audience engagement

Audience engagement in Facebook – ongoing battle or waste of time?

With so many changes to the Facebook algorithm recently, you may have noticed engagement on your brand pages going down. You’re not alone if that’s the case, as business pages have noticed a dip in the number of engagements across the board. While you might have been focused on your content, if your engagement is dipping, your getting less visibility.

The latest algorithm change from Facebook naturally puts pages at a disadvantage, as they come second to friends and family. In an effort to enrich the experience of their users, they want to make the personal side of Facebook more prominent. Engagement is a key driver of success for Facebook pages.

We’ve been looking at some examples of how this has been impacting brands, using data from a study by social media tool Buffer. They measured the performance of the top 20,000 brand pages on Facebook and the results are interesting to say the least.

Page engagement is in a freefall 

The engagement on these pages is in freefall, in a trend of decline since Q3 of 2017. The statistics show that page engagement is down as much as 50% on even on top brands, which is substantial. 

Why? This could be anyone’s guess. Facebook’s functionality as a news, entertainment or information tool has been saturated, people are bored, delivery of content in this channel hasn’t been working properly which lead to them changing the algorithm in the first place. The point is it could be a number of things – from the platform tinkering to the fact that users are moving on to other more exciting social channels to engage with their peers on.

Images pull in the most engagement 

Although we’re constantly being told to invest in video by these social media networks, the stats don’t lie. Images actually garner the most engagement looking at the data. However, it’s important to note that this has dipped too, but engagement for video hasn’t dipped as much as content reach. Image based posts are still getting more engagement, but should this decline continue at the same rate they’ll be overtaken by videos. 

Pages are upping their post frequency

There’s a massive question mark over the concept of quality over quantity but it seems that in tougher times, pages are turning to posting more often to gain attention. The premise makes sense, though each post might be getting less engagement, we can post more to get the same level, right? Wrong. As the number of posts increases, the algorithm takes steps to mediate this with a lower reach per post. 

Not all pages are equal 

In terms of this decrease in engagement, it seems that not all pages are equal as different sectors are impacted in different ways. These have all been impacted in different ways, with some experiencing a larger drop than others. For example, the retail sector has been least affected by this change. Probably because customers are interested in bargains and new things to purchase so sale messaging will continue to gain reach. 

So what can you do to garner better audience engagement?

If you want real, meaningful engagement with your page followers you have to work smarter. Up your engagement and making the most of the followers that you already have. Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are still widely undervalued by affiliates, so if you’re feeling scorned by Facebook then you may want to also look further afield. 

If you do want to continue using this platform, consider these tips:

  • Create authentic engagement, don’t rely on clickbait. 
  • Don’t be afraid to incentivise your audience to engage and share your content. 
  • Know what adds value to your audience and what doesn’t.
  • Monitor your metrics to shoot for success. 

Building user engagement on your Facebook page is an ongoing effort and it will change as the algorithm does so try to keep an open mind and consider all your options before investing too much in any one channel for your content strategy.

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