How to Beat Facebook’s Algorithm and Actually Get Customers from Facebook
Facebook is such an interesting puzzle for entrepreneurs. On the one hand, it’s an amazing opportunity: so many people all gathered together and accessible. But on the other hand, Facebook’s algorithms can make it quite difficult to actually reach these people with your message.
As a passionate entrepreneur who truly believes in my product, all I want is to share it with people. “You’ve got problems, I’ve got solutions.” There are specific sectors of people who are genuinely looking for what my business offers. They’re drowning and they need help.
The trick is figuring out how to connect with those people.
Now, Facebook’s algorithms serve a valuable purpose. You aren’t interested in everything that your friends (or business pages you’ve liked) post. The algorithms are incredibly “smart” and really do help you have a much more enjoyable experience on Facebook.
Without the algorithms, lazy marketers, who can’t be bothered to make sure they’re only speaking to their target audience, would be spamming everyone’s feed.
Facebook is a business.
As a business, Facebook has every right to decide how their platform operates — and Facebook will always choose for things to work how it best serves Facebook for things to work.
Fortunately for the customer, it’s always in Facebook’s best interest to give them the best possible experience.
Why? Because Facebook benefits (profits) when users spend more time on their platform — and they do so if they are having a more enjoyable experience.
All Facebook is trying to do with their algorithms is give their customers the best experience they can possibly provide.
And they are pretty darn good at it.
(Facebook’s focus on innovation and customer experience is what has kept it from long ago folding like MySpace did. And while many of us curiously anticipate when their fall will come, the reality is that they will continue to thrive for as long as they continue to strategically provide their customers with an excellent experience.)
Facebook’s algorithms might be great and all, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t sometimes frustrating for businesses.
You just want to talk to your people, but Facebook won’t broadcast your message. You just want to share your great sale or let people know what big changes are coming to your offerings.
But Facebook is not your personal advertising slave. Facebook is a business, and as such they care only to make their customer happy.
And while your customers might be truly interested to hear your message, Facebook is dealing with So. Much. Information. that the only way they can possibly sift through it all is categorically.
i.e. You are a business, therefore your messages are probably not as interesting to Facebook users as the posts of their friends are.
(This is totally true, by the way. Most people are more interested in the lives of their friends then they are interested in marketing messages. High-five, Facebook.)
So really, while Facebook’s algorithm may be frustrating to businesses, it’s quite beautiful. An absolute work of art.
How to beat Facebook’s Algorithm
The algorithm may be beautiful, but that doesn’t mean it makes things easy for entrepreneurs. So how can you beat it and actually get the word out about what you have to offer?
Considering the behemoth you’re dealing with, brute force isn’t going to win you any points. If you want to end up on top you either need to be especially cunning or else simply work with Facebook, rather than against it.
Here are three ways to actually use Facebook to market your business, despite the algorithms.
1) Use groups to network with your exact target audience.
“In the olden days,” entrepreneurs would physically go to networking events just to connect with a few dozen, or maybe a couple hundred, people. Those people were generally NOT all within their target audience, but the entrepreneur hoped that they would make connections with at least a few who were.
(BTW, I do mean this humorously. I’m fully aware that people still do this. I do it too, sometimes. And it does work, at least to some extent. 🙂 )
In just the last couple of years, Facebook groups have exploded. Millions of people are now connected in niche categories.
And there’s something else special about groups — not only are these people grouped by their common interests, but only inside of the groups do users have the opportunity to socially interact with people who aren’t already their friends.
This is huge! (And totally any marketer’s fantasy. 😀 ) It means you can network with thousands of individuals who are your exact target customers — from your living room. Craaaazy.
(You have no idea how much money marketers would have paid 20 years ago to be able to do this.)
This is an incredible opportunity, so be careful not to abuse it. Groups are amazing for connecting with the right people, developing relationships, learning (first hand) what your potential customers are struggling with, and asking for feedback.
Just don’t get spammy or start self-promoting. You’ll quickly become alienated, ignored, and quite possibly banned.
You can build a castle if you just play nice in the sandbox. 😉
2) Promote viral content (and ask for shares)
If you share your latest blog post or sale on your Facebook page, your post might get shown to a few hundred people (depending on how many likes your page has), but you’ll probably get very little engagement (likes/comments/shares).
However, there are other types of content that can get much greater reach because it is much more likely to get shared. For example:
- Giveaways (make sharing one of the requirements to enter)
- “Epic” articles (The Ultimate Guide to _______)
- Funny articles
Also, it may seem inconsequential, but the simple act of asking people to like, comment, or share actually increases the likelihood that your followers take action by at least 50%. For best results, be sure to accompany your call to action with a reason why users should take action, such as:
“Like this post if you love pizza!”
“Know other busy moms? Share this recipe to save them from having to decide what to make for dinner.”
“Comment below to let us know which product you’d like us to put on sale next month!”
“Like this post if you can relate!”
To get the maximum amount of exposure, follow this formula:
- Create engaging content — the type that is much more likely to go viral.
- Share it and include a call to action. (Don’t forget that reason why.)
