What to Do About Declining Organic Reach on Facebook?
This post was updated by Sam Von Tobel on 8/7/2020
Facebook is one of the best platforms available for small businesses looking to connect, engage and advertise to their customers and fans. But, for all the great things Facebook has done, the one thing they aren’t doing is making your content easier to be seen.
If your company has been in the Facebook game for a while, you have probably felt like your impressions, likes and shares have been steadily dropping year after year. Well, your gut is right.
Since company pages were born back in 2007, organic impressions (the number of times your content was naturally seen on news feeds) have been taking a nosedive. Marketers started smelling something fishy in 2012 before Facebook straight up admitted that a fewer number of your fans were actually seeing your content in 2014.
In 2016, Facebook announced it was continuing the decline, as other kinds of content received preference.
Facebook’s argument is essentially that a typical user has so many friends and likes so many pages… but there is only so much room in a user’s news feed. Because of this, Facebook gives special treatment to content from friends and family and less to content from businesses. And it does makes sense. As a user, how would you like it if when you logged on instead of seeing your nieces’ cute baby pictures you just saw hundreds and hundreds of posts from business pages you liked?
However, no matter how logical the reasoning is, it still stinks for business owners. In fact, research has shown that the reach of some businesses dropped as low as 2%. Facebook pages looking to naturally grow face an uphill battle.
How do you fight organic reach decline?
If there is one thing all this proves, it’s that just posting your content alone won’t cut it anymore. As you vie for precious space on individual news feeds, you’re left with a couple of options. In most cases, the answer is frustrating, but true. To get along, you have to go along.
Translation: give Facebook what it wants.
Boost your posts
Facebook advertising and boosting posts is the best and most reliable way to increase organic reach. If you haven’t played around with Facebook advertising before, you’ve surely seen these kinds of posts in your news feed. They are often marked as “sponsored.”
Even putting as little as $5 or $10 behind a Facebook post can dramatically increase its reach. Obviously, the more you can spend, the more you’ll reach. But that is the nice thing about Facebook, you don’t have to break the bank to get your content in front of people. A modest budget of $200 a month towards Facebook ads and boosting posts can lead to more reach than many other advertising methods for the same amount.
Facebook ads also afford you the luxury of targeting who your posts go to. You can designate ads to reach a whole new group of people who may have never seen you before. You can just as easily set up your ads to reach a wider number of current followers than would naturally see it.
The former method particularly helps with another viable approach.
Increase your fan base
The obvious answer for how to reach more people is to have a bigger following on Facebook. But, like most things in marketing, it’s easier said than done. If your content isn’t even reaching the people that do follow you, how should you expect it to reach people that don’t even know you exist?
Fortunately, there are Facebook ad campaigns that are specifically targeted to increase the number of people who follow your page. Like regular Facebook ads, you can fine-tune the target audience to find the ideal match. Suggest interests, behaviors and demographics, and Facebook will do the rest. These ads will find their way in front of people who are more likely to like and follow your company page.
Engagement ads on Facebook help your growth and reach twofold. First, obviously, despite still being limited by organic reach restrictions, your content will find its way to more people than before. Even if the percentage stays the same, more followers will translate into more reach. That’s just math, folks.
The second advantage of utilizing engagement ads is that the new followers you get aren’t just filler. Some may think this is a similar practice to buying an email list or doing cold calls, but it’s not. These people actually took the effort to hit that “Like” button, so there is an immediate level of interest. These people are more likely to not just see your content, but to like and share as well. In turn, you get the benefit of increased viral impressions as your content reaches their friends and family.
Share something fun
Because Facebook likes to give preference to the fun pictures and posts from your friends and family, one thing you can do to help give your organic reach a boost is to create that same kind of fun, lighthearted, human-focused on your Facebook page like employee profiles or just some silly, fun, or candid photography from around the office.
It may seem strange, but here is the reasoning. That kind of content is more likely to get a positive reaction from your current audience, either because it is something fun or your featured a picture of someone and their family members saw it. People are a lot more likely to like, share, or comment on posts that show your business’s personal side than one of your blog posts, no matter how great of a post it is and no matter how depressing that fact may be.
Why that is significant is how Facebook’s algorithm decides what goes viral and is seen by a wider audience. Facebook wants its site to be full of content that people like and share and will ignore posts that get nothing but crickets. If Facebook sees a recent post of yours got a ton of likes and shares, even if it was something in the human interest category, Facebook will say to itself “Hey, people like what these people are putting out!” and will give a boost to subsequent posts and give your page that little boost in organic reach you are looking for. Make adding this kind of content a regular part of your social media strategy.
Don’t just pick one
Just throwing money at a boosted post won’t necessarily increase your fan base. On the other side, even having 10,000 fans isn’t guaranteeing success. Less than 1,000 of them may regularly be seeing your content.
Not to mention there are free ways to help your organic reach as well. With Facebook’s emphasis on features like Facebook Live and publishing tools like slideshows, it should come as no surprise that these kinds of posts will receive extra love and have a better shot at making it into news feeds.
Trying to expand your organic reach is not an “either/or” situation. Like many other marketing strategies using email and social media, the most successful results come from a mixture of methods. When you are planning your Facebook advertising budget, a healthy mix of money going towards both reach and growth often yields the best results.
And, when you are planning new regular posts, keep it visual, keep it personal and, if it makes sense, find ways to use the latest tools.
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