Social media writer’s block: the struggle is REAL.
On average, nonprofits post to Facebook 1.3 times per day and Twitter 3.8 times per day, according to M+R’s most recent Benchmarks study. That’s a lot of original thought to demand from anyone. Sometimes you’re simply going to be at a loss for what to write.
We’ve programmed a delightful little tool to help spark ideas and kickstart your content. But a post is only as powerful as its reach, so let’s take a moment to review some essential ground rules for keeping up with the algorithm that determines how far your content goes on Facebook (and Instagram, and maybe one day soon, Twitter). While the details are constantly in flux, these are 8 key factors that make algorithms tick:
1. Affinity with an individual. If someone has engaged with your content once, they’re more likely to see it again. Make a good first impression!
2. Engagement. One of the big takeaways from Facebook’s latest algorithm change is that engagement is now truly the name of the game. Content that is clickable and shareable and leads to a lot of engagement is deemed worthy and shown to more people. Caveat: Likes, comments and shares don’t always rule the day on other channels. On Instagram, the algorithm takes likes and comments into account, but doesn’t give them quite as much weight.
3. Time spent on a post. If a follower spends more time on your post (e.g., moving around in this panoramic Facebook 360 of a lion sanctuary in Colorado), Facebook is more likely to show that post on other newsfeeds.
4. Time spent on a link. Similarly, if someone spends a long time on your link off the channel – say this seasonal LiveCam of bears fishing for salmon in Alaska’s rivers – Facebook will favor that content.
5. Timeliness. If you’re on your game, posting about Team USA’s floor exercises or The Night Of in real time, the Algorithms that Be will favor your content.
6. Facebook’s trending tool-of-the-moment. Whenever Facebook rolls out a new tool or feature, they reward you for using it. Right now that tool is Facebook LIVE. Video performs even better in the algorithm if you can get a viewer to turn on the audio, watch in full-screen mode or enable high def (but test for yourself whether higher-production video is worth it – since sometimes low def and even user generated video can perform just as well on feeds).
7. Powerful images. People like to feel things, and nothing provokes the feels like a stunning image. Pro tip: Peruse the social media section of our If This, Then Totally That Tool for a list of easy (and mostly free!) tools you can use to make dazzling images for social.
8. Relevance. At any given time, Facebook is crunching numbers on your supporters – their late-night spending sprees, their love of Hamilton, their binge watching of Silicon Valley, etc etc etc. You should also be collecting data on your supporters and feeding them content that’s most relevant to them. Location is a big part of Relevance that you can control for. Your New York-centric content will be served to New Yorkers. So if you want to reach folks outside of NYC, make sure your copy is clear of “New York” “NYC” and other triggers that would signal to Facebook that your content is only for one region.
Understanding how to get Facebook’s algorithm working for you instead of against you is great, but it doesn’t answer the fundamental question: WHAT SHOULD I POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA?!?
We know that sometimes you’ve got a glaring hole in your content calendar and zero inspiration. So we channeled our best go-to ideas for social media content into a new tool: the M+R Social Media Content Generator.
M+R’s Social Media Content Generator is designed to melt your brain freeze. To solve your Friday afternoon slump. It’s a karate chop for your social media writer’s block.
We want to see you go out there and win the internet.