a strong social media presence can help spread your message for free and significantly cut marketing expenses (I am an investor, after all), I made it a priority to learn more about how to maximize it. You have to understand how Facebook decides to show your posts to people, or you could waste a lot of time creating content nobody will ever see.
Understand that Facebook has goals.
On a casual user’s end, Facebook is a gathering place to connect with friends and family.
But don’t get it twisted: Facebook is a corporation. An enormous, highly profitable, highly intelligent, well-oiled corporation. As a publicly traded company, it exists to make money. But keep in mind, Facebook is not here to sell you things.
Users don’t pay for access to Facebook. This is because personal users are not Facebook’s customer. We are all Facebook’s product.
Our personal information is the product that has made Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest men in the world.
To understand how to be better seen on Facebook, it’s important to understand how Facebook makes its money. A quick crash course:
Step 1: Facebook learns everything it possibly can about you.
What foods you like, what upsets you, whether you have kids, your political affiliation, if you’re married, if you have a degree, whether you prefer dogs to cats; Facebook wants it all.
Now, Facebook is not just sitting back and waiting for you to spoon feed them this personal information. No, they are low key watching every move you make, like an overly attached girlfriend (but actually worse).
Every post you love, they’ve noted.
Every emoji you’ve used in conjunction with certain words, they’ve observed.
Every page you follow, every video you share, every comment you write…
Are you creeped out yet? It is creepy.
Gathering this personal information from us is what Facebook has spent decades and billions of dollars perfecting. Why? Because then…
Step 2: Facebook sells you to businesses.
Now that Facebook knows your age, gender, location, that you’re getting married in May, that you’re sick to death of laundry, and that you really love tacos, it charges advertisers money to place ads where you’re sure to see them: in your newsfeed.
Facebook isn’t just showing you just random ads though.
They are showing you ads for an online bridal shop, for an agency that will connect you with a local housekeeper, and for your favorite chain Mexican restaurant that just opened next to your office (since you told them where you work, checked into another location of the restaurant last month, and post about tacos approximately twice a week).
Unlike advertising from 20 years ago where a maternity clothing company ran a sale ad on TV or a billboard where they hoped a pregnant woman would see it, they can now deliver their ads directly to the nice lady who just posted about how her jeans officially won’t button over her baby bump. #BabySmith #DueInNovember
The more details these companies know, the more they can sell, all while spending less to reach you. Which brings us to…
Step 3: Facebook will go to great lengths to keep you logged in.
You open your Facebook app to quickly check your notifications.
Then you start scrolling, reading.
You chuckle. You “haha” your friend’s post.
You comment on how cute your cousin’s baby is.
Then you scroll some more.
Facebook is hilarious today.
Suddenly you look up. 20 minutes have passed and you completely forgot what you were doing.
This is not an accident, my friend!
Your newsfeed is very carefully crafted to only show you the posts that you’ve told Facebook you’re interested in, based on your activity.
Why? Because the more interesting you find Facebook, the more time you’ll spend using it. The more time you spend using it, the more ads you’ll see. The more ads you see, the more money Facebook makes from advertising. The entire time you’re logged in, they’re watching what you’re doing so they can keep gathering that personal data to pass along to advertisers.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s brilliant, and it’s why Facebook is a multi billion dollar behemoth (along with Google!).
Anybody building a brand or business online can learn a whole lot from the intricacies of Facebook’s business model. The point is, they use your activity not only to serve you ads, but to also construct your newsfeed. Not just your newsfeed, but also the news feeds of the people you want to reach.
Facebook posts are NOT shown to all your friends or page followers equally.
Facebook shows people content that is related to other content they’ve commented on, shared, or reacted to. If your friend only engages with posts featuring cats and babies, Facebook is less likely to put your fitness-related posts in her feed. If your cousin regularly shares posts about the Keto diet, your posts are more likely to be in HIS feed. Knowing your audience and creating content they’re interested in is important!
Post engagement is key.
Your Facebook posts are ranked based on other users’ activity with them after posting. Whether on your business page or personal profile, the more engagement your post gets, the higher Facebook algorithms will rank it, and it will be shown in more people’s feeds.
