How to Grow Your Facebook Organic Reach
For many marketers and social media managers, Facebook’s organic reach algorithm is a difficult thing to master. One week you could see a huge spike in the number of people who have seen a video you’ve posted; the next you could share a super-exciting announcement and only reach handful of your audience.
This can often make Facebook feel like a waste of time for business owners who want to focus on posting where their customers are. Whilst you may recognise that your perfect customer uses Facebook, simply posting and praying is rarely a valuable method.
You need a targeted and calculated approach to posting on Facebook to ensure that you’re reaching potential customers, using what you already know about your audience.
In this guide, we’ve shared the potential reasons that you may be seeing a reduction in the organic reach for your Facebook page, along with three simple techniques that can increase the number of people organically seeing your posts:
What is organic reach on Facebook?
According to Facebook themselves, “organic reach refers to how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page”.
It is the number of people who have seen your update – whether that be a status, link or video share – organically and not as a result of any advertising campaigns you may be running.
Why is my reach reducing?
When SocialFlow analysed over 3,000 posts that were published to Facebook from brands and publishers, they found that between January and May 2016, organic reach saw a reduction of 42%. That’s a huge volume of people that the publishers are no longer being put in front of.
The exact reasoning in why Facebook organic reach is declining hasn’t yet been confirmed. However, there are several factors that have been recognised as having an impact on the number of people being reached, on Facebook, without advertising:
You’re posting less-relevant content
Having a swift change in content may mean that your new content isn’t as relevant to your old audience, which can reduce your page’s organic reach.
Let’s say, for example, that your business started off as an insurance company for people to protect their mobile phone. The content you share will be blog posts about phone repairs that are very consumer-focussed. When sharing this type of Facebook content, your reach may be higher as you’re gradually attracting an audience that is similar to your business’ main service.
However, as time passes and your company develops, you may want to share more about the legal knowledge you have on phone insurance. You may start publishing links to whitepapers that are very business-focused – something that your original audience probably won’t be interested in.
Once you make a switch like this, Facebook may have recognised that your content isn’t as suitable to your page’s audience and could decide that your posts won’t have as much weight in a person’s News Feed. This will result in a reduction of your pages’ organic reach.
There’s more competition
If you’ve been noticing that your Facebook page’s organic reach has been gradually declining over a long period of time, it could be simply because there’s more competition. More people are posting to the social media platform than ever and it’s getting more difficult to take pride of place in a person’s News Feed.
On average, 1,500 stories could appear in a person’s News Feed every time they sign into Facebook. That could increase to as many as 15,000 stories for accounts with many connections, which proves that competition is tough!
Facebook is encouraging advertisements
Another potential reason that could be to blame if your organic reach is seeing a drop could be that Facebook want to encourage more people to pay for advertisements.
When you scroll down the statuses on your business’ page, you may have seen a button that prompts you to “boost” a post. This is a type of Facebook ad and works by delivering your update to a higher percentage of people in your audience. But, it’s paid-for.
At the end of the day, Facebook is a business and they’re there to make money. Once people have built their own audience, they’ll want to do anything to reach them – and this is something that Facebook encourage via their advertising platform.
The algorithm is changing
There are an unknown number of factors that make up an algorithm and no two are the same. The strategies you use for your SEO efforts will be successful when acknowledging the search engine’s algorithm, but the algorithm that Facebook uses is completely different.
Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Facebook, said:
“If you could rate everything that happened on Earth today that was published anywhere by any of your friends, any of your family, any news source…and then pick the 10 that were the most meaningful to know today, that would be a really cool service for us to build. That is really what we aspire to have News Feed become.”
Algorithm issues are often the most difficult diagnosis of declining organic reach as it doesn’t always have a simple fix. Any of the following factors could have an impact on how well your post is served organically:
• Your audiences’ interaction with your content
• The page speed and/or internet connection of an audience member
• The type of post you’re sharing – i.e. text post, photo, video or link
• How many times your audience have reported a post as ‘spam’ or opted to hide posts from your page
This report from Locowise shows how the size of your Facebook page may also be impacting your organic reach:
How to grow organic reach
Whilst the exacts factors of Facebook’s algorithm can’t necessarily be confirmed, there are several ways in which you can use them to boost your organic reach:
Focus on your audience
As we mentioned earlier, one of the key reasons why your organic reach may be diminishing could be that you’re sharing a type of content that doesn’t resonate with your audience.
