Facebook organic reach and engagement has taken a significant hit in recent times. That’s not great news for brands looking to use the platform to generate business, but reminding yourself of some basic engagement “hacks” can be a good way to increase your Facebook traction with the fans you already have.

This is important, because nurturing your current audience will lead to more success in attracting new followers. In this post I’ll highlight a few ways to “trick” the Facebook algorithm to help generate more engagement from your fans, and therefore more reach to new audiences.

1. Try posting links in the first comment

Now, I haven’t tried this one personally, but I’ve seen other big players in the social media space use this tactic.

Here’s a little background on why this is a good idea – Facebook likes to keep people on its platform. This means that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm doesn’t particularly like posts which take people to an outside website, so any post with an off-platform link could, theoretically, be penalized, and shown to fewer people within your audience.

As an alternative approach, you could try creating a longer form caption, then letting your audience know that if they want more information they can find the link in the first comment on the post.

Again, I don’t have any definitive data on this, but it’s something to consider in your experiments.

2. Post engaging content in between website links

My second tip is a little more obvious, and really, an old-school Facebook marketing strategy – though it remains a solid one.

The first step is to get to know your audience – research similar Pages, pay attention to your analytics and understand what it is that your followers like and respond to. Then, you should look to create content which is super engaging, before you even try posting any of your own links.

This principle behind this is that since you’ve posted amazing content that your audience loves before you’ve sought to use the same to drive website traffic, the algorithm will look at your Page content more favorably, because it will know that you’re already driving significant engagement. Therefore, your posts with links will, ideally, be granted the same reach benefits.

3. Use Messenger Bots

Using chatbots and Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers and keep fans updated is one of the new hot topics in social media marketing. Connecting through Messenger gives you the opportunity to interact with people who may not like your Page (yet), and I’ve seen some really great Messenger bots which link you to different content based on your responses (I’m currently giving one a spin on my own Facebook fan page).

Messenger bots can be used for lead nurturing, retaining customers, and sharing your knowledge. Although chatbots may seem a little daunting to set up (the thought deterred me from trying for a while), there’s a range of some tools that can make this easier on you.

Within your Facebook Page messaging option, you can set up instant replies, and replies to frequently asked questions. For a more robust messenger chat bot you can try a third party service.

4. Try videos and live videos

I can’t stress the importance of incorporating videos into your social media strategy enough – it’s not so much that the News Feed Algorithm loves video necessarily, but videos are just a more popular form of content to consume.

Using tools like Adobe Spark PostQuikVideoshopBoomerang and Hyperlapse can make the process of creating quality videos for your posts easier – Facebook even has some built-in video creation tools (including the slideshow post option and video effects for boosted posts).

But the easiest way to dive into videos is by going live. Live-streaming creates a sense of urgency, while it’s also a pretty simple way to interact with your audience without needing a fancy set up.

5. Boost Posts

You might not want to hear this, but boosting posts is also a viable, and effective, way to increase your Facebook audience engagement.

The positive is that you don’t need a huge budget. Try putting some money behind posts which organically perform well. The key here is to target the right audience effectively – you can target people who follow your Page, or anyone who’s engaged with your Page in the past.

This type of targeting is efficient because you’re reaching people who are already familiar with your work, and will most likely be happy to see more from you.

Will you try these “hacks” to help you with the Facebook algorithm and get some engagement back from your current followers? Remember this year we should focus on the audience we have, and the new eyes will follow.