February 7, 2017
When social media sites first arrived on the scene, many businesses became excited by the chance to directly engage with consumers and quickly jumped on board. It was seen as a way to organically get the word out about their business at a minimal expense. However, the complex algorithms the social media sites now use to determine if a fan or follower actually sees posts makes it difficult to achieve organic reach on social media platforms, especially Facebook.
Decreasing Organic Reach on Social Media Platforms
Studies have found that non-sponsored posts on Facebook have around a three percent reach. Every year, it seems to get worse, especially after Facebook debuted its latest algorithm for its News Feed in January 2015 to deal with the influx of users. The increased competition also has affected organic reach on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites. Studies have also found that Twitter, despite beliefs to the contrary, has less than 20 percent organic reach on posts. Recognizing what helps improve your organic reach can help you to increase your numbers.
Understand the Algorithm
Content development starts with understanding the unique complexities of each platform and creating a strategy suited to the platform. This can help you to create posts and content that will enhance, not impede, your organic reach. For example, the Facebook algorithm is a complex tool that looks at hundreds of thousands of factors when determining if a post will make it into a particular person’s feed. There is no way that you can know every single one of those factors, especially as many of them are not public knowledge. Those that you can, and should know, include the following:
- High-quality content gets higher ratings;
- Anything considered spam will be limited or removed;
- The more engaged users are, the higher rated the post;
- Negative feedback from users leads to reduced reach;
- Priority is given to videos and photos;
- Individual user’s past interaction with the page or post type affects visibility on News Feed.
You do not have to be an expert on social media, but having the basic knowledge of how it works is invaluable to the creation of your future posts.
Review the Performance of Past Posts
To create a strong content strategy for increasing organic reach on social media, you first need to understand the performance of past posts. This data tells you the organic impressions versus the paid impressions, as well as how many fans you reached and how many non-fans saw your post. You can also find out other information, including demographics of your fans. It is best to review the trends of your posts over a few weeks or even months.
Although it remains beneficial to implement Facebook, Twitter, and other social media paid campaigns from time to time, it is possible to gain some momentum naturally. Adding one or more of the following 7 ways to increase organic reach on social media to your content strategy moving forward may help you to reach your goals.
1. Develop High Quality Content
Just as it is important to create high-quality content to improve organic search engine results, high quality posts have a greater impact than low-quality ones, especially on Facebook. You want to avoid any posts that could be seen as spam and those that could receive negative feedback. In general, people respond better to high-quality content, so it is also important to have it on other social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
So what is high-quality content? It is content that is more than just barely veiled marketing and advertising copy. This content provides something of real value to your followers. The value could be informative, but it could also simply make your followers feel better such as a humorous post or an uplifting thought. It should be appropriate to the medium, be well written and be the right length. You might need to hire an article writer to ensure you create the best content.
2. Create Relevant Content For Your Target Audience
When developing your high-quality content for your posts, it is essential that you always keep in mind the demographics and behavior of your target audience. These are the people who will be most likely to see your post, like it, and/or share it to spread your organic reach. You do not always have to just write posts about your business, but it should remain pertinent to your particular industry and/or area of expertise. The best content creates a conversation with your fans so that they comment, share, and like your posts. You can also directly engage with them through question and answer sessions, polls and more.
3. Use More Images
Adding images and other media to your posts greatly helps with your organic reach. People are attracted to visuals more than text, so it increases the chance of users seeing the post. Additionally, Facebook sees images and videos as top priority, so these posts have a higher rating than text-only posts, improving your rating already. Twitter may not have the same algorithm, but photos and other media still improve the likelihood of followers seeing your posts.
4. Change Your Content
Another way to help improve your organic reach on social media is to change up your posts. If you always post the same sort of information, your audience will quickly tire of it, reducing engagement. To help you do this, create a content development strategy that follows a certain plan that includes a variety of post types. For example, you could have a strategy that includes a cycle of posting a pitch of some type, personal development posts, a link to a blog, something that directly engages users, information about data or research in your field, and then something fun such as relevant memes, videos or songs that your followers may like, as long as it remains true to your brand.
5. Include Hashtags and Influencers
Another way to help your organic reach is to include hashtags or reference influencers in your field or an associated one. This helps more with Twitter and Instagram, but it can still have an effect on your Facebook reach. Hashtags allow people to search for certain topics, which increases the chance someone will see your post who does not follow you. By posting at or referencing to an influencer, you increase the chance they may re-post it and even more people see the post.
6. Include a Call to Action
When you post on social media, you should include a call to action. However, this does not need to simply ask fans to like or share the post, or even click a link. In fact, blatantly asking for likes and shares can hurt your rating. Instead, ask questions that subtly request your followers to take action. For example, you can ask “do you agree,” “who’s excited” or other open ended questions, and your fans can answer by sharing, liking, or commenting.
7. Post at the Right Time
Timing can be critical in increasing your organic reach on social media sites. Contrary to what you might think, it may be better to post at non-peak times. This reduces the number of competing posts trying to enter your follower’s feed, especially on Facebook. Timing is an essential component to your organic reach on Twitter, since it displays content in chronological order. If the majority of your users look at Twitter in the evening but you have posted in the morning, then only those who tirelessly go through all the posts or make a point to look at your feed will see the post. You may have to experiment to find the best time for your company to post — it is largely based on when your followers are actually active on the site.
Increasing your organic reach on social media takes some strategy, but it mostly focuses on creating great content that your users want to share. You and your content creator can find ways to improve your posts and increase engagement with your current followers, which will help you have higher ratings and a broader reach.