In order to get to grips with exactly who has subscribed to updates of your page, have a dig around your Facebook analytics. Look at the gender of your audience; what age they are and what language they speak.
If you discover that a large percentage of your audience are aged between 25 and 34, think about the content they’d want to see. This might be something like interesting news that could relate to their stage in life (yet also relates to your business!), or products you have that may suit them.
Once you’re updating your Facebook page with content that you think will resonate with your audience, you should see an uplift in the number of people you reach organically.
Post at specific times
When setting up your social media platforms, you may have spent hours researching what time of the day is best to post. Trust us, we’ve been there.
The majority of guides will tell you to stick to peak times such as the evening, when sharing your content. However, this could be impacting your organic reach as there will be more competition throughout this period, reducing your chances of appearing in a News Feed.
Instead, consider switching your posting schedule to send updates at off-peak times. Have a look at when your fans are online by selecting the ‘Posts’ tab of your Insights screen.
You can see from these statistics that on the Custard Facebook page, our fans are predominantly online from 8am to 8pm(ish). However, we share content early in the morning at around 6am when a smaller volume of our audience is online, but only because there is less competition to reach them.
Don’t get us wrong; you should absolutely strike whilst the iron is hot and regularly post content during peak times of the day. However, posting when there’s less competition at should also form part of your social media strategy to boost organic reach.
Share original content
The vast majority of content published by brands on Facebook isn’t original content. This comes in the form of links back to their site to boost traffic, or sharing other people’s content in an attempt to build relationships.
However, studies have shown that original content reaches more people on Facebook than re-used content does and is a fantastic method to boost your organic reach.
Original content for social media can come in many forms. It can be as simple as asking your audience what type of blog post they’d like to see next on your website, or sharing behind-the-scenes photos to get people excited about your new launch.
Using other Facebook analytics
Whilst the organic reach of your Facebook page is key to growing an engaged audience, it doesn’t have to be the sole measurement of success. In fact, your business can analyse other statistics directly from your Facebook page.
Under the ‘Insights’ tab of your Facebook page, you’ll find everything relating to your audience, your page and your success on Facebook.
Here are some of the other analytics you can use:
On your page, you might want to analyse which type of content is the best-performing on your page, such as your videos, reviews section or home page. Instead of using organic reach to determine this, you could look at the graph which shows your Facebook page’s views by section.
Here’s an example of the views on our Facebook page:
From this data, we can see that the majority of our updates are viewed on the home page of our Facebook page. Going forwards, this may mean that we’d concentrate on attempting to boost views on other areas of the page such as videos, by posting more of that content type.
By achieving similar views on each section, you’re less likely to be negatively impacted by a reduction in organic reach. This is because you have multiple streams of page views that you can optimise.
Without a doubt, the level of engagement that any social media page achieves is one of the most important metrics to measure. It demonstrates how well a brand is connecting with their audience, as well as how far along a consumer’s relationship is with a brand.
The more engaged your audience is; the more likely they are to purchase something from you later down the line.
Tracking your engagement rate is a great way to find out what position your business is at. It is calculated by dividing the number of people who saw your post by the number of people who engaged with it. An engagement can be classed as anything from a like, comment or share.
You can track your engagement rate on Facebook by heading over to your Insights, selecting the “Posts” tab and viewing all posts published. Then, click the button arrow to view your engagement rate.
According to Michael Leander, a good engagement rate for Facebook is over 1%. This may be slightly higher for advertised or paid-for content as you’re paying to target people who are more interested in what you’re posting, but is a good rule of thumb to compare your organic results against.
Whilst organic reach on Facebook can aid a business’ Facebook success, finding a way to grow and convert your online followers is key to using social media for a business.
If you’d like assistance with your Facebook page and would love to gain some further analysis of your statistics, we’d love to help.