Facebook defines organic reach as ‘the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution’.
Not very long ago, social media marketers noticed a steep drop in the number of followers viewing and/or interacting with their organic posts. To be specific, from the year 2012 to 2014, they noticed a 60% decline. This rapid decline hinted at Facebook’s drive towards making marketers divert their attention to advertising on the platform. Then again, the social media-giant dropped copious hints at how it wanted to promote friend-family-user-oriented personalized content.
In June 2014, Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland addressed the reasons behind the dwindling organic reach noticed by marketers:
I. Excessive content creation and sharing.
The breakneck speed at which the content is shared on Facebook exceeds the time required to absorb the same. On an average, a person’s News Feed has the capacity to contain as many as 1,500 stories when they log in to the platform. Taking into consideration the total number of Friends, Pages and Groups that a person has, it can reach a staggering 15,000 leading to increased competition on the News Feed where people and businesses jostle for space and attention. With an increase in the Page likes, the competition is not going anywhere soon.
II. The changed News Feed algorithm.
Facebook’s News Feed is designed to show the most relevant posts to the users. Out of all the 1500+ stories, only a mere 300 stories are displayed on a person’s News Feed ranked in the order of their importance. This depends on hundreds and thousands of factors, relevant to each user. In essence, the algorithm prefers high-quality content over Spammy content.
Ergo, the News Feed is more engaging than ever with a focus on users’ experience and value.
In a situation like this, organic reach takes a backseat.
Understand how to get a grip on your organic reach on Facebook with these 8 actionable tips to save the day:
- Include Links with Images
- Use Videos on Facebook
- Track Content That Resonates
- Target Organic Posts
- Know When to Schedule the Posts
- Don’t Share Clickbait
- Pull The Plug On Excessive Posting
- Put Hashtags to Good Use
1. Include Links with Images
According to a Locowise research, posts which include links have an average reach of 18%. As opposed to this, videos and text-based posts have the reach of 9%. When it comes to images, this reach is a mere 7%.
Another analysis by Social Baker in 2014-15 took into account 670K posts on 4,555 brand pages. It found that the average organic reach for the image-based posts was 3.73%. For videos, it was 8.71% and for text-only posts and links 5.77% and 5.29% respectively.
This doesn’t mean you drop the curtain on images completely!
Relevant, high-quality and engaging photos do have an impact on the audience and work best when used effectively. What works even better, is a mix of media that breaks the monotony. Include text-only-post, images and videos on the page and specifically increase the number of posts with links.
2. Use Videos on Facebook
Watch us explode this watermelon one rubber band at a time!
Posted by BuzzFeed on Friday, April 8, 2016
Vice President for Facebook in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn stressed on the importance of video content by stating, “The best way to tell stories in this world- where so much information is coming at us-actually is video. It commands so much information in a much quicker period so actually the trend helps us digest more of the information in a quicker way.”
Creating and uploading videos maybe too much work for businesses, but it’s one of the best ways to increase their organic reach. And let’s not forget the fact that videos hold the key to lead generation.
People do watch anything and everything broadcasted on the platform be it Game of Thrones season 7 release date gimmick (3.2 million views), Buzzfeed’s exploding watermelon (11 million views) or Chewbacca Mom’s gigglefest (166 million views).
The staggering numbers explain the power of videos!
3. Track Content That Resonates
Replace them with content that intrigues them and makes them read the text, gives them a reason to open the link, play the video and share the post, or engages them in some way or another.
Do your research and find out what type of content resonates with your target audience. What’s more relevant to them? Which posts they prefer to see on their News Feed? Which links are they most likely to save?
BuzzSumo analyzed social share counts of over 100 million articles for 8 months. Read it to get an idea about what gets shared the most.
4. Target Organic Posts
Once you know what content resonates with the audience, the next (and obvious) step is to target organic posts. Here’s how you can target organic posts on the platform :
- Go to your Page
- Go to Settings > General
- Locate the row with ‘Preferred Page Audience’
- Make the necessary changes
5. Know When to Schedule the Posts
Everyone has their own take on the best ‘posting time’ on Facebook, which can be driven by the audience demographics, region, the platform and other factors.
- Hubspot claims the best time to be:
- 12.00-1.00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
- 3.00-4.00 p.m. on Wednesdays
- 1.00-4.00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays
- TrackMaven puts it at 8.00 p.m. on Thursdays
- Buzzsumo considers off-peak times as the best
Use Facebook Insights to know the basics of scheduling your posts and gain maximum traction for your organic posts. It’s the best tool to include in your Facebook marketing arsenal!
6. Don’t Share Clickbait
Clickbaits are low-hanging fruits with a bad rap. To counter them, Facebook already has a system that detects the clickbait links and bring down the number of pages which share them on a regular basis. Come what may, stay away from clickbait and resort to impactful content that has the potential to go viral!
7. Pull The Plug On Excessive Posting
Keep a check on your posting frequency instead of ‘shoving’ all the posts down the target audience’s throats! While it depends on the businesses and the number of followers, it’s a good practice to be considerate about the posts’ quality and not the quantity.
Don’t forget that Facebook being a user-based platform gives users the choice to dismiss your posts/ads anytime they want with ‘Hide Advert’ and ‘Hide Post’ options.
8. Put Hashtags to Good Use
Perhaps this is the most trivial of all the tips given here, but using appropriate hashtags with your posts go a long way in reaching out to your target audience. However, don’t kill it with too many hashtags!
Bonus Tip – Know Thy Algorithm
Did you know that there are about 100,000 factors influencing the Facebook algorithm?
Study Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm, see how it has changed and evolved over the years and keep an eye on upcoming social media updates. This will help you understand Facebook mechanisms better and assist you in creating a stellar marketing strategy!
There’s no ‘magic bullet’ for increasing organic reach on Facebook. You’ve to follow your instincts, the key metrics and figure out what works. With that, you’ll be able to tailor a content distribution campaign to enhance your (organic) reach on the platform.
Need more social media marketing tips with actionable takeaways? Keep watching this space!
(Image Credits: Giphy.com. Screenshot of respective brands taken from their Facebook page.)