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Facebook organic reach – 5 tips to succeed


If you’ve used Facebook seriously for your business, you would be well aware of the changes to the platform. Organic Reach is a description of the amount of individuals that see your post for free, native to their News Feed. Typically it is either your ‘Fans’ or ‘Likes’ and any friends of theirs who see it as a result of actions/shares. Organic Reach has been consistently and perpetually dropping since 2013[1]. The reason for the change is due to the amount of businesses, people and content on the platform growing. At any one time, over 1500 news feed articles are vying for our attention[2], so there is absolutely no way to see the full amount of posts available at any one time. So how many people can see your posts? And why?

The Numbers:

We begin by outlining the actual statistics, before we move on to the real bulk of this article. It is worth saying that the vast majority of statistics anyone quotes on Facebook will almost always be an average. It will always be relative to a location, a business and the content itself. But global statistics speak volumes nonetheless. Organic reach is on average between 2-6% as a global figure[3], although a more recent research notes that it can differ depending on industry[4] or size of fan-base[5]. What that means is that all of your efforts informing your fans on an offer, opening times, an event you’re holding or even any competition is reaching considerably less people than you might expect. It gets even worse when you think about who your fan base is comprised of. How many people in your fanbase would actively do business with you if given the right opportunity? One would estimate that it’s a mixture of friends, friends of friends and then finally, potential clients. What if the small slice of your organic reach is only hitting those who are unlikely to buy from you anyway? The answer is that your efforts are – more often than not – absolutely futile.

The Algorithm

Now, despite the tone so far you might be relieved to hear that it’s not all doom and gloom. We’re here to outline some things that you can do to increase your organic reach.

To do so, you need to have an idea of how the Facebook algorithm works. Facebook uses an algorithm[6] which essentially analyses everything about everything you post and your intended audience. In 2011, Facebook’s algorithm was called ‘EdgeRank[7]‘. It would scan through a number of factors and would assign a rank to each of them. The higher the rank, the more likely your post would be displayed. Within the last few years, they have abandoned ‘EdgeRank’ for a considerably more sophisticated machine learning algorithm[8]. This new machine learning algorithm now analyses around 100,000 factors from every post to decide what should be displayed and to whom. Now while it would be ridiculous to think we can understand every single subtle aspect, there are some things we can do to maximize our organic reach.

5 Tips To Succeed

  1. Best Practice for Facebook posts

There are some fundamental Dos and Don’ts when it comes to constructing your Facebook posts.

 

Don’ts:

  • Do not game the algorithm.

This means; do not pay for likes and do not have ‘clickbait’ headlines like “5 Customers bought our product, you’ll never GUESS what they did next!…”. Facebook crack down hard on anyone who doesn’t stick with their guidelines. If you don’t know the guidelines – read up on it[9]. It’s not worth going against the platform that you want to work for you. It will bite you back in the long run.

  • Do not over hashtag

Facebook has recently adopted hashtags. Hashtags are great for specific purposes, but make them targeted, relevant and don’t over hashtag.[10]. Be selective and do your research – but don’t get carried away!

  • Do not only promote products and services

Today you are really playing with your potential customers’ most valuable asset: their time. If all you ever do is promote your products or services, you are a waste of their time. You need to provide them with good, valuable content. Make sure they have got something valuable for their time and not just you trying to sell something to them.

  • Do not only talk about your own business

Everyone has had the friend or acquaintance who only ever talks about how great they are. Don’t be that guy. Your potential customers don’t want to only ever hear about how great you are. Every other business is saying the same thing. You want them to come to their own conclusion that you are great – if you’re having to tell them, you’re doing something wrong.

 

Dos:

  • Do post at the best times

Not only what but when you’re posting makes a big difference to how many people will see it. There have been multiple pieces of research that claim a whole range of ‘ideal‘ times[11], but ultimately it’s unique to you and your audience. You need to monitor and test and find out what time your audience are most active and post then.

