Shortly after Facebook’s mid-September update to its EdgeRank algorithm, marketers began to notice a disturbing trend: their reach numbers seems to be taking a nosedive. Was it just them? Had they lost their touch? Nope, the same techniques that had yielded good reach numbers the previous week were suddenly showing lackluster analytics.

What experts quickly figured out was that the tweaks made to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm had caused the system to judge that fewer fans cared to see their posts than was previously thought. In response to an EdgeRank Checker blog post, a Facebook ad rep had the following explanation:

“While overall engagement should remain relatively consistent as a result of our most recent optimization, your organic reach may be impacted. The more engaging your content, the lower the impact this optimization should have on your reach going forward.”

The post that the rep was responding to contained the findings of a recent EdgeRank Checker study, which determined that pages in their database were seeing 26% reach on average before the September 20 update, and 19.5% after. For those keeping score, that’s a 6.5% decline in reach.

So now that the mystery is solved, how can marketers take this EdgeRank lemon and make lemonade? The good news is that the intention of the algorithm update was to ensure that the most engaging content from the most diligent brands is getting into Facebook users’ news feeds. Make sure you are in the mix by continually observing best practices and creatively posting in the most engaging ways you can.

Lots of little tricks for making EdgeRank view you more favorably are starting to crop up from creative marketers. One of the most ingenious we found was posted by Mashable, and points out that including a lot of text in your posts encourages people to click “see more” because the message will be truncated. Apparently, these clicks are measured as “other consumption” and may contribute to improving your EdgeRank score, as the algorithm will ‘see’ that your fans regularly engage with your content.

Perhaps the best and most sustainable way to ensure your posts get the most engagement from your fans is to make them as visual as possible. EdgeRank value, or weight, is based on what content users tend to engage with the most. And this has by far turned out to be photos. If you offer a product that can be photographed, or if you have a lot of events where you’re taking photos, then you are already ahead of the game.

If your business is less visual by nature, however, there’s still plenty you can do. Whenever you start to create a post on Facebook, ask yourself ‘is there an image that could help to represent this?’ There probably is, and if you can think of it (or create it) you’ll have a much richer content that make your fans love you more, and make EdgeRank show your posts to more of them to begin with.

Mashable even suggests taking this a step further to always use a photo when you post, even with non-image content you would’ve posted already. Not only should you be posting images instead of simply text statuses, think about how you can use an image to get users’ attention and put links to the content you were going to post in the image description instead. (e.g., instead of posting a video link, post a screen grab from the video as an image and link to the video in the description.)

Feeling impatient? You can get your posts in front of more sets of eyes right away by using Facebook’s new options to target and promote posts. For more information about these paid options for increasing your reach, check out our recent blog post on the subject.

Have you seen changes to your reach since September 20th? Have you had any success with new posting techniques to improve it? We’d love to hear about it.

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