It’s no secret that organic Facebook marketing can be a little fickle for anyone with a business account on the platform. We’ve been seeing organic reach decline for more than five years, making it increasingly difficult to reach potential guests without paying, even if they’re already following you.
This all comes down to the Facebook algorithm, which decides which content will gain the most visibility in users’ newsfeeds. And there is a silver lining here: Facebook marketing is still a good investment for businesses, and knowing how to work with the algorithm can help you gain more visibility and connect with potential, current, and past guests on the platform.
The algorithm is updated relatively frequently as Facebook continually strives to find new ways to show more relevant, engaging content to the users who want to see it. To help you increase your visibility and results, let’s take a look at the Facebook algorithm in 2020 and how hotels and resorts can get the most out of it.
Facebook’s Algorithm: What it Is and What It Means for You
Facebook’s algorithm is made up of a complex series of calculations, and it was developed to determine what content users want to see most so that they could see it at the top of their feeds.
We don’t know exactly what those calculations are, but we know that there are a few key factors that heavily influence what kind of priority you may get in the algorithm.
What Factors Influence the Algorithm?
The biggest factor is easily your engagement rate on the current and past posts. Think about how you’re practically guaranteed to see an engagement post or a new baby announcement in your personal feed; it’s because people keep commenting and liking, telling Facebook that more people will want to see this.
The concept is the same for the videos you’re sharing of the new wing of your resort, or the post you created detailing summer activities at your hotel. When Facebook sees that a certain post is getting likes, comments, and shares, they’ll see that it’s relevant to your audience, and increase its visibility.
As an added bonus, if your resort’s Page has a history of creating high-engaging content, more people will be likely to see your content moving forward, too. They use past engagement as a predictive measure to assess how people may receive your content in the future.
In addition to engagement rate, there are a few other big factors that impact how you’ll do with the algorithm:
- Whatever else has recently been posted. Unfortunately, we can’t control anything else happening on the platform, but it can impact our ranking. You might have a killer post that still doesn’t gain the top newsfeed spot because a competitor just happened to drop a major announcement or go live at the same time.
- Signals that indicate what each post is about. Facebook tries to show each user relevant content based on what they’ve interacted with in the past.
- Specific engagement signals that indicate relevance. “Passive” signals include viewing a video, and are valued less than “active” signals, like commenting, sharing, or reacting. Active signals hold more weight in the algorithm.
- How likely each individual user is to have a positive reaction to your post. Positive is the key phrase here, because while there’s a lot of hostility floating around on the platform, that’s not what they’re trying to promote. They’ve been clear about trying to promote “meaningful” conversation and connections.
- Originality. Facebook wants to see original, interesting content. New posts will be prioritized more than outbound links or shares of someone else’s content.
- Indications of spam. Facebook is learning to recognize spam and clickbait, and is working to bury it in the feed.
Facebook’s algorithm automatically looks at all of these factors at once every time you post, and figures out where to place it for each individual follower that you have.
What About Video?
In addition to standard posts, Facebook also has an algorithm for video ranking, which takes into account additional metrics that aren’t available with standard posts.
In addition to the criteria we looked at above, videos are also ranked on the following:
- Repeat viewers. This is called “loyalty and intent” by Facebook, and the idea is that if you keep viewers coming back, you’re doing something right. You’ll be rewarded with higher video rankings in the algorithm accordingly.
- View durations. If you’re able to hold a viewer’s attention for a little while, Facebook takes that as a good sign. The longer people watch your video, the better. Videos need to be a minute long to be able to take advantage of this, and Facebook recommends using videos at least three minutes long, though it’s common to struggle to maintain viewer retention long enough with videos three minutes or more.
Just like with non-video posts, original content will gain the highest priority in the algorithm.
Tips for Hotels & Resorts to Gain Priority in Facebook’s Algorithm in 2020
All of this information is great to have on a theoretical level just so you can understand what’s happening, but it’s also essential to know exactly what you can do strategically to get the results you’re looking for.
Let’s look at a few ways that you can reliably increase your standing in Facebook’s algorithm in 2020.
Focus On Engagement-Oriented Posts
When you’re creating your content calendar for Facebook, think about what kinds of posts will be best at driving engagement. Focus on starting conversations, because this is what Facebook will reward the most.
In the example above, Hilton intentionally asks followers what beach destinations they’d be visiting this year. The post is one of the more high-engaging on their page, and received a ton of comments. People love to share, so asking a question is a great way to drive engagement.
Go Live More Often
Facebook Lives receive significantly more engagement than almost all other types of content, including other video. Because they’re broadcasting in real-time, there’s also an urgency that Facebook values.
Try to go live on Facebook every so often. You can host a Q&A session, or share breaking news about renovations, winter specials, and more. You can also give a live tour of the property or an event happening within the resort.
Create Valuable Content that Benefits Your Audience
Value will always get users’ attention, so creating content that’s valuable on Facebook is a great way to keep people engaged and interested in your content.
Quality over quantity is absolutely the case here. You can create roundups of things to do in cities near your hotel or resort (like the example below), share tips about how to find the best prices on rental cars or plane tickets, and make videos discussing packing lists and travel safety tips. All of these will be appreciated by most potential guests who may travel on their way to you.
Look at Top Performing Content From Competitors
If you need a little inspiration for top-performing content that your guests and followers will love, take a look at what your competition is doing. Seeing their strategies being played out can give you new ideas.
You can do this manually, but it’s also useful to use a competitor research tool. In the example below, SEMrush’s Social Media Tracker shows the top performing posts and engagement rates for Hilton and some of their top competitors. Look for trends in what’s doing well and what isn’t, and emulate those top-performing posts and strategies for your own campaigns.
DJ Vallauri is President and Founder of Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing, social media engagement and reputation management agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The Company provides cost-effective Internet marketing services to hundreds of branded and independent properties as well as management companies, restaurants, and spas. commingle:engage, the company’s social media and reputation management division, has established itself as the premier provider of reputation management services for the hospitality industry. The Company recently launched the world’s first Facebook Messenger based RFPAssist Group Lead Sales System designed to drive hotel group and event business. Lodging Interactive is an HSMAI Adrian Award winner and has won awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, Web Marketing Association, Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, and Travel Weekly’s Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader.