How to make the most of your organic reach on Facebook
Organic reach on Facebook has seen a huge decline since ‘fan pages’ first launched in 2007. If you manage a Facebook page, you’ve probably noticed the number of fans viewing and interacting with your organic posts has decreased even more in the last couple of years. In this post we’ll look at how to adjust your organic strategy in the face of this general decline to ensure your posts get in front of as many pairs of eyes as possible, without paying Facebook for the privilege.
What happened to Facebook organic reach?
Studies have found that in-page organic reach is somewhere between 6.5% to 15%. Research from Social@Ogilvy suggests that for Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%.
Based on the figures above, that means a Page with 10,000 fans could expect just 650 of them to see that Page’s posts in their News Feeds.
Now I know you’re probably here for the actionable tips, in which case you can scroll down to the next section, but you may also have a mild interest in why this is happening. The answer is simple: there’s just too much content from organisations now. When everyone realised social media was the next big thing, everyone started jumping on the bandwagon, increasing the competition for visibility in the News Feed.
Facebook makes money by serving adverts to users. The more users there are, the more adspace Facebook can sell. But it also needs to strike a balance in the content it serves to users: too much ad content and users start leaving, too little and Facebook aren’t making the most of their potential revenue stream. Facebook is deliberately trying to show people the content that is most relevant to them, as opposed to presenting all the content available. Facebook considers all the pages a fan has an interest in, plus all the content from their social circles, before deciding what content is displayed to them when their News Feed loads; the more content there is, the less likely it is that your posts end up in that News Feed.
The quick-win here, as I’m sure you’re aware, is Boosted Posts, or paying to increase the reach of your content. I’m not going to discuss that in this blog post, but here are a couple of useful articles: will simply show you how to go about boosting posts, but if you consider yourself a more advanced user check out this article to try and take your promoted content to the next level.
How to maximise the reach of your organic posts
Here are my three tips for when you have a limited marketing budget, or when you simply want to make the most of the organic content complementing your campaigns.
1. Be more strategic about what you post
Do you remember all those blog articles entitled ‘How often should I be posting on Facebook?’ or ‘Post frequently for effectiveness’? Well, if you’re working to a regimented frequency calendar, e.g. 3 posts a week, stop that now. The goal is not to fling as many posts at the wall as possible to see what sticks – it’s about getting as much interaction from a single post as you can.
Consider what you’re writing and why. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and ask yourself ‘what am I getting out of having read/seen this post’. Try to articulate it in one sentence and, if you’re struggling, you may need to revisit why you’re posting at all.
Because of the lower ROI seen in organic social, producing bespoke content for the channel can be very cost-inefficient. Instead, think about how you can repurpose existing content, and consider at the briefing stage of any new work how you can produce social assets as a by-product of the core work.
2. Ensure your content is in front of the right 6.5% of your fans
Did you know you can target your organic content in the same way you can target promoted content? This is done via Audience Optimisation – find out how to set it up here. When figuring out who to target your content at, the best place to start is Insights. Make your way to People > People Engaged and you’ll see who’s engaging vs. who makes up your fan base.
Below are a couple of examples from charities we assist.
As you can see, it’s mostly the older audiences that are engaging, despite them comprising a fairly small percentage of the total audience size (read our article on engaging older audiences on social media). In this case, even more so with Charity B, content reaching younger audiences would be a waste, unless it’s exceptionally relevant to them. Limiting the organic targeting to people aged 45, perhaps even only females, should result in a higher engagement rate per post for these two examples.
BONUS TIP: Including a CTA as simple as “Please Like and share” at the end of your posts can increase engagement substantially.
3. Maximise your use of video
The number of Facebook videos has increased by 360% across everyone’s news feed, and it’s easy to see why: Facebook videos are 135% more likely to be viewed than photos. Mark Zuckerberg has voiced an ambition to make Facebook a video-first platform in the coming years.
Whilst video may be the most difficult/costly of my tips to implement, good video should work effectively across many marketing channels simultaneously – so as an investment spread across all your marketing efforts, it’s well worthwhile.
Here are some top tips for using your video on Facebook.
- DON’T LINK TO VIDEOS THAT ARE NOT ON FACEBOOK!! Native Facebook videos have a 186% higher engagement rate and are shared more than 1,000% more than videos hosted on other sites, such as YouTube. Always upload your video content natively to Facebook.
- Ensure videos are captioned – over 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound.
- Make the first three seconds count. Facebook users have notoriously short attention spans. Just transplanting your long form video to social won’t work because a) they probably won’t watch it to the end, and b) it probably isn’t designed to grab attention fast enough. Specialist video content agencies (like us!) can help advise on how to brief content that will work well on social, or on how to repurpose existing content in a way that works better for the medium.
- Remember to target you video posts to the most relevant and engaged audiences from your Page Insights.
Conclusion – boost your organic reach with strategic, targeted, native video
As the amount of content produced by brands and organisations continues to increase, managers of Facebook pages will likely continue to see a decline in the organic reach of their posts. However, by ensuring that your posts are strategically conceived to engage your audiences, by targeting them at your most engaged fans, and by making use of Facebook native video, you can still prompt valuable interactions with your organic content and continue to grow your audience.