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25 Ways to Boost a Facebook Post Without Paying for Ads

Promoting a Facebook Post Third Party

Facebook is focusing more on friends and family, which inevitably means they’re giving businesses even less reach than before. While it’s only a matter of time before they drive off businesses entirely, they’re still a social media juggernaut, and they’re still worth using even with lower reach than ever before.

If you don’t have a budget for boosting posts – or if you’re doing it already and want to make your budget go further – you can take a variety of actions to get more exposure and more value to the posts you already make. Nothing says your only option is money, after all. It’s just harder to get that exposure without money these days. That said, even if you’re already spending an ad budget on promoted posts, you can make every dollar go further with a few simple techniques.

1. Know Your Audience

Knowing is half the battle, right? Knowing who you’re reaching is incredibly important. You could have a million followers, but if only 400 of them are people who care at all about your industry, brand, or product, you’re not going to get much out of them. Focus on learning who you’re reaching, figuring out specifically who you want to reach, and targeting those people with your organic messaging. You can even use organic post targeting to make it more explicit.

2. Learn and Iterate

Reach Stats Facebook

As you post, keep an eye on the outcomes. Which posts are having the biggest impact, getting the most reach, earning the most shares? There’s something special about those posts, and you need to figure out what it is. Are you posting at the right time of day? Are you encouraging engagement more than usual? Are you posting some kind of media? There are hundreds of possible reasons, and it’s up to you to determine what they are.

3. Incentivize

Consider running semi-regular Facebook contests. Contests can be tricky to run effectively, and they can cost a bit in administration fees and the prize, but they can encourage a lot of engagement. Engagement is the backbone of Facebook’s algorithm, and more engagement means more future reach. Regular contests can go a long way towards helping keep users engaged and active on your page.

4. Post More Media

Media gets attention. There’s a reason Facebook added the ability to pick a simple color or pattern and turn a basic text post into something that looks like an image. Text alone doesn’t stand out and is easy to gloss over. Posting images, animated gifs, and even videos can make your brand stand out where others are languishing unseen.

5. Encourage Engagement

Facebook Post Engagement

Every time you post a piece of content, be it a link, an image, a video, or anything else, you should ask yourself “what makes a user want to comment on this?” If you can’t think of an immediate answer, go back to the drawing board. It’s not enough to simply post something clever or neat; you need something that directly asks for engagement. Fill in the blank posts, caption contests, Q&A sessions: anything that encourages users to leave something more than a “neat” or “thanks” in the comments is ideal.

6. Capitalize on Trends

Monitor ongoing trends and figure out where your brand is situated in reference to them. For example, there are a lot of concerns right now about fair employment, compensation, and benefits. If you can demonstrate where your company stands ahead of the game on those fronts, you can get a lot of attention because of it. Just make sure you’re on the right side before you start claiming you are. I’ve seen more than one company make a statement about fair wages when they barely pay minimum wage to most of their employees.

7. Be Consistent

Consistency is the key to so many things in life. Being on time, posting every day at the right time of day, maintaining a consistent and familiar tone and outlook; it all combines to get your page an impression of reliability. When you’re reliable, you earn trust, and people can count on you for whatever it is you provide for them. It can help to use an editorial calendar or a social media scheduling tool to keep on top of your schedule.

8. Cross-Post on Other Platforms

Cross Promoting Social Media

You can post your Facebook updates to other social networks, and the posts from other social networks on Facebook, fairly easily. Both Twitter and Instagram can hook up automatically, and for other social networks you can set up a process through Zapier or IFTTT. A simple cross-posting setup can ensure that the same messages reaches your audience everywhere it can.

9. Embed the Facebook Like Box

The Facebook Like Box is a widget you can embed on your site, usually in a sidebar or footer. It’s similar to the box of people who like your page, but it can also include a feed of your recent posts. If you keep interesting content in your feed at all times, this can serve as an advertisement for your Facebook page that is free and always available on your website. You can convert a lot of readers into followers just by having the option always available for them.

10. Give Users a Reason to Follow

One incentive you can use to get people to follow your account is to offer incentives. Apps and games often posts redeemable codes that only work for a limited time; if you’re a follower, you can see those codes and get free in-game swag. Other companies might offer discounts for their stores or even limited free trials of their programs. There’s a lot you can give for minimal expense that can help gather new followers.

11. Dip Behind the Scenes

In a world of large and faceless corporations, it can be good to give a look behind the curtain. The occasional look behind the scenes can do a lot to humanize your company. You can do anything from the occasional voluntary employee feature to semi-documentary productions of how your business operates.

