83% of people search for company information on social media. So, if you want to be seen, you need to be active on the networks, whether you’re new to business or just expanding your customer base. But for many people, to this day, the world of algorithms, advertising and copywriting is an alternate universe in which they don’t know how to exist. How do you increase your reach on Facebook or Instagram? What does reach, engagement and impression mean? And what good is it all for anyway?
Social media marketing? Nowadays a necessity
You simply can’t do business without social media today. Whatever industry you’re in, customers need to know about you first and foremost, and then you need to earn their trust.
We’ve already told you how to create a successful marketing plan in a previous article. So today, we’ll focus primarily on how to challenge the algorithms and increase your reach.
Set your goals and strategy
Before we start with the individual tips and guides, we need to be clear about what we’re after on social media. Which platform will be best for your business and what you want to achieve on it. There are plenty of options where you can present yourself. As well as Facebook and Instagram, there’s also LinkedIn, YouTube and TikTok. However, they all differ a bit in their focus and in the demographics of the users.
- Facebook is a universal social network that is used by 42 million people in the UK. You can find all kinds of users on it across age, interests and education.
- Instagram is a platform based on quality photos and videos (reels). Therefore, consider it especially if you offer photogenic products and can impress with visuals.
- LinkedIn is a professional network where professionals from different fields come together. It is ideal for B2B marketing.
- YouTube is the most used social network in the UK. In content marketing, it can be used for example for creating video tutorials or video reviews.
- TikTok is one of the newer social networks. It consists mainly of sharing short videos, and you will find mainly younger users there – including children.
Think about what your target group is like and try combining the networks in different ways.
Tip: Before you start wowing your customers, define your marketing and communication strategy. This will make it easier to achieve your goals.
Glossary of metrics – what does reach actually mean?
To work on improving reach, you first need to know what it represents and where to find it. In addition, reach itself is shaped by many other variables that social media algorithms work with. Here’s a little glossary of metrics you need to know:
For reach, we have two basic types:
- Page or total reach: page reach tells you how many users have seen any content associated with your Facebook page over a given period.
- Post reach: This reach can be:
- paid reach – the number of views based on sponsored posts and ads.
- organic reach – the number of people who viewed the post without sponsorship
Impressions represent the total number of views of a page or post. How is it different from reach, you ask? While reach tells you how many users have seen a post, impressions tell you how many times a post has appeared on someone’s screen. For example, if Johny sees your Facebook post three times, the reach would be 1, but the impression would be 3.
Another important metric is engagement. This includes the number of all reactions to a given post – likes, comments, shares, clicks. The engagement rate shows how interesting the post is to the user.
The engagement rate then shows us the proportion of people who responded to the post shown. For example, 1,000 people may have seen the post but only 10 people responded to it – so the engagement rate is only 1% in this case.
The CTR (Click Through Rate) shows what percentage of people clicked on the displayed post. Essentially, this is how you can track the effectiveness of a given post.
You can easily find all these values in the Facebook Business Suite analytics tool, where you can see the report for both Facebook and Instagram. If you have your own website, Facebook pixel will also be a great help.
Facebook or Instagram?
It’s not just a difference in content and features. Of course, Facebook and Instagram also work differently based on different algorithms. In order to be able to create relevant content and have it reach your customers, you need to know how these algorithms work.
General rules for increasing your reach
Facebook and Instagram work very similarly in many ways. Let’s now look at a few common principles for increasing your reach on both Facebook and Instagram.
1. Engagement first
The higher the engagement rate, the more people the algorithm will show your posts to. Therefore, give your fans the opportunity to actively engage. To increase reach, you need to engage the user with the post enough to make them respond. A like, a comment, a share… all these ultimately mean more successful reach for you.
Tip: Social media users are overwhelmed with sales posts. So, try engaging them in a different way, let them know you’re interested in their opinion, entertain or educate them. Engage your audience with quizzes, try stirring up a discussion with a controversial topic, or invite followers to show off a photo or experience of their own.
2. Experiment with the format
Try different types of posts: photos, videos, gifs, stories (even reels on Instagram). An interesting gif, infographics or video will engage users much more than just plain text. Moreover, social media algorithms prefer videos and automatically show them to more users.
Tip: Social networks generally don’t like it when you send users elsewhere. So instead of sharing links on YouTube, upload videos directly to Facebook or Instagram. The algorithms will show your post much more often.
3. Keep a consistent style
Experimenting with form is fine. But make sure your profile has a consistent style. You should determine your communication style in advance – will you be shouting or tweeting at your fans? And how formal do you want to be? The graphics should also look uniform, and if it’s Instagram photos, it’s a good idea to use the same filter to unify them.
