Some are saying that organic Facebook reach is dead but I won’t begin to write the eulogy just yet. This guide will give you several strategies you can use to rescue your organic Facebook reach.
The fall of Organic Facebook
As you’re probably well aware, Facebook has an algorithm, unofficially known as EdgeRank that determines what shows up in the news feed. Due to several recent changes and adjustments Facebook has made to this algorithm, the organic reach of branded posts has moved to.
Recently, Facebook’s organic reach decline took a dramatic drop as EdgeRank tightened its formulaic grip, strangling some organic reach down by as much as 2-6%. Those numbers are low enough to alarm even the most stoic of Facebook marketers.
Why so low? Because Facebook continues to grow. The average Facebook user has more than 1,500 posts to view a day while the most active users can have as many as 15,000. These numbers are overwhelming that you will only grow as fans as more and more pages.
There is simply too much content in the newsfeed and Facebook is forced to curate content for its users. In short, Facebook is cleaning house to keep us interested.
In a blog post last year, Facebook stated that “the goal of News Feed is to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time so you don’t miss out on the stories that matter to them.” Facebook, hero of the news feed? Not to everyone.
Facebook was vilified by many brands; one goes so far as to write break letter and erase its page 70000-strong fan! Needless to say, your Facebook reach is now 0%.
This change is understandably frustrating, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the marketing budgets to adequately take advantage of Facebook advertising. But that’s no reason to ditch what remains an excellent opportunity to reach your fans. Facebook did what it had to do to avoid becoming another MySpace: change fast.
Now don’t flip the table over yet! The good news is that there is something you can do about all this. Those 2-6% numbers are the average Facebook organic reach for Pages – many of whom are missing out because they don’t even know the score of the game they’re playing.
But you know the score and you’re doing your homework. The fact that you are reading this means that you already have an advantage over the competition.
Below I have listed several strategies you can use to put EdgeRank to work for you and rescue your Facebook reach.
1. Post high-quality content
Really? Yes, really. You’d be surprised how often this is actually overlooked. In fact, it’s part of the reason there’s so much noise on the newswire.
With every friend, celebrity, and brand posting on a whim, the feed is flooded with random thoughts, old memes, and photos of what someone had for dinner.
Most of us don’t want to see all of that, and even if we did, we probably wouldn’t have the time to.
That’s where the Facebook algorithm comes in like a door man at an exclusive club: “excuse me sir/ma’am, you need to be in the right attire to get in.” Otherwise, you have to swipe the doorman for a $20 and we’re trying to avoid that right?
Follow these tips to make sure your content gets the quality seal of approval:
Complete your profile. Fill in as many possible fields as you can in the “About” section of the page. Not only is this the professional thing to do, but it tells Facebook that you know what you’re doing.
You can bet that Facebook’s algorithm takes into account the amount of time you’ve put into giving content to your page. An incomplete profile is a sign of a hastily put together page, and hastily put together pages tend to be unprofessional and spammy.
Don’t let an incomplete profile tarnish your Page’s reputation for high quality and cripple your organic Facebook Reach.
Pay attention to what is trending. Looking for an idea? Facebook introduced a handy little “Trending Topics” feature to the top right of the news feed that tracks you as to what is currently being talked about.
Use this to your advantage when you see something that might connect with your brand or be of interest to your audience. Shiny new topics aren’t all there is to quality posts, but they are a great place to start.
Keep it cool. If you have the time to create your own original content, that’s awesome! But most people don’t which is why they end up seeing a lot of the same old images, videos, links, and status updates recycling out there.
Avoid using old meme photos and instead find something available to make your own. There is an abundance of original content just waiting to see the light of day and it takes a bit of effort on your part to discover it.
Keep sites like Creative Commons Search bookmarked for when you’re ready to do a little research. Once you find what you’re looking for, throw that baby into Pixlr to put your own personal touch on it and, boom! – High-quality content.
Mix it up a bit. In addition to making appropriate and original posts, you’ll need to mix up the type of posts you make. It is true that the latest photos have attracted more attention in the Facebook news service. However, with Facebook images now enlarging, creating images for links, and allowing auto-play videos right in the news feed, the playing field has been leveled.
So, rotate the types of posts you are doing to take advantage of these new implementations and expand your organic Facebook reach.
2. Stimulate Engagement
This follows closely with high-quality posts, but deserves its own category, as it’s really more about drawing user feedback to get them to engage with your post.
High quality that gets in the club and catches some eyes, but exhilarating commitment that puts on the dance floor.
So, now that we’ve gotten their fans’ attention, let’s start a conversation with them. Here are some tips to stimulate engagement with your fans:
Ask questions. Do you want to? If? Could you? are great ways to draw comments out of your audience. Post on a trending topic and ask for their opinions on the matter.
People love to talk about what they would or wouldn’t do in certain situations and always want to offer an opinion on a hot topic.
Feel like test your fans? Ask them a multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank question and see who gets it right. There are endless ways to get some answers.
Legend this. Another great way to stimulate engagement is to post a relevant image and have your audience compete to see who can come up with the best caption by leaving one in the comments.
