Ever wondered why some of the things you post on your business’s Facebook page generate a huge reaction, whereas others slip through the net, even though you have hundreds of fans (and know The Secret to Easy Facebook Marketing)?
Can’t understand why that highly entertaining GIF you shared got a virtual round of applause, and yet no-one seemed to even see the link you posted to the blog you so carefully crafted (or paid someone like me to do for you)?
I’m going to let you in on something. It’s not a secret – in fact, Facebook is pretty upfront about the issue – but I’m still willing to bet it comes as news to a good number of business owners reading this.
The truth about ‘organic reach’
The number of people who see your posts depends on the initial reaction of just a few. Facebook ‘tests’ your posts on a handful of your fans, and if there’s a good reaction, your post appears on the timeline of more of your fans. (This is why it’s a good idea to apply the tips I shared in my previous blog).
A few years ago, a business page on Facebook might enjoy up to 20% ‘organic reach’ – that’s “how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page”, to use Facebook’s own words. And when the say ‘how many people’, they mean ‘how many of your existing Facebook fans’.
But with the rapid growth of business pages on Facebook, that healthy proportion has dropped significantly. One study claims that now, as little as 2% of your fans might actually be seeing your posts – yep, that’s just two people in every hundred who’ve actively ‘liked’ your page. So why is Facebook doing this?
It’s not you, it’s them!
As I’ve indicated already, Facebook limits the exposure of your posts on purpose. And yes, of course, it’s a way for them to make money – they restrict the organic reach of your posts, effectively ‘forcing’ you to resort to paying to boost a post or advertise. But it’s also about what’s best for Facebook users.
Just for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of your fans; think from the perspective of an individual Facebook user, not as someone trying to run a business. Now consider this statistic from Facebook itself:
“On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook.”
1,500??! If they let that happen, you’d have to ditch all your responsibilities in life to be a committed Facebook user. But they don’t let it happen, and this is how…
Facebook’s filtering algorithm
To make sure Facebook users aren’t inundated with ‘irrelevant’ content, the social media site uses a filtering system, which reportedly takes into account a staggering 100,000 different factors.
One of the most important factors is whether or not users have shared or commented on your page’s posts in the last week – if not, it’s extremely likely they’ll never see a post from you again. Simple as that. This helps us see why it’s important to share quality content, consistently.
Where does all this leave you?
It leaves you with a few potential scenarios, all of which require either time, money or both.
- You do it yourself. You can get by sharing other people’s content (as long as it’s really good content that resonates with your audience), but it’s always nice to post original content – especially if it links back to your website! You could start blogging on your website, for example, and then share links to your blogs on your Facebook page. Images work well too, and sites like Canva allow you to create some good stuff for free. They even provide templates for those with less creativity or time. And, of course, video is incredibly popular – and you only need a phone and an editing app to create some really nice content.
Cost: This won’t cost you anything in monetary terms, but you will need to raid your time-bank to find content worth sharing, more so if you choose to make the content yourself.
- You pay to boost posts and advertise on Facebook. I know from working with my clients that this can be a very effective – and cost-effective – way of being visible (which, by the way, means it’s even more important to take care over what you post – if you’re broadcasting a message, you want it to reflect well on your business!). You can even specify exactly who will see your post: just your fans; everyone except your fans; men, women or both; people who like yoga and meditation – the options are seemingly endless!
Cost: Boosting a post can cost as little as a few pounds and the cost of a week-long advertising campaign starts at £35, but you will need to do a bit of swotting up on the subject to make it work for you.
You hire someone to start creating and identifying irresistible content to post on your Facebook page – the kind of thing that’s guaranteed to be shared and commented on, to increase your ‘organic reach’. If that person is also writing blogs for your website, you can expect to see an increase in web traffic, too – even more so if you boost these sorts of posts.
Cost: The rates people charge for social media management vary wildly, but you can expect to pay a minimum of £40 a week for some decent work
Where to go from here…
If you want to go it alone, you’ll find loads of resources online – helpful blogs and articles, video tutorials, apps and websites – to help you do it all for free (hmmm, that sounds like a future blog topic to me!). Or, of course, I might be able to provide the services you’re looking for (come on, you knew that was coming!)… Feel free to contact me any time, if you want to chat about how we can make Facebook and the online world work for you.