Tip: Do you know how to communicate with the customer according to the stage of decision-making?
4. Use the right timing
Another very useful piece of information is an overview of the times when your fans are active. This will make it much more likely that they will come across your post at all and respond to your posts. Additionally, if you track the most active periods on your profile well, you can schedule posts in advance.
Tip: You definitely don’t have to write down your post times and fan activity in a notebook. One of the analytics tools available – such as Eclincher – will figure it all out for you.
5. Find the right sharing frequency
Logically, every business has a slightly different fan base. So, there’s no general ideal number of posts per week. Try experimenting a bit with posting. You can use analytics tools to see what post reach and engagement look like at different posting frequencies. If you find that your fans get tired after one post a day, it doesn’t make sense for you to add more content that no one is responding to.
Specifics of Facebook
Reach, and more importantly engagement, works a little differently on Facebook than on other networks. So, what can you focus on to increase your Facebook reach?
Simplicity is power
The ideal Facebook post should be mainly short (under 300 characters), as simple as possible, and focused on one topic. You then have a much better chance of getting users to engage and respond to it. Engagement, as we already know, is a prerequisite for greater reach.
In general, most viral posts awaken emotions in people. Once you do this, you can expect a higher engagement rate with the post as well. In addition, since 2016, Facebook also offers the possibility to express emotions with so-called reactions buttons. The algorithm then evaluates posts with different types of reactions as more successful and displays them to a larger audience.
Be warned: Facebook does not like forced reactions and blatant encouragement to engage with phrases such as “Comment on the post…” or “Like…”. It may then refuse to promote such posts. So, watch out for these phrases and try to get around them in a different and original way.
Invite users to follow the page
Facebook also offers the option to invite users who have responded to your post to follow the page. Simply expand the reactions box next to the post and hit the invite button to the right, next to the user’s name. This will ensure that the person becomes a fan of your page and will also see other (unpromoted) posts.
Ask your fans to turn on notifications
Similarly, you can also ask Facebook fans to turn on notifications. This works well for posts with a large response rate. Simply add a sentence in the text asking your fans to turn it on so they don’t miss out on your other posts with similar themes (advice, tips, updates, etc.). Getting fans to turn on the notifications will ensure that they see your posts first and your organic reach will grow.
Specifics of Instagram
Hashtags are to Instagram what the royal family is to Britain – an essential part. So don’t forget to use them. A well-chosen hashtag will help you amplify your Instagram reach by making your post visible to all users who have searched for the hashtag, who can then easily reach your profile. Geolocation and hashtags work in a similar way – they make you discoverable to people who may not have been looking for you in the first place.
Create (interactive) stories
Stories on Instagram get scrolled through by far more people than the feed thanks to their placement in the header of the screen. By being active in stories, you have a chance to reach even bored users who can’t even get to your feed post. Plus, if your fans are viewing the stories, you’ll get better placement of your other posts in the feed.
Tip: To make your stories engaging, it’s best to use a wide variety of stickers such as locations, time, gifts and more. Also use the swipe up feature to drive fans to your website, for example. Let them vote in a poll or ask questions. The more opportunities you give them to engage, the more likely they are to respond to your post, and your engagement rate – and therefore your reach – will grow.
Respond to your audience
A very effective tool to increase engagement, and therefore reach, on Instagram is to respond to the behavior of your followers. Respond to comments, or at least like them. If someone tags you in a story, don’t be afraid to reshare the post on your site as well. This lets followers know that you care about their opinion, and it can also help you gain more followers – like when someone shares your story to show off to their friends.
Watch out for shadowban
Maybe you’ve never heard of shadowban, and maybe you have one and don’t even know about it. Shadowban is basically like an unofficial boycott of your account. At first glance, you continue to function normally, but your reach and engagement rate are essentially at zero, even for many days.
Instagram awards shadowbanning most often for using “banned” hashtags (usually involving profanity, racism, or sexual innuendo). However, these are nowhere to be found officially, so you need to use your natural sensibility. Another reason can be advertising harassment in the news or too many new posts a day.
How to increase reach? It takes patience
Successful social media marketing is a complicated alchemy with a million variables. So, count on the fact that your reach and engagement values won’t skyrocket instantly. The important thing is to manage your account and add posts regularly.
If you feel that Facebook and Instagram algorithms are all Greek to you, you can leave their management to us. We’ll plan your strategy, design a schedule, and take care of the copywriting, graphics, and post publishing.