Facebook defines organic reach as how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page. When Facebook Pages launched in 2007 organic reach was 100 percent – if you made a post to your Page, everybody saw it. By 2012 organic reach had dropped to 20 percent and one study determined it was as low as 6 percent by 2014. Next year, it could reach 2-3 percent.
So why has it declined so sharply? Putting it simply: volume. More than fifteen hundred pieces of content can appear in a Facebook user’s News Feed on any given day. And for a person with lots of friends who also Likes lots of Pages, that number could be as high as fifteen thousand.
Accordingly, competition in the News Feed increases every day, and Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what to show you – the end user – at any given time. The more you engage with a piece of content on Facebook, the more Facebook will try to show you that piece of content in the future. And vice versa – if you don’t engage, Facebook assumes you don’t care, and will show you that content less.
The News Feed algorithm gets a lot of criticism, but here’s the uncomfortable truth: thanks to the volume of content you see, without the algorithm organic reach on Facebook would be even lower. You’d inevitably miss seeing everything that mattered to you, simply because there’s so much of it whizzing by.
So, if you’re running a Facebook Page for your business, what can you do to boost organic reach, and increase engagement?
Here are five suggestions that are relatively easy to implement.
1. Keep Posts Short (And Simple)
What’s the ideal length for a Facebook Post?
Would it surprise you to learn that it’s just 40 characters? That’s less than one-third the size of a tweet. But according to this research, Facebook Posts with 40 characters receive 88 percent more engagement than posts with a higher character count.
Now, 40 characters on Facebook is VERY limiting. And we’re not for a moment suggesting you stick with that. But there’s certainly something to be said for keeping posts as short and succinct as you can. After all, people are busy, and few really have the time to read a magnum opus on Facebook. Especially (and this is critical) on a mobile device.
So keep your Facebook updates short, and pay careful attention to use of language, too. Make sure all content is clear and easy to read, that spelling and grammar are both on point and that your message is easy to understand.
2. STAY ON TARGET (AND THINK ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE)
We all Like and follow Pages on Facebook for the same reason: because we want to receive updates from that Page. We’ve opted-in, and given our permission for the Page to keep us in the loop.
However, what we’re expecting to see is relevant content. When we sign up to receive updates from Brand X, we want to see content from and about Brand X. We want updates to be on-point and in the tone and voice of Brand X.
What we don’t want is irrelevant content, garbage posts and fluff. That’s the easiest way to lose fans on Facebook, especially if you post this stuff to a high frequency.
If it fits your brand, it’s absolutely okay to have a little fun with your audience, but keep things personable, not personal. Think about what people are expecting when they interact with your brand. What sort of relationship are they anticipating? What do they want from you?
3. MIX IT UP (AND MEASURE RESULTS)
For many years photos were touted as the best way to boost organic engagement on Facebook, and for many years that was true. Today, it’s not. One recent study cited photos as now the worst driver of engagement, at just 3.7 percent. And the best? Video. Largely because embedded Facebook video autoplays in your feed, video enjoys an engagement rate of 8.7 percent on Facebook.
But here’s the problem: next month, it might be photos again. Or text-only posts. Or link posts. Or something entirely new. How can you possibly keep up?
Solution: mix it up. Don’t rely on posting the same kind of content on Facebook day-in and day-out. Instead, use a variety of posts, rotating photos, videos, links and text-only posts into your Page. Ask questions. Provide answers. Survey your audience. Become an authority in your space.
And always, always, always check your metrics in the Insights tool. Which type of post works best for your Page, and your audience? Which type isn’t working at all? Analyse, adjust and thrive.
4. TAG, TAG, TAG (AND TAG SOME MORE)
One of the most effective ways to raise the numbers of eyeballs on your Facebook post is to tag other Pages into the copy. These Pages must be relevant to the content, of course, but when you’re posting about brands and clients you’re working with always tag them into the text.
Tagging another Page not only informs them about your content, but can alert their Page followers, too.
Tip: double-check to make sure you’re tagging in the right Page. Sometimes Facebook’s auto-suggestions for the Pages it thinks you want are way off.
Organic reach on Facebook is tiny and it’s getting smaller all the time. While the absolutely best way to expand your reach and drive engagement on Facebook is by using an intelligent cost per click marketing campaign, by following the steps above all businesses using Facebook can ensure that they’re squeezing every drop from their Page’s organic reach and maximising ROI