How to game Facebook in 2018

Ah planning season. A magical time devoted to changes in marketing strategy for the new year. Following Facebook’s latest revision of the mighty Edgerank algorithm, it has become clear that some brands will need to scrap their existing approach to social media and make some rather dramatic changes, or else increase their Facebook budget.

Mark Zuckerberg’s intention is for our timelines to reflect content that is meaningful rather than merely relevant with friends/family/groups being prioritised over business/brands/media. Unless of course the latter pay to boost the post or the engagement on these posts is superlative, you’re going to see much less of it. What Facebook intends to do is discourage mindless scrolling and passive sharing, and instead make the experience of Facebook more engaging, even if as a result we spend less time on the site. Yes it’s finally quality over quantity, people.
Personally I’d rather the evolution of Edgerank didn’t continue to polarise the internet and create bubbles of bigotry and ignorance, but don’t get me started on that.

So unless you as a page owner begin to pay for the privilege of having your content seen (a fine line to tread given that the more regularly you pay, the more you will eventually need to pay because Facebook knows where their bread is ultimately buttered) you are going to have to actively game the algorithm.

How to structure a successful Facebook post for free

Post media:
Until recently, natively hosted videos and images were the safest bet to ensure that your post was successful rather than links which are penalised by Edgerank. For good reason too; links to external content such as a blog or article are not in Facebook’s best interests to prioritise in the feed because they encourages people to leave the site. This is why Instagram don’t enable hyperlinks in their posts. If you want to share a link to Facebook without boosting the post, consider posting the link instead in the first comment of your post or better yet as part of the engagement your post generates.
Level up: Whilst Edgerank still likes images and videos, Facebook Live is by far the best way to get the attention of your audience. Take the plunge!

Post language: Also known as questions questions questions. If you want people to respond to your post, structuring it as a question is the logical way to achieve this result. In terms of language, clickbait continues to reign supreme and using “should, would, which and who” over “when, what, where, why and how” is one way to influence your audience. Yes/no questions are good, multiple choice questions with 3 options are better. Open ended questions are timeless classics, especially if you are asking your audience to share personal opinions or experiences.
Not right for your brand? Another good way to encourage responses is to tap into meme culture and ask your audience to caption a photo you have shared or create a fill in the blank post. Just be mindful of the information you ask for in case your audience mistakes you for a social engineer.
Level up: Pages used to game Edgerank by openly encouraging people to like/share/tag people in comments but Facebook now actively penalises this practise. It is possible to do it subtly though by asking your followers who they would like to buy a product for/tell about something. This will lead them to tag that person in the comments or share the post to them without you having used language that Facebook will detect and spank you for.

Post time: These days everybody is online virtually all the time and thanks to Edgerank their timeline is no organised by the most recent post but by the most popular or relevant. If Zuckerberg gets his way however, we will all be spending much less time on Facebook so familiarise yourself with your page analytics to calculate whether there is an ideal time for your scheduled posts based on the performance of similar ones. Your Insights tab is your friend, check out “when your fans are online.”
Level up: Don’t forget to compare yourself to your competition by making use of the “top posts from pages you watch” feature. You can add these to “pages to watch” in your overview.

Post engagement: Fact. If you like and respond to every comment, you will boost the rankings for your post. It really is that simple.
Level up: tag the person in your response and use an emoticon.
Yes emoticons are utterly cringeworthy and I am genuinely concerned that one day they will replace actual language in some Idiocracy-style future… but Edgerank loves them.

Bonus round
As a page, your post options are limited to the following with the bonus option of being able to schedule and backdate posts in your page timeline.

As a person however, you have a number of post formats to choose from and you can tag your page in these in order to encourage new likes and followers, and engage with groups and on other pages on behalf of your page or by tagging your page too.

As a result, when new people visit your page and hopefully engage, make sure you invite them to like your page by regularly checking the list of “others” who have commented on your post, identifying whether they like your page and inviting them if they do not.

Does this seem like a lot to take in or a lot of effort? Get in touch and I’ll do the hard work for you, or demystify it a little more over a cup of tea and a wodge of cake.

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