How to Improve Engagement on Facebook

Alex DiRenzo Alex DiRenzo, Former Contributor

There’s no need to convince you that Facebook is one of the best places for reaching a massive audience. No matter what type of business you have, you can be sure that many of your existing and potential customers are on Facebook. Yet, the very size and scale of Facebook also creates certain challenges.

Saying people are on Facebook today is almost like saying they’re on the internet. It’s true, but this doesn’t tell you how to target specific niches. Facebook, of course, does provide some useful targeting tools. However, it’s gotten so competitive that you really need to hone in on some clever strategies to get the most out of your efforts. One thing that’s imperative, no matter what your social media strategy, is to use effective analytics every step of the way. This is the only way to determine if you’re reaching the right audience and getting the results you want.

Understand Impressions, Reach and Engagement

When you buy ads or sponsored posts, it’s important to understand the difference between impressions, reach and engagement. These are not always defined in exactly the same way. For our purposes, we’re going to focus on how these terms are used on Facebook.

Impressions refer to the number of times something is displayed on someone’s feed. This doesn’t mean that the person actually paid attention to the post or ad, only that it appeared on his or her feed. One thing to know about impressions is that they aren’t necessarily unique. One user seeing the same content 10 times counts as 10 impressions. Reach refers to the number of unique people who see your content. For this reason, reach is more meaningful than impressions.

Engagement refers to people interacting with your content. This includes liking, sharing and commenting on your posts or ads. While you should track all of your Facebook analytics, engagement is what matters most. You can waste quite a bit of time and money seeking a large audience on Facebook. If people aren’t responding in some way, however, there’s no benefit.

Why Engagement is Vital on Facebook

Facebook differentiates between organic and paid reach. Organic reach refers to people who see your free content. Paid reach refers to people who see your ads or sponsored content. Facebook also recognizes viral reach, which occurs when someone shares your content. One reason you need to pay attention to engagement is that Facebook’s algorithm favors pages with high engagement.

When people engage with your content, they’re more likely to see it in the future. The reverse is also true. If your engagement is low, fewer people will see your content. This means that your organic content can easily get drawn into either an upward or downward spiral. When you’re doing well, Facebook makes it easy to do even better. When your content is performing poorly, it risks sinking into oblivion as Facebook shows it to fewer people.

Some businesses rely on paid advertising on Facebook, which is a fast way to increase engagement. However, it’s also good to focus on organic engagement. This is often a good test to see how people are reacting to your content. If you only use paid advertising, you risk spending money on ineffective campaigns. As we’ll see in the next section, it’s often most effective to balance a paid and organic approach.

Tips to Improve Engagement

There are a number of ways to boost engagement on Facebook.

  • Engage with your audience. Engagement is a two-way process. If you want people to engage with you, it helps if you return the favor. When people comment on your posts, always reply, even if it’s just to say “thanks.” If you notice certain people consistently supporting your pages, check out their pages as well.
  • Identify the best times to post. In general, social media engagement is best at night. However, it’s best to test your metrics and identify when your audience is online and engaging. For example, an audience of college students and young adults is likely to be up later than one made of seniors.
  • Add calls to action. Just as a call to action is essential on a sales page or blog post, it’s something you can use to increase engagement on Facebook. This may be a request to click on a link or share your post. It can also be as simple as inviting people to reply. Asking questions is a good way to encourage engagement.
  • Learn what works best. If you pay attention to what kind of content your audience responds to best, you can improve your engagement rates over time. They may favor certain topics and tones, such as businesslike or humorous.
  • Post quality photos. Images and other visual content are more popular than ever. This also means that everyone is now posting photos, memes, videos and other visual content. To stand apart, create professional and appealing images, such as quality photos and creative illustrations. Don’t rely on low-quality stock images. Photos are especially good for personalizing your content. These can be of yourself, your colleagues, your business or your region.
  • Get on board with Facebook videos. Facebook video is one of the best ways to engage your audience. Because If your current video strategy is to post videos from YouTube, consider making a change. Facebook is really focusing on video right now, so it’s only natural that their algorithm will favor their own videos. Don’t overlook the possibilities of Facebook Live, as streaming video gives you a powerful way to engage with people.

These are some of the best ways to improve engagement on Facebook. Remember that the rules are always changing as Facebook introduces new features and alters its algorithm. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest news and trends. It’s equally crucial to do your own testing and experimenting, as the same rules don’t always apply to every audience.