Has the fall in organic reach killed Facebook for businesses?

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3rd March 2015, 5 minute read

Over the past year, you may have noticed that your Facebook updates might not be getting quite the engagement they once did. Well they aren’t! Once upon a time, if you had 500 likes on your page, then in theory, 500 people would see each message you posted in their timeline/home feed.

Those days are over!

A like no longer means a follow. They are now two distinctly separate entities - see here:

Both ‘Liked’ and ‘Following’ are ticked. This means I will receive updates from The Marketing Eye in my news feed. However, if I untick ‘Following’ then whilst I still ‘like’ the page and therefore show I am a fan of the company, I will no longer see the company updates in my news feed.

A simpler way to think of it is you can be friends with someone on Facebook but you can choose to unfollow them. Therefore, their ‘awesome’ updates and pictures of their food will no longer show up in your home feed. However, before you run off to unfollow a bunch of friends (and don’t worry they won’t know you’ve unfollowed them), I have a blog post to finish, and despite what I’ve said so far, Facebook isn’t finished – not yet anyway.

There is no doubt that in terms of organic/unpaid activity, the updates you post on your company page are reaching less of your fans.

Ok, so organic reach is dead and you have to pay for engagement?

Not quite, but I will get to paid for/PPC activity in a minute.

There are still ways you can boost your organic reach and engagement, even without paying for clicks.

Here are 4:

  1. Quality content – if you’re producing rich an insightful content then those that like your page won’t unfollow you.
  2. Post regularly but not too much – this can be difficult but you need to establish the right mix between posting enough to get your message across, but not so much that people become annoyed and unfollow you. Peoples home feeds are very precious.
  3. Use #hashtags – nothing new to Facebook. Brought in a few years ago off the back of the success of Twitter, hashtags allow you to engage with communities and conversations by including them in your updates. This can be far more potent than just posting to your fans/followers, as you will reach a completely new audience beyond your existing community. Great for establishing new leads.
  4. Encourage engagement – by encouraging participation and interaction you can help branch out the reach of your updates. For instance, if someone likes one of your updates then it is likely that their connections (friends) will also see the update, even though they don’t like or follow your page.

Now let’s get to the real reason organic reach has gone down over the last year or so.

Organic reach has gone down because Facebook is a business and makes money from advertising. If organic reach goes down, then paid advertising will go up – and it has. Whilst Facebook claim organic reach has gone down to provide a greater ‘user experience’ (in fairness this is partly true), they make their money from paid ads, and this isn’t a bad thing.

Over the years, Facebook has asked and stored a lot more information about a user e.g. where they work, DOB, mobile number etc. By doing this, you have a lot more data in which to play with to accurately target your ads. This cuts down on cost and ensures you get the most effective and productive traffic to your website with the highest possible likelihood of eliciting a desired action from the user.

Facebook also make a good point in that this will help drive better lead generation and new customers. After all, those that already like your page are probably already customers/clients of yours. Another benefit is that if users have cut down the number of updates they see in their news feed, by unfollowing profiles, then they will take more time reading your ad as it doesn’t get lost in the clutter of all the other updates they receive.

The end game here, as in most things in life, is about creating a balance between organic and paid for advertising. Both have their merits, and if used correctly, both will generate quality leads and sales in your business.

If you want to get the most out of your company Facebook page, please get in touch and find out how we can help.

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