Most people who have been running a Facebook Business page over the last few years will have noticed the gradual decline of organic reach on Facebook.
For those new to running a Facebook business page, organic reach refers to the number of people you can reach in the Facebook newsfeed for free by posting to your page. This number dropped from 12% reach in October 2013 to 6% in February 2014 according to an often-quoted research paper produced by Ogilvy & Mathers, and is now less than 2% for many businesses as of June 2016.
So what has caused this massive crash? Well, there are three main reasons, though other factors also come into play.
Firstly, Facebook has grown into a bit of a monster! There are now over 1.65 billion ACTIVE monthly users on the platform as of Q1 2016 and 50 million Facebook Business Pages as of December 2015. Thats a huge number of people & businesses posting an enormous amount of content ,daily. As a result, competition in the News Feed is getting fierce.
The second reason is the facebook algorithm. Of the average 1,500 posts a user could see when logging into Facebook, the algorithm presents users with the top 300 posts ranked in order of importance – still a huge number of posts!
The third, but by no means the least, is that Facebook is a public company that aims to pay dividends to its shareholders. Like every business, it aims to make a profit, with estimated revenue from Facebook Ads expected to be in the realm of $22.37 billion this year according to eMarketer
So is Facebook now only open to those willing to Pay to Play or is it still possible to gain some benefit from posting organically on the social media giant?
According to Facebook’s Brian Boland, head of the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook:
Organic content still has value on Facebook, and Pages that publish great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — can still reach people in News Feed. However, anticipating organic reach can be unpredictable, and having a piece of content “go viral” rarely corresponds to a business’s core goals. Your business will see much greater value if you use Facebook to achieve specific business objectives, like driving in-store sales or boosting app downloads.
Like TV, search, newspapers, radio and virtually every other marketing platform, Facebook is far more effective when businesses use paid media to help meet their goals. Your business won’t always appear on the first page of a search result unless you’re paying to be part of that space. Similarly, paid media on Facebook allows businesses to reach broader audiences more predictably, and with much greater accuracy than organic content.
Simply transalated? If you want guaranteed reach, you need to invest some money in paid ads, but really exceptional organic content may still be rewarded with increased organic reach.
So how does a small business and get the most benefit from posting organic content? Here’s what we suggest:
1 – Post Exceptional Content
Rather than post content of less than exceptional quality just for the sake of posting something on your page, post less often, but make sure that every post you create adds value to your fans in some way. Whether it’s an educational video, a thought provoking blog post or even just a funny gif, make sure that it is of the highest quality.
2 – Use Audience Insights & Organic Post Targeting
Facebooks Audience Insights can be found on your business page and can provide you with a wealth of information about your fans: when they are most often online, where they are from geographically, their age & gender. It can also give you insights into what type of posts your fans engaged with most, so that you can tailor future posts around their preferences & choose the hours your fans are most online to schedule your posts.
Using organic post targeting can further increase your chances of penetrating the news feed, by targeting people who are specifically interested in the topic of your post, or selecting segments within your fans who are most likely to engage with the post baseed on location, gender, age or other factors.
3 – Engage With Your Audience
Make sure you are present on your page! Social media is not a set it & forget it type platform – it’s social and that means interacting with your fans. Always respond to comments & reviews on your page both positive or negative. Thank people who give you positive reviews. Ask people who give you bad reviews what you can do to fix the problem. Search for people who mention your brand or products without tagging and comment or tag them in return.
Encourage engagement from your fans by being engaged yourself.
4 – Consider Adding Paid Facebook Ads Into Your Mix
Like it or not, Paid Ads on Facebook are becoming a necessity, but it doesn’t have to mean a massive injection of cash into your ad spend. A small investment into promoting key content can give a post the little extra hand it needs to make its way into the newsfeed, and potentially stimulate further organic engagement.
Organic is still an important component of your inbound marketing mix, what’s the point of having followers if you don’t reward them with great content?