- After 24 hours, boost that post to reach a much greater audience. (For best results, use the Power Editor to “run ad for existing post,” rather than simply clicking “boost post.” You’ll get a much better cost per click.)
- Finally, make sure you respond to any comments that your followers leave!
By waiting 24 hours before you pay to promote your post, you’ll get the most out of your organic reach.
If you’re not sure how to use the Power Editor, don’t worry. Any good Facebook ads expert can help you out. (And keeping such an expert on retainer is well worth the money!)
The key here is focusing on promoting shareable, engaging content. Your advertising dollars will go so much further! This is because when people share your content, you’ll be able to reach many more people than you actually paid to reach.
So, maybe you’re paying $3 per mil (thousand impressions), but then two people share your post. Suddenly you’re reaching twice as many people for the same cost!
I really don’t want you to waste your time creating boring content that will just sit around collecting dust, so it’s important that you understand exactly what separates viral content from the rest. Click here to download “The 10 Characteristics of Viral Content.” Inside, you’ll learn what makes some content so much more compelling than the rest (and how you can create such content yourself)!
3) Actually PAY for advertising. (Crazy, I know.)
Ultimately, you want to increase your reach so that you can make more sales, am I right?
And apparently, reaching your target customers is valuable enough to you that you are willing to spend your limited time not only to post on Facebook — but even to read articles about how to increase your reach.
And, to state the obvious, the reason you’re willing to invest like this is because it helps you create profit. The more people you reach, the more sales you make, the more people you’re able to help, and the stronger your business grows.
For a long time, I resisted paying Facebook for advertising. It was half because I was penny-pinching and half because I felt like it was cheating. I wanted to grow naturally, on the merit of my work alone.
As for the former, that was simply foolish. I was pinching pennies but losing dollars. If you could spend one dollar to get two, would you? Yes, of course! And if you know what you’re doing with FB ads, you can do that all day long. Abstaining from paying for advertising to “save money” is just ridiculous.
And as for my desire to build my business on the merit of my work, well, that was unrealistic. Why? Because these days there is SO much competition in nearly every industry that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd without playing more strategically.
For example, I am a “good” marketer. I take care of my clients, offer good quality services, and produce results. BUT, there are thousands of other good marketers in the world too. If I just share my work with a couple hundred Facebook fans then I’ll never truly be able to grow. I’ll take my small share of the market, and everyone else will take theirs. Other companies will spend enormous amounts of money and take much bigger pieces of the pie.
Word of mouth is wonderful — some of the best clients I’ve ever had came to me through word of mouth. But word of mouth can be SLOW. Even if you provide great service to your customers, only a small percentage of them will be compelled to actually tell others about you.
Now, if your goal is to stay a solopreneur indefinitely — if you like working alone on one project at a time — then, depending on your industry, word of mouth might provide plenty of work for you.
But if you’re interested in scaling, then paying for advertising can help you do so much, much faster.
There’s nothing less “authentic” about customers earned through advertising, either. You’re not “buying” customers, likes, or even clicks. You’re paying to have your content shown to more people — nothing more. If your content appeals to them, then they will click “like,” visit your website, or even make a purchase. There’s nothing at all “fake” about it.
(And, if you share especially interesting “viral” content, then you’re likely to get shares as well, which can help your brand organically grow even more!)
Before the dawn of social media, companies always paid for advertising if they wanted to grow. Sure, there were mom and pop shops and in-home businesses, just like there are today, that grew by word of mouth only, but most any big, growing company got that way by investing in advertising.
So, take advantage of the unprecedented opportunity that Facebook presents to reach thousands of your ideal customers for pennies! The return on your investment will be well worth it.
Why I’m Not Mad at Facebook’s Algorithm
Even though Facebook’s algorithm makes it somewhat more difficult to reach customers, I’m actually quite thankful for it. That’s because, otherwise, at least two quite unfortunate things would happen.
First of all, lazy marketers and businesses would simply be spamming their marketing messages all day long. They wouldn’t get the WAKE UP CALL that doing so wouldn’t produce the results they’re after. They’d be trying to tell everyone about their products, regardless of whether or not their audience was actually interested.
With the current algorithms, though, it’s more difficult and/or expensive to reach each person, so we put more thought into who we make an effort to reach. This is beneficial for everyone involved.
And second, Facebook wouldn’t last. With so much content on the platform, users would be overwhelmed with content that didn’t greatly interest them. They would spend increasingly less time on Facebook until eventually, it would all shut down. Then we (as businesses) would get zero reach. Totally not helpful.
So yes, I’m thankful for Facebook’s algorithms. And I think we can (and should!) work with them to grow our businesses. Otherwise, we’re missing out on such an incredible opportunity to reach more people — and that doesn’t help anyone, either.
One last thing
I really don’t want you to waste your time creating boring content that will just sit around collecting dust, so if you haven’t already, don’t forget to download “The 10 Characteristics of Viral Content.” Inside, you’ll learn exactly what makes some content so much more compelling than the rest (and how you can create such content yourself)!