The organic reach of posts on Facebook has dropped significantly over time. However, when marketers craft their unpaid posts in the right way, they can still get valuable organic reach. Better yet, they can build lasting relationships with customers.
What is organic reach?
According to Facebook, organic reach is “the total number of unique people who were shown your post through unpaid distribution”.
Facebook posts can reach social media users through shares, likes, comments and advertising. However, businesses that do not have the budget to advertise on Facebook rely on organic reach to promote their brand.
Why did organic reach decline?
Since 2014, the organic reach of posts published by Facebook Pages has slowly started to decline. This is partly because of the increase in the number of posts on Facebook, resulting in users not having enough time to review all the posts on their News Feed.
Brian Boland, vice president of advertising technology at Facebook, explained in a post in 2014 that organic reach also declined because News Feed was changed to show users the content most relevant to them.
In 2016, it became harder for brands to reach a large number of users through organic posts as Facebook changed its News Feed algorithm to favour posts from friends and family. Therefore, posts from users’ friends showed up higher on their News Feed than posts from brands.
Since then, companies with Facebook Pages have seen a further decline in the organic reach of their posts. Stratford University found that from July 2016 to August 2016, Facebook Page likes decreased by 22%. Post reach also decreased by almost 39% in that time.
This development means brands need to change how they use organic posts.
How to beat the drop in organic reach on Facebook:
1. Produce relevant content for a specific audience
With the massive amount of content being shared on Facebook, your posts need to be highly focused. The content you share should be aimed at a specific target market and be relevant to those users. The links, images or videos you share should be useful, informative or entertaining for your audience.
2. Target your posts to your readers
Facebook offers audience targeting options such as the Preferred Audience option for Pages, which is one of three features included in Facebook’s Audience Optimization tool. Marketers can use this feature to describe the topic of their post by tagging their audience’s interests.
Facebook then uses these tags to help prioritise posts in users’ News Feeds based on the topics that they find most engaging. This feature could increase the chances of the post being seen by people who are interested in the content.
Facebook has found that while the feature does not boost organic reach, it can improve the engagement that posts get.
3. Write posts that are highly shareable
When Facebook rolled out its algorithm change in June 2016, it explained that brands’ referral traffic from the social network would not be affected as long as enough users shared content directly from the brand’s websites. It also recommended that Pages post content that users would want to share with their friends.
Marketers should therefore create content on their websites that their target audience will want to share with their friends on Facebook. This can be done by using clear headlines that attract readers and evoke an emotional response, as well as using relevant images that make social media users curious enough to click through to the content.
4. Remember that your audience needs nurturing
According to Facebook, boosted posts, which are posts with advertising support, appear higher in the News Feed. However, as many brands don’t run paid media on Facebook on a permanent basis, organic posts are useful for the time in-between advertising campaigns.
Posting content to your Facebook Page on a consistent basis is important. SproutSocial points out that consistent posting lets your audience get used to your posting frequency. Building a relationship with your followers through a steady stream of valuable content is often more effective than publishing a large amount of posts at once.
5. Use adverts to kick-start organic reach
Organic and paid reach work together. A post generally has a larger chance of being seen by users if it has been paid for, than the same post not supported by advertising. If those users share or engage with the paid post, it will, however, also gain organic reach.
Larry Kim, the founder of WordStream, has, for example, found that when he used a Post Engagement Ad to promote a Facebook post, he received 1 000 organic engagements. This was on top of what the post received through paid reach, he says in a blog post.
Organic reach in a nutshell
Gaining organic reach on Facebook takes an investment of time and resources. You will need to identify the type of content your target audience likes and then create a social media marketing strategy to steer your social media efforts in a specific direction.
By posting relevant content on a consistent basis, you can create a community of loyal followers who will value your content. These followers will want to share and engage with your posts, which spreads your message to more and more users.
Do you need help to boost the reach of your social media content? Learn here what employee advocacy can do for your business.