Peter Cressey
Peter Cressey 5 January 2018

Harness the Power of Employee Advocacy and Optimise Your Content for the Facebook Algorithm

You spend hours carefully planning and curating beautiful, good quality content, checking and double checking the copy and creating the perfect image to match, only to post it and see low engagement and clicks - then you see that it's reached only 5 - 10% of your audience, but why? More often than not, it's the Facebook algorithm.

Most digital marketeers are aware of the frustrating, head-scratching challenge known as the “Facebook algorithm” and face it on a daily basis.

It's painful.

In order to appear highest in the users' news feed, you need to get high engagement rates and quickly, otherwise the Facebook algorithm will likely push your hard work to the bottom of the pile, reducing visibility, reach, clicks and overall engagement.

There are a number of other factors too, including:

  • Authentic communications - Facebook can detect 'spammy' language, and prioritises good quality content.
  • Friends and family - Facebook prioritises posts from friends and family (increasing the argument for employee advocacy, more below).
  • You chose what you see - through settings such as 'see first' and 'unfollow', the user can decide what they see and when.
  • Facebook also decides - dependant on the users 'interests', Facebook can autonomously push posts that are relevant to you to the top of your news feed.

There's around 100,000 other factors too, and they’re tightening the algorithm all the time.

Just recently Facebook announced they’re pushing posts that require followers to “tag a friend”, “share” or “like” to the bottom of the pile – also known as “engagement bait”.

However, the algorithm is there for good reason, if not, Facebook would be overloaded with 'spammy' content - an unpleasant place for all - and they would be giving away free advertising space.

They have the users' best interests at heart, but this provides a challenge for digital marketeers nonetheless.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to engage with your followers on Facebook.

There are almost 2.072 billion people active on Facebook every month.

It's a space your business needs to be in, and to do so you need to optimise your content and delivery to achieve high engagement, enabling you to reap the rewards.

Try these 3 simple steps to work with the algorithm, not against it, and increase your visibility in the news feed.

Employee Advocacy

Based on how the algorithm works, employee advocacy could be the tactic you're missing in your overall social media strategy.

Employee advocacy is "the exposure that employees generate for brands using their own online assets".

In some cases, employees can have more friends and followers than CEOs, or even the company.

If your colleagues like (react), share or comment on your post, Facebook will see that people are engaging with it and push it towards the top of the pile, increasing your visibility, reach, clicks and overall engagement.

Based on how the algorithm works, employee advocacy is a fantastic way to:

It's an effective strategy for smaller companies with 1 -10 employees, but has been even scaled by some of the giants too - and with great success - including Starbucks, IBM and Vodafone to name a few.

All good stuff.

Have you ever thought about the fact that you're more likely to engage with a post if others have too?

How to Implement Employee Advocacy

Promote the company's social media pages to not only your customers, but your colleagues too.

If you need to, explain briefly how the algorithm works to your colleagues and show them how to set their Facebook settings so they see the company's posts first, it's really simple to do, even for the least technically capable.

First, you need to search for the company page in the search bar on Facebook, then hover over on the "following" button.

On the drop down, you'll see another button saying "see first".

Click 'See first' and you're good to go.

This way, when your scheduled posts go and your colleagues are exercising their thumbs on the daily-scroll, they'll see your posts right at the top, ready to engage with.

Not only that, if the company's social media activity inspires your colleagues, then you're likely to increase positivity in the work place and productivity as a result.

Win, win.

Create a network of people that share your content and encourage engagement amongst your fans.

The Right Message at the Right Time

It's all good having great content, but do you actually know when your audience is online?

Send your posts at the wrong time and it could be like shouting in an empty room.

This point is made all the time, but it should be an integral part of your social media strategy, it's easy to optimise too.

Well, if you work in a conventional office, your colleagues are likely to be at work between the hours of 9am and 5pm, so if you want to engage with at least your colleagues, then you're going to want to post after 6pm.

This allows for people to commute home, make some food and put their feet up before getting their social media fix.

Just check out this graph, it shows that around 60% of the active followers are online between the hours of 8pm and 9pm.

Of course, it differs for every page, but is definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.

More often than not, there is no "one size fits all" posting time strategy.

To find out when your users' are online, simply click on the "Insights" tab at the top of your company Facebook page when logged in to the company page.

Then click on "Posts" - this will display the hours when your audience is online, and on each day of the week, enabling you to optimise your scheduling time for maximum engagement.

Quality Over Quantity

Quality content is king...

Every. Single. Time.

Curate content your colleagues will want to share, if your posts are inspiring and reflect their hard work and the positive impact they have on the company, they're going to be much more likely to share the content.

Also, it makes sense that your promotional activity on social media reflects the targets of your sales team, then your colleagues are actually incentivised to share the content.

Be aware that posting too much sales orientated copy can actually turn your fans away, and the algorithm doesn't like it much either - but it's worth experimenting with.

Pulling it together

Let's boil it down:

  1. Promote your social media pages to your colleagues, show them how to 'see the company's posts first' and explain the benefits of sharing and engaging with the social media posts.
  2. Plan and create good quality, non-spammy content that matches your colleagues objectives as well as the interests of your audience and inspires them to engage.
  3. Optimise the send time, depending when your audience is online.
  4. Your content will then be pushed towards the top of the feed, and shared amongst your audience and your colleagues friends.

Got some thoughts? You may agree or disagree with employee advocacy, either way, let me know in the comments below.

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