If you want to increase post visibility, you’ve got to go back to square one. Despite the grumblings among small business owners (and rightly so) that Facebook deliberately decreases the organic reach of business pages in order to push its ad platform, Facebook’s control over your page’s reach isn’t exactly the issue.

The real issue at hand is the quality and value of your content. Your goal on Facebook is to share something of interest to your friends and fans. Share something that you believe will solicit more shares, after all, you shared it didn’t you? Just like Virginia is For Lovers; Facebook is for sharing.

Before you try to increase post visibility, consider what you can’t control

Users who belong to your audience have the ability to restrict what they see in their Newsfeed. They can flag a post of spam, unfollow friends and pages, tell Facebook an ad isn’t relevant or doesn’t interest them. Don’t be discouraged by this feature. It benefits everyone! They’ve taken the guesswork out for you. If a user has decided that they don’t want to read your content, you’re much better off making contact with one who is genuinely interested.

Once you’ve accepted that the best audience is a small but engaged one, you can move on to qualities that Facebook’s algorithm explicitly prioritizes. Use these as loose guidelines:

Relevance will increase post visibility

Facebook will calculate the relevance of your post to your network based on their interests and behavior. Are they taking the time to read similar posts? If so, great. That’s a gauge of content relevance. Facebook also tracks and considers the length of time other users have spent ingesting a similar piece of content (in other words, bounce rate. Are they actually reading?) and whether or not they liked, shared, or reacted to a similar post. In judging relevance, Facebook takes into account all of the other content circulating your community of friends and followers.

Source quality will increase post visibility

If you share an article, Facebook will determine the reputability of its source in order to reward credible posts with greater visibility. It’s goal is to eliminate spa and cut back on hoax-y tabloid content.

Engagement will increase post visibility

Facebook takes its cues from the number of comments and likes your posts have historically received.  Posts which generate high engagement rates are more likely to be seen. As your post engagement  improves, the likelihood of your future posts showing up in a future Newsfeed also improves.

Timeliness will increase post visibility

Facebook prioritizes recent posts which is why it’s so important to play around with posting times. As soon as you post, you’ll want to attract engagement, otherwise your content may fall by the wayside.

No spam will increase post visibility

If you explicitly ask people to like your page or comment on a post within that post, Facebook will recognize the language of solicitation and regard it as spam. There’s an old rule of thumb among social media marketers that 80% of your updates should be social. Don’t use your social platforms to sell. Use your social network to cultivate and engage your community.

Perhaps unfortunately, it’s up to Facebook to use discretion in determining these qualities. You have no control over whether or not Facebook your content “personally relevant,” or “spammy” or “interesting” or “uninteresting.”  It’s up to you to keep yourself honest and share only great material.

Friends before pages will increase post visibility

If you post an article, you should want (more so than likes or comment) for someone to share it. Facebook prioritize posts and shares from friends rather than business pages. It knows that people are more interested in and likely to read content coming from a trusted source rather than a faceless business.

Again, if you use your intuition and apply the Golden Rule—only share content that you genuinely find interesting enough to share—you’ve got a leg up on the competition. Facebook may be in the business of selling ads, but it’s also in the business of making sure its users are happy and engaged. In other words, Facebook does have a real incentive to keep its Newsfeed clean and relevant. It’s your job to deliver content that people will want in their feed!

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Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.