September 13, 2017
Fact: Facebook is “controlling” the organic reach of business page posts. What started as gossip and rumor in the early 2010’s between social media managers and business owners was confirmed by Facebook in a 2014 post which discussed organic reach. In the post, VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland explains the two main reasons for the decline in organic reach. 1) There’s just more being posted on Facebook on a daily basis so people are more likely to miss a post and 2) the News Feed algorithm.
That second reason is how Facebook is “controlling” organic reach. I’m adding quotation marks around “controlling” because it’s not some-one at Facebook controlling the reach but some-thing. An algorithm. Remember when Facebook changed the default News Feed from Most Recent to Top Stories? That’s when organic reach really started to decline. Instead of showing users all of their connections posts in chronological order, Facebook’s algorithm determined which posts appeared at the top of the News Feed and which were buried.
Surprise, surprise… most of the posts which were buried were business page posts. They even created a tab specifically for business pages users follow called “Pages Feed”. You can find the seldom used tab in the left navigation menu on the desktop and in the main menu on the app. Wondering how many business page posts you’ve missed? Check out that tab. (See image below for location of tab on desktop version).
So now that we know the organic reach of Facebook business page posts is declining, how can we outsmart Facebook? I’ve done some research and here’s what I found.
It probably seems counter-productive to share less now that organic reach is down but in certain cases it does make sense. If your Facebook business page has less than 1,000 Followers, sharing less could lead to higher organic reach. During a situation analysis of one of my clients, I found that when the client posted more than once in a 24 hour period, the second, third and fourth posts shared received significantly less organic reach than the first. This actually makes sense if you think about it.
One way the Facebook algorithm determines which posts appear in Top Stories is by counting the amount of engagement (Reactions, Shares and Comments) a post receives. Facebook likely says “if the first post shared in a 24 hour period receives very little engagement, then why would we show the subsequent posts to those same Followers who didn’t care about your first post?” Facebook is all about showing users what they think those users want to see, if they don’t think your Followers want to see that post, they aren’t going to show it to them.
This recommendation goes hand in hand with the first recommendation. Don’t post something just for the sake of keeping up with a “3 posts a week” minimum. Post content that’s worthwhile, unique and related to your service. Despite how much people love animals on social media, it really doesn’t make sense to share a #ThrowbackThursday post with a kitten when your business sells fruits and vegetables. That being said, if your business is selling kitten socks for cats, then please do!
Back in June, I outlined another way to create unique content for your Facebook business page and other social media called “social media graphic templates“. Not only do they save time but they’re easy to update and they’re branded. (See example below).
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes social media marketing is when business pages share content from other thought leaders on a regular basis. I don’t mind occasionally sharing articles and blog posts from industry leaders in my field. In most cases those industry leaders have a lot more experience and knowledge than me so, why not? What I don’t recommend is sharing these posts so much that your Followers forget which business page they followed in the first place.
While doing competitor research for a client last month, I came across a page which was ONLY sharing posts from thought leaders. This particular page had over 1,100 Followers, which should have yielded some decent post engagement. Nope. None of their posts had one single Reaction, Share or Comment and they were posting 3x per week! My rule of thumb for posts from industry leaders is this: for every 1 industry leader thought post you share, share at least 4 of your own.
This recommendation stands true on all social media networks. Social media was created so that people can make connections with other people, not businesses. The best way to market your business on social media is to show your Followers the personality of your business. Share fun pictures from around the office, get your staff in on social media, talk to your Followers like they’re people and not just a number and include your Followers in your social media posts when you can.
Did one of your Followers just win a contest? Rather than just sharing a text post announcing that they’ve won, deliver the prize to them, take a selfie and share it. Did one of your employees just reach a milestone? Buy them a cake, take a picture and share it. I know these examples may sound silly but these types of posts receive some of the highest engagement on Facebook. People want to connect with other people. They want to engage and interact with people they know or people they’d like to get to know, so why not share as many pictures of people as possible? (See below example).