Comments are given the strongest weight.
Facebook wants you to post things that encourage what they call “meaningful interactions”, or in other words, a conversation. In the eyes of the almighty algorithm, a post with 10 reactions and 30 comments is better than a post with 30 reactions and 10 comments, and will be shown to more people.
Shares are better than hearts.
Shares have the next highest weight after comments. If visibility is what you’re going for, someone sharing your post is actually MORE beneficial than a reaction. If you want people to share, be sure your privacy settings allow it!
Reactions are all the same.
Reactions come next for ranking a post’s importance (haha, love, wow, sad, angry). Facebook algorithms know a reaction takes more effort than a like (because you have to hold down for that split second and select one) and therefore they assume the content is more meaningful than if it gets just a quick-tap like.
It doesn’t matter what the reaction is: an 😡 is just as meaningful to the algorithm as a ❤️ (which is why you should IGNORE offensive troll posts!)
Likes are cool…just not AS cool for reach.
Likes are last. They matter, and can give your content a boost…but not like they used to!
Pay attention to your who, what, where, when, and why.
Above are the bare basics of how your posts are placed in other users’ newsfeeds, and why. Once you’ve got that down, it’s time to fine tune the details of how to boost your potential visibility.
Your Facebook business page and your personal Facebook profile will get different organic reach.
Facebook wants you to use your business page for business, and your personal Facebook profile for personal relationships. In fact, using a personal profile for business purposes violates Facebook’s terms of service.
If you create a personal profile and use it SOLELY for business, you could be penalized:
If your wall is strictly sales and links to your website, Facebook may not be showing your posts to very many people.
Facebook could delete your business posts posted on your personal profile without warning.
Worst of all, you could come of as pretty obnoxious and uninteresting to your Facebook friends, because people (meaning your Facebook friends) who only post to sell you things are extremely annoying.
On the other hand, by default, posts from a personal profile are more visible than posts from a business page. I’m a big fan of using your personal profile to connect, build relationships and create your unique brand, with easy access to your Facebook business page or website.
For maximum visibility and building a strong brand, you should consider having a personal profile, a business page, and a Facebook group.
Engaging with other Facebook users boosts your own reach.
Not only does Facebook want to only show you posts you care about, but it only wants to show you posts from people you care about.
When you become friends with someone, engage with their post, or message them, Facebook assumes you have a better relationship with them than someone whose posts you scroll past. Facebook aims to better connect you with that user after you interact by showing you more of their posts…and they will also show them more of your posts.
You hurt your own reach if you post and run off without engaging with anyone. Creating relationships is what Facebook wants to encourage, and doing so will help you expand your own reach.
Tell your friend her dress is cute. “Love” the pic of your coworker’s and his wife on their honeymoon. Don’t be stingy with your reactions and comments!
Content is still king.
None of any of the above matters if nobody is interested in what you’re posting. Always post with the people you want to connect with in mind. The importance of knowing your audience and what they’re interested in can’t be understated.
Your social media posts shape your overall brand.
When it comes to having a strong online presence, your brand is everything. When I say brand, I’m not referring to fonts & colors.
Your brand is what you say, how you say it, and how it makes people feel.
When you post, are you always trying to sell something?
Do you come across as friendly, or unapproachable?
Do you welcome discussion, or are you hostile?
Are you strictly business, or are you informal?
If your posts are regularly ignored, it could be time to shake up your approach. If your focus has been mostly on business related posts, try throwing in some fun. If you air a lot of personal drama, maybe it’s time to take that down a notch. If you’re getting negative feedback, take an honest look at your tone. Play with different formats (videos, pictures, text).
Don’t take your eye off the prize.
My good friend and fellow entrepreneur Terrie Chantel is a tax & credit pro. She is always full of one-line wisdom. As you work to improve your reach and engagement on Facebook, remember her words:
“Popular is not the same as paid.”
Getting more likes & followers means nothing if it’s not helping to actually grow your business. Don’t get caught up in a trap of chasing likes and forget why you’re posting.
Have you changed the way you post on Facebook and seen and increase in engagement? Share below!