The situation has never been more dire.

Reach for organic Facebook posts is at an all-time low…and many of us thought it couldn’t get any lower.

According to the folks at BuzzSumo, Facebook engagement for brands and publishers has fallen 20%, just since January 2017.

This leaves many business owners feeling they have no option but to pay to get in front of their audience on Facebook through sponsored posts. Unfortunately, this can be costly and just not in the budget.

This post will look at the top ways to increase your Facebook engagement without paying for extra promotion!

1. Post content that has already gotten tons of engagement

While there’s no guarantee that what’s worked in the past will work in the future, it’s the best predictor we have. There are a couple of ways you can figure out what types of posts or content have gotten lots of likes and shares on Facebook.

Post Planner: Starting at just $3/month, you get access to a huge library of content that has already proven popular in your industry. Here’s how it works: You start by adding social media or blog feeds that are popular in your industry (including your competitors’). Post Planner then combs through those feeds to determine what types of content have performed best in the past. You choose from the posts, images or videos you want to share, and boom! Guaranteed engagement for your posts.


BuzzSumo: Type in an URL or keywords related to your niche or industry, and Buzzsumo will pull up all the most popular content that’s been shared to date. It will also show you how many likes, shares and links it’s gotten, so you know exactly what you need to post in order to get engagement.

Buzzsumo screenshot

2. Post more videos and fewer links and images

According to research done by BuzzSumo, the biggest declines in engagement this year have been for image and link posts. Video posts, while also declining slightly, now receive 2x the engagement as other types of posts.

Buzzsumo post type engagement chart

Of course, keep in mind that these are just averages. For some brands, posting images or links may actually drive greater reach and engagement. Be sure to keep an eye on your Insights to gauge which formats are working best for you.

Some ideas for using video on Facebook: Do regular Facebook Lives covering trending topics or breaking news, post interviews with experts in your field, share funny or educational YouTube videos (your own or other people’s), etc.

3. Take engagement off-page with groups

Social media Facebook group cover photo

Create a niche group that offers support and networking for your customers or clients

We know that at least 1 billion people now use Facebook groups on a monthly basis (and this number is likely quite a bit higher).

This shouldn’t be a big surprise. Facebook groups offer a far more personal, interactive experience for users, and give business owners more direct, unfiltered access to their audience.

There are a number of ways you can use Facebook groups to increase engagement. Some of the most effective include:

  • Using your group to share industry tips, tricks and strategies
  • Providing personalized support to your customers or clients
  • Sharing links to your blog posts and free infoproducts
  • Holding free 7 or 30-day challenges within a group. This is also a great way to build your email list.

4. Be selective and post less often

More isn’t always better. In fact, research suggests that in some cases, posting too often to Facebook may actually results in fewer clicks per post.

According to data collected by the folks at Coschedule, the optimal number of times to post on Facebook is dependent on your total number of fans. For instance, pages with less than 10,000 fans get 61% fewer clicks if they post 60+ times/month rather than just five or less times.

Coschedule Facebook posts

Based on this data, Coschedule recommends the following: “The biggest takeaway here is this: Don’t overwhelm your customers with content on Facebook, and be selective about what you’re publishing. Rethink your Facebook marketing strategy. Spend more time crafting better Facebook posts, and less time crafting a lot of Facebook posts.”

5. Avoid pushy sales language

Facebook’s algorithms have gotten really good at detecting “salesy” language like “buy now” or “enter now”. They can also tell when you’re reusing content from a Facebook ad – and your organic reach and engagement will suffer if you attempt to bypass this guideline.

This doesn’t mean you can’t lead your fans into your funnel through your Facebook posts – but it does mean you’ll have to be much more clever about it.

Promotional post Facebook

First off, don’t use any strong promotional calls to action. This includes phrases like “click here to buy” or “download here”, but may also include sales or money-related language and symbols like %, $ or “sale”.

Second, use your posts to move people off Facebook and onto your website, where they can receive useful info…and can also move into your funnel. Direct your fans to your blog posts and free eBooks, guides or downloads, and then capture email addresses so you can continue moving visitors through your funnel – without being limited by Facebook’s algorithms.

6. Actually interact with your fans (!)

I know, novel concept, right?

Facebook’s algorithms are designed to give more reach to posts that receive more engagement. One way to ensure your posts get as much engagement as possible is to regularly respond to comments.

This will trigger additional views and comments as your fans read and respond to your replies, and will signal to Facebook that your post is “worthy” of being bumped up in people’s feeds.

Dollar Shave Club Facebook post

Dollar Save Club is awesome at responding to fan comments, both on organic and paid posts

Responding to comments is equally (if not more) important for your Facebook ads. I guarantee that people who view your ad in their feed are also clicking on “top comments” to see what people are saying…and not responding to both positive and negative comments could mean lost opportunities for engagement, clicks and sales.

Final thoughts

Facebook reach may be continuing to fall, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get engagement…if you know what you’re doing. To summarize, try these strategies to give your posts the best chance of getting reach, clicks and engagement:

  1. Use Buzzsumo and Post Planner to find and post popular content
  2. Post more videos, including Facebook Lives
  3. Create your own Facebook group to bypass Facebook’s page algorithms
  4. Post less often
  5. Avoid strong, “salesy” calls to action
  6. Respond to comments on your organic and paid posts and ads

Over to you: how do you get engagement on Facebook? Share below!