aND BrandPoint — A lot of small businesses get started with Facebook, thinking that’s an excellent way to get free exposure and grow their customer base.
While that’s technically true, the reality is a bit different.
If you’ve been managing a Facebook Page for awhile now, you’ve probably noticed that your posts are not reaching as many fans as they used to. According to Facebook, this dramatic drop in organic reach has to do with the amount of content published on the social network.
The News Feed is becoming increasingly competitive, so Facebook is trying to show people the content that is the most relevant to them as opposed to all the content from the pages that post frequently.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to boost your reach. But before we jump to the solution, let’s try to understand first why Facebook decided to decrease the organic reach for Fan Pages.
Why is your organic reach still dropping?
As you probably know already, organic reach refers to the number of people that see your posts on Facebook for free. It used to be that if you create a Fan Page, build a community around it and post messages to your fans, they will see them in their News Feeds.
But in 2012, people learned that only 16 percent of their fans saw their posts. This number has gotten smaller and smaller over the years.
According to one recent report, Facebook Fan Pages with 500 Likes usually get an organic reach as low as two percent.
In other words, for a Page with 500 Likes, only 10 of your followers are actually seeing your content.
That’s bad news. If the number of people interacting with your posts is getting smaller, then your conversion rate is suffering, too.
So why did Facebook decided to decrease organic reach for Fan Pages knowing that it will affect so many businesses? Well, as I already mentioned, the main reason is that the News Feed is becoming overly competitive. There are too many pages producing too much content, and the social network is trying to give users the best possible content. And because Facebook is based on interest and not intent, naturally content from businesses is the first one to suffer. And, it makes sense: people are less likely to react to promotional content, but they will interact with a post that touches on an issue that interests them.
The current algorithm uses machine learning to understand users’ preferences and deliver content that is relevant to them. So, for example, if a user rarely interacts with photos but prefers watching video content, then the algorithm will pick up on this behavior and show fewer photos over time.
Now the question worth asking is: can you hack your way to increasing your organic reach? The answer is yes. Here’s how.
1. Create an invite-only group for your most active followers
It may sound counterintuitive, but limiting membership can increase your organic reach. An invite-only page is more likely to get Facebook’s algorithm attention than a simple like or share.
That’s because people opt to join these groups, so the algorithm sees that as a clear sign that they’re interested in the content published there. As a result, your regular posts might reach just a few hundred people. But, when you post the same content on a private Facebook group, you will see a spike in your organic reach.
2. Always post at non-peak hours
There are a lot of studies about the best hours to post on Facebook. According to recent statistics, people are most active on Facebook mid-week between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. On Thursdays and Fridays, engagement rates see an 18 percent increase.
One interesting approach is to post when fewer people are active. Check your Facebook Insights to see when your fans are most active. Then choose a time when a large fraction of your audience is online, but your competitors aren’t posting.
3. Share native videos
As the results from digital marketing in Winnipeg attest, video content is king on Facebook. According to a recent study, native Facebook videos have an engagement rate that is 186 percent higher than regular posts and are shared 1000 percent more than video content linked from other sources.
So, instead of posting several times per day without getting any response, spend more time on crafting quality video content to draw both Facebook algorithm’s and your audience’s attention
The idea that social media means free exposure isn’t valid anymore.
As the amount of content shared on Facebook gets of epic proportions, Facebook is looking for ways to ensure that users have the best experience on their platform. You can use the tricks above to cheat the Facebook ecosystem. But you should also start treating Facebook as an advertising platform and invest in sponsored posts.
For aNDBrandPoint, I’m Max Zachary.
Cover image: Reuters, All Rights Reserved. Inset image: TechCrunch, All Rights Reserved.