I’m guessing that by now everyone has heard the big news, right? If not, here’s the gist of it: Facebook will decrease the organic reach of Facebook pages even more.
Yes, it’s happening.
In Mark Zuckerberg’s own words, Facebook is designed “to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us”. Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed at Facebook also spoke about meaningful interaction and about bringing people closer together.
As you can imagine, despite these carefully crafted words, outrage sparked.
People spoke of how much money they wasted on building pages with hundreds of thousands of fans. Others spoke about leaving Facebook altogether. And others spoke about Facebook simply wanting to get more money from ads.
At Idunn, the digital marketing agency I run, we also got a lot of questions from our social media management and marketing clients. [I’ll tell you what I answered and what we did for them below.]
Now that we’ve had some time to cool off, let’s see what we can really do about it (without spending a fortune, of course).
Is this really news?
I’m going to argue it’s not. We’ve known about this for quite a while. We’ve seen the organic reach decrease day after day.
Better yet, Adam Mosseri even references their experiments in October 2017 in his post from this January. If those tests didn’t make it clear that a big change for business pages was coming, I don’t know what would.
A report by BuzzSumo (published in August 2017) showed that the organic reach of pages has declined by more than 20 percent since the beginning of the year. And this is just one source. Multiple other people and companies made similar studies with similar results.
In fact, we now know that the organic reach has been constantly declining since 2012. Ogilvy even predicted a world with ZERO reach.
Did anyone really expect it to grow back?
I don’t think so!
Should we ditch business pages altogether?
Despite the rise of other social networks and the decline of organic reach, Facebook is still a goldmine for reaching both B2B and B2C customers. Marketers should continue to publish relevant content that gets the attention of their audience.
But how can you grab that attention now, you ask?
Well, let’s see.
How to survive in the era of almost zero organic reach on Facebook pages
You’ve got two important metrics now. To be fair, they were always important, but now they are crucial: comments and shares.
Comments show Facebook that people engage with your content, which will automatically boost the reach of your post. After all, if people like it, more should see it, right?
Shares also boost your reach because they help you get to the Facebook wonderland: the timelines of real people. You know, the type of users whose reach will increase.
Yes, it’s a Catch-22 situation: you have to be popular to gain popularity. It’s a virus that seems to be going around – Google also ranks websites that get a lot of visits higher.
But I digress.
It’s hard to get comments and shares when no one sees your content. However, every once in a while, you will manage to get the perfect recipe together. Look out for posts that spark comments (even one) and try to follow the same guidelines.
This should go without saying, but I’ll mention it anyway: NEVER leave a comment unanswered. Your goal is to keep the conversation going and get as much user-generated content as possible. For example: if someone comments “Lovely color” on a photo of one of your shades of lipstick, don’t just say “Thanks!” Ask them: “Did you try the matching nail polish?”
Remember that when a user engages with your posts, the activity might appear in their friend’s feeds. This means more reach for you!
Whenever you see a post performing well, boost it. Even a smidge of budget can make a world of difference.
How to use your ads budget wisely
I promised I’d tell you how we changed the Facebook strategy for our clients.
Here’s the most important thing we did: we took the budget from page likes campaigns and moved it to boost posts. So far, we saw great results.
A lot of people who engaged with the paid posts also liked the page, so we also increased the number of fans this way. Of course, the cost per fan is much higher without a dedicated campaign, but we’re still shooting two birds with one (affordable) stone.
Next, we advised all our clients to focus on more video and, most importantly, live videos. As Mark Zuckerberg says in his post, they always generate engagement.
For local and brick and mortar businesses, the “Events” feature can be a true goldmine. Events pop up in feeds for people close to the venue, so it’s very important to use it as often as possible. [OK, don’t go overboard and make your regular opening hour a Facebook event.]
Additionally, you can get great traction with groups. They are less restrictive and you can tie your business page easily with a group. Be sure to promote your new group in Facebook live broadcasts to reach a broader audience.
Finally, use Messenger bots to drive real conversations. However, be wary of over-automation. You don’t want to alienate your fans!
Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket
Facebook is not real estate you own. No, not even your business page. You’ve literally built your house on someone else’s land. So you can’t make the rules.
Invest in other social networks, too. Experiment as much as you can and keep building awesome content everywhere! More than ever, the quality of the content you create (for social networks, as well as for your own website or blog) is crucial!