You can pick the best title or the one with the most likes can win. You can make the prize something as simple as repositioning the winner and their caption on the photo.
No matter what, everyone has a funny bone so this is a great way to get the jokes flowing.
The competition Cover photo. Access the inner photographer in all of us. Get your fans vying to take over your page’s cover photo by having them post their entries in the comments of your post?
The winner could have his photo hosted on the cover of his page for as long as determined. This is a great way to tap into the creative bug of your audience and build a relationship with them.
Sweepstakes Contests. Contests are one of the most engaging forms of content you can post. Create a countdown contest with an app like Heyo driving likes, leads, and shares for your page.
With a reward matching your brand as the incentive, you can entice your audience into liking, commenting, and sharing your post – all of which let Facebook’s algorithm know you’re the new hotness.
More importantly, fans who want to make sure they don’t miss out on your contests can not only like your page, but turn on notifications for it, too!
3. Engage the Committed
So, you dominate the high-quality post and your fans are liking, commenting, and sharing – the steering wheel is turning engagement. Don’t lose that momentum – hook the lace elements! Many brands make great messages that get lots of engagement, but tend to leave them on autopilot.
Respond to your fans. Enjoy a great opportunity to have a conversation with your fans. When they leave a comment, take the time to reply to them and show genuine interest in their comments.
Taking the time to think about responses to your fans can go a long way in building a long-lasting relationship that will build trust and loyalty.
Mention your fans. Be sure to mention your fans’ names in your replies so that Facebook pings them. This will notify them and Pique will not be curious, bringing them back to the post regularly to join the conversation.
As a bonus, mentioning them will also increase the chances of your message appearing on your friends’ news feeds. Talk about knocking out two birds with one stone!
4. Forge fan page alliances
Henry Ford said “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success,” and it couldn’t ring truer for Facebook business, especially now.
Mention other brands. Facebook recently made an update to its algorithm for brands to help with their reach. Long story short, if a brand mentions another brand in their post, that post can now appear on both brands’ fans’ pages!
Create and consolidate brand relationships. Work on finding some brands that you can ally your car with. Target brands that complement their own and are small to medium in size (or equal in size to their own) because they are more likely to appreciate the label and return the favor.
If you have a friend running a major brand page whose willing to lend a hand, then great. Just remember that you don’t have to do it alone! Rescuing organic Facebook reach is much easier as a team.
5. Teach your fans about Notifications
Your fans like your page for a reason, right? They want to see your awesome, high-quality content and you want to make sure they get it. It can’t hurt to explain the current state of things and ask them to turn notifications on.
Many fans don’t know how to do this, or do it, but you just have to remember. So add a little mini-tutorial to your page or post that explains the scope issue and teaches you how to get around this by enabling notifications.
If your fans are true fans and really want to see your content – they’ll do this and never miss a beat.
If you think they could use a little encouragement, remind them of some of the awesome contests you’ll be entering up!
6. Become a student of the Insights Facebook page
That’s right. Not only do you need to be a teacher, but you have to be a student: a Facebook Student Insights Page. Page Insights is the ultimate tool to determine what your organic reach is, what it can become, and if your strategies are working.
Get to know your fans and your friends. Facebook Insights is how you get to know your current audience and your potential audience. Be sure to keep track of each and every individual entry and find out how they are performing.
What was it that made posting so popular? What happened to that post that didn’t get the commitment? By paying attention to and taking note of all the value numbers and charts that Page Insights provides you with, you can become a Facebook poster master.
Know the algorithm. You can’t really know the whole algorithm since it’s based on more than 100,000 customization factors, but you can sure get an idea of it. Use sites like EdgeRank Checker to learn more about your page’s performance and stay in the loop with the latest on what’s happening at Kool-Aid’s Facebook.
7. If You Decide to Promote Posts, Be Thorough
I’m going to go off on a limb and assume you’re probably not a giant corporation with a massive marketing budget. So I completely understand if you’re not up for forking over cash to get your messages seen. After all, this is where we crossed over from purely organic to pay.
However, if you’ve read this far and are going to implement many of the strategies I’ve already mentioned, chances are you won’t even have to deal with this. You can get a lot of mileage from those free strategies. In that case, look at this as a last resort.
A timely, well thought out promoted position can get you a lot of bang for your buck. I know the budget is tight to get the most out of it by being very meticulous with the process.
Giveaway Contests are the perfect post to promote since contests tend to be the most engaging forms of content you can put out there. Other solid messages to promote include special events, new products, and exclusive offers.
Run a bunch of test posts, analyze the results, and you’ll do all your Insights Page homework. When you feel like you couldn’t be more prepared, hit the switch on your promoted position and enjoy the ride.
I hope you feel that this guide has empowered you to extend your organic Facebook reach. Some of you may see immediate results, while for others it may take a bit of time.
Your brands and fan bases are different and so is the mix of strategies you’ll need to reach them. Don’t be deterred by a few lousy performing posts – keep at it and you will see results. Once the hang of it you will see your Facebook reaches no longer need the ransom!