The bad news: Facebook’s declining organic reach. The good news: You can do something about it.
If you manage a Facebook page then you will have noticed a dramatic decrease in your organic reach on all your Facebook page posts. The reasons for this depends on who you ask.
Facebook insist that this is because of the volume of content, so the Facebook algorithm has to cut down on some of it to maintain quality in the newsfeed.
Marketers are calling Facebook out for being greedy, and forcing businesses into paying to promote posts, both to get a new audience, and then again for fans to see the content they have already requested to see.
Whilst you can imagine which side of the debate we fall on, we’d rather focus on solutions than on calling Facebook names. Based on our research on our clients’ Facebook page in the page few weeks, here’s our take on what you can do to increase reach on your Facebook page posts.
1. Think out of the box to continue organic reach
Just writing great content and posting interesting things aren’t enough anymore to guarantee eyeballs, so you’ll need to think outside the box to get people to see what you are posting. Three of the techniques we have found successful are:
- Posting content in Facebook groups
- Using your own team as a resource.
Whilst posts on Facebook pages are unlikely to be seen if they are not promoted, Facebook group content is still showing up in feeds, especially if it is popular. By choosing relevant groups to post your content in, and selectively posting it in groups with a similar target audience, your posts will still get plenty of eyeballs.
We need to emphasize here that is crucial not to spam groups. Posting irrelevant content, or posting too often not only won’t get you the views you want, it will get you kicked out of groups, and will damage the reputation of your page and your brand.
A while back, Facebook gave pages the ability to tag other pages in their posts.
By tagging another page your content is more likely to be seen both by your fans, and the fans of the page you are tagging.
Again, this must be relevant, and not spammy. A great way to use this method is when promoting a partnership or joint initiative, similarly to tagging a partner on Twitter.
Tagging another page can also be used when promoting a news story in your field, but not involving your brand. You should never tag a page in something they wouldn’t want to be associated with. It is not only bad social etiquette but it will give your business a bad name.
It used to be bad form to ask your team to like your social content, but if you are writing great, relevant posts, and your team are enthusiastic about what you do then they can be a great resource for promoting your Facebook page content.
Obviously larger companies have a bigger advantage over smaller companies, but the company team also represents a starting point for promoting a post, not an end point. If just your team sees and likes your posts it defeats the purpose, but they can start the ball rolling, and if their Facebook friends are a relevant part of your audience this can be a great way to get your content seen, especially for smaller, local businesses.
No company should force their employees to like their Facebook content, and employees should be careful to only share relevant stuff on their personal feeds, and not spam their friends or they will find their friend count dropping quicker that organic page reach.
2. Find alternative networks to post your content
Some marketers, feeling bullied by Facebook’s latest moves on organic page reach have decided to stick two fingers up at the social network and take their business elsewhere.
Twitter is the obvious choice for many brands, with a growing number of engaged followers, and the ability to generate leads using great content, plus a lot of time and effort.
Learning how to successfully market your brand on Twitter is a whole different game to Facebook, so marketing professionals who have been using Twitter successfully may feel that they don’t need Facebook anymore, but others might take a while to learn the rules, etiquette and successful techniques for Twitter marketing before waving bye-bye to Facebook.
For B2B brands, LinkedIn might be a good option for increasing content views, especially if you are active in relevant groups and have invested in building a good networking.
B2C brands, especially those targeting the elusive 18-30 market might consider testing visual social networks including Instagram and SnapChat, whilst Pinterest holds a lot of potential to increase content views and leads for the 25+ market, notably females, and in the B2C arena.
There’s been a lot written recently about the success of brands leaving Facebook marketing to focus on email marketing. Whilst we believe email marketing should be an integral part of every successful integrated marketing campaign, its strengths lie in retention and retargeting, and not in bringing in new leads.
It is however possible to combine PPC campaigns with email marketing for highly targeted lead generation, without going near social networks at all.
3. Suck it up and pay to boost your posts
For some marketers this is the automatic first choice, especially since Facebook are offering such cheap rates on promoting posts, often a few dollars for what looks like a lot of eyeballs.
Use this option with caution. Based on our research, even with carefully constructed criteria, including country of origin, etc, you will still gather fake fans along the way when you promote a post to new fans. These fake fans lower your natural engagement even more, making it nearly impossible to appear on a newsfeed without pumping more dollars into Facebook’s marketing machine. You will also be expected to pay again to promote your content to genuine fans who have already liked your page.
Keep a close eye on engagement—comments, shares, etc.—not just on likes, both on your page and on your posts. We also recommend combining paid posts with the methods we listed in number one, to reach more genuine fans, and really optimize engagement and brand awareness.
Be aware of how much you are spending on each genuine fan, and compare to the costs of other forms of inbound marketing, both in the social realm and more traditional online marketing techniques.