  • Organic Post Targeting

Facebook has inbuilt a targeting system for your own audiences. It is called ‘Audience Optimization[12] and it allows you to select the demographics, locations and interests within your own fan base. Turn it on, and utilize it to maximize your post effectiveness.

  • Do get your super-fans engaged

If you’re having enough interaction with your ‘super-fans’ you will be in a position to ask them to prioritize you in their News Feed. Direct them to your page, get them to click ‘following’ and make sure your notifications are showing and that they have clicked ‘See first’. This will help you appear as a priority whenever you post.

 

  1. Native Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is good content that will be relevant for your audience for a long time. Whether they read it now or in 6 months time it needs to be just as valuable. For example, you could post a blog like “Tips on choosing the right [insert industry here]”. Keep it helpful, short and relevant regardless of when it will be read.

  1. Engaging Native Videos

Within recent years, Facebook have had a focus on the use of videos for organic reach[13]. Videos are some of the most engaging content on the platform. Back in 2016, over 8 billion daily views[14] were videos. It is not worth missing out on this opportunity. It is also worth mentioning that native videos, rather than links to YouTube have a 186% higher interaction rate[15]. So if you can, make your own videos informing them about your business, product or service. Better yet, make a video helping them solve a problem or issue. Remember: it’s about providing them good value for their time.

  1. Facebook LIVE

Facebook LIVE has been one of the most recent launches that make a huge difference to organic reach. Users spend on average, 3X more time watching live broadcasts than traditional videos. Start experimenting as soon as you can. Today is not the era to shy away from the camera! Generate buzz, share authentic scenes from what happens behind the scenes that your customers don’t see. Get creative!

  1. Facebook Advertising

The last and most important point is this: if you want your posting to be effective it needs to be partnered with a solid advertising strategy. The years where organic reach could be enjoyed for free have long gone – Facebook has evolved. Sit down and dedicate a budget, a serious budget. For too long Facebook has not been considered a serious advertising platform despite consistently outperforming its traditional predecessors. If you would happily spend £500 on your print campaigns, you should be even happier spending a minimum of that £500 on Facebook. Once you have a budget, you can then begin to set up a campaign to target your ideal customers. This will ultimately help out your organic reach and drive in the right customers at the same time.

 

[1] http://www.adweek.com/digital/organic-reach-facebook-will-reportedly-drop-1-2/ ; https://social.ogilvy.com/facebook-zero-considering-life-after-the-demise-of-organic-reach/

[2] https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Organic-Reach-on-Facebook

[3] https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/facebook-declining-organic-reach#sm.00011d6x0f12pjdsrsz41uxynyjv1; http://www.adweek.com/digital/organic-reach-facebook-will-reportedly-drop-1-2/

[4] https://www.agorapulse.com/blog/facebook-organic-reach-barometer/facebook-organic-reach-2017

[5] http://www.adweek.com/digital/locowise-march-2015/

[6] Simply stated, an algorithm is a set of instructions to obtain some goal or solve some problem.

[7] http://www.adweek.com/digital/edgerank-and-graph-rank-defined/

[8] http://marketingland.com/edgerank-is-dead-facebooks-news-feed-algorithm-now-has-close-to-100k-weight-factors-55908

[9] https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

[10]

[11] https://www.quicksprout.com/2015/01/02/what-are-the-best-times-to-post-on-social-media/ ; https://blog.optimizely.com/2015/07/08/how-to-find-the-best-time-to-post-on-facebook/ ;

[12] https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/get-started/audience-optimization

[13] https://contently.com/strategist/2015/03/09/study-video-posts-are-the-key-to-doubling-your-organic-reach-on-facebook/

[14] http://mediakix.com/2016/08/facebook-video-statistics-everyone-needs-know/#gs.NtHndO4

[15] https://www.quintly.com/blog/2017/03/facebook-video-study/