12. Encourage Customers to Follow

Follow Facebook Page

Any time someone makes a purchase or subscribes to you, encourage them to follow you for more updates, news, and content. You can do this through the “thanks for purchasing” page, or through an email confirmation, or within the product itself. I’ve gotten cards with similar messages in physical packages shipped to me, that’s how far some companies will go.

13. Join or Sponsor Events

Events typically have their own opportunities for promotion, and they help you get more exposure to people you might not otherwise reach. If you’re active and a helpful sponsor, the people who participate in the event might follow you out of courtesy. From there, you can hook them with your content and other incentives.

14. Consider Streaming

Facebook’s livestreaming service is the newest Hot Thing the site has been pushing on its advertisers and users. They may be trying to compete with YouTube streaming and Amazon’s Twitch, but that doesn’t change the fact that plenty of people respond well to livestreams. There’s a lot that can go into creating and producing a stream, more than I can cover in a few dozen words here, so it’s worth your time to go read in detail about it. Facebook is pushing it for the moment, so livestreams get more inherent reach than other kinds of posts.

15. Embed Posts

Facebook Embed Post

It’s fairly common to take screenshots of Facebook posts for use in blog posts, but that’s wasting an opportunity. Facebook allows you to embed the post directly. This can be a bad idea if you’re embedding content from someone else that might be deleted, but when you’re embedding your own content, you can be sure it won’t be going anywhere. It allows users to interact directly from your blog while still counting as reach and engagement.

16. Use the Facebook Comments Plugin

Instead of using something like Disqus or native blog comments, why not use the Facebook comments system? Using it has all of the same benefits as embedding posts, except it doesn’t split attention between one string of comments on Facebook and another on your blog. Comments on your posts on your site translate to comments on your Facebook page, which are engagement and thus are beneficial.

17. Curate Viral Content

There’s a bit of a risk/reward to curating content. On the one hand, by sharing high quality viral content, you get a lot of people interacting with content via your page. On the other hand, you’re not the one posting the content, so a lot of that engagement is going to someone else. Curate content, but study what does well with your audience and use that knowledge to create your own viral content.

18. Share Content Again

Share on Facebook

When you post a piece of content and it does particularly well, there’s no reason it needs to stop there. After a few days have passed, why not give it a share? You can re-promote your own content for a second wave of visibility. Along with a few new comments, this can give it an entire second run through your audience, possibly even larger than the first.

19. Maintain Conversations

One of my top five tips, if I had to pick just five. Whenever a user comments on your posts, take a look at it. Some of those comments will be great opportunities to spark a conversation. Sure, some comments are hard, but many will be questions, anecdotes, or shares that can be a starting point for a back-and-forth that boosts engagement, acts as a mini-share with every comment, and further encourages reach.

20. Avoid Common “Banned” Techniques

Several common techniques are actually against the Facebook terms of use and community guidelines. They’re not often penalized, but when they are, the penalty is detrimental for a long time. Some such techniques include using overt clickbait headlines, using videos that are basically static, and using the reactions system as a voting engine for images or video content. Just because other people do it doesn’t mean it’s safe to do!

21. Spy on Competitors

Spy Competitors Facebook

Your competitors are almost definitely on Facebook. I can’t think of the last time I worked with a brand that didn’t have at least two competitors on the site. Those competitors are doing their own things, and sometimes they might be more successful at them than you are. Feel free to study what they’re doing and try to replicate their success. Sometimes you can’t, but sometimes you can, and whenever you can mimic someone and find success, do it.

22. Make Sure Graph Attributes Work

Any time you post a link to your site on Facebook, the site checks the Open Graph meta data to figure out what to generate as a thumbnail and preview of the link. If you don’t have anything set, or if your settings aren’t working, the link preview could break. That makes your page look worse and makes your posts less visible, so make sure to fix any lingering OG issues on your site.

23. Use the Review System

Certain categories of pages are able to use the Facebook reviews system. This is noteworthy because, once you have accumulated a few reviews, Google will start indexing your reviews and can even provide a star rating in the search results. Assuming you’re able to get 4-5 star reviews consistently, this can be a great way to encourage users who find your page to click through.

24. Block Fake Accounts

You can scan through a few of your followers, though not all of them. As you scan, you can find accounts that are clearly not valid accounts. There’s no easy way to audit your entire following, but you can block those few bad accounts to have a minor impact on reach. Since reach is a percentage of your audience, fewer people who don’t see your posts and aren’t engaged means a higher percentage that do.

25. Pin a Good Post

Pinning a post means whenever someone visits your page, that post is the first thing they see at the top of your feed. Your most viral post, a high profile contest, a promoted post you’re pushing as hard as possible, or even just a coupon or announcement can make a good pinned post.

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