Marketers who have endeavored to use Facebook as a means of getting their marketing message into the world are becoming more and more frustrated with decreased organic post reach. Social advertisers may be thinking that they are doing something wrong, when the truth of the matter is: Facebook is deliberately hindering a business post’s chances of being seen by page fans. The reasoning behind post hindrance is multi-fold, but don’t fret, there are ways to increase organic post reach.
One certainty is that organic post reach for businesses has been on a steady decline over the past several months. In fact, a study by Social@Ogilvy found that organic reach has dropped to 6 percent, which is a significant decline from 49 percent in October, 2013. This means that brands can expect their page posts to organically reach six people for every one-hundred page fans they have.
At first glance, social marketers may see Facebook’s prohibition of organic post reach as an outright assault against businesses and a blatant means of sucking more money out of them. Which is partially true. Facebook’s stock has been on a steady incline as organic post reach has been on a steady decline, greatly in part to brands’ willingness to pay to boost their posts in order to reach a greater audience. In an effort to play devil’s advocate, Facebook claims to hold back branded content in order to keep users’ news feeds from being inundated with advertisements. Considering the fact that there are over 18 million business pages on Facebook, some sort of post intervention is absolutely necessary.
One way to combat the ever-increasing effects of page post intervention is to have a good understanding of what will increase your posts’ chances of being organically seen by your page fans. The type of post has a great effect on the weight of your post (the likelihood of an organic view of the post). Posts with video and pictures have a greater weight than plain text, and having trending hashtags within your text will help increase post reach as well.
A data point that should be considered even greater than post reach is post engagement. Post engagement constitutes any user activity with the post, including clicks, comments, or shares. The greater the post engagement, the greater the reach, and the more likely the post is to achieve measurable success. The success factor is determined by the social marketer, whether they are trying to increase the number of Facebook followers, or drive traffic to the brand’s website.
Another tactic that seems counter-intuitive is to try posting content during non-peak hours on Facebook. Peak hours are typically 6:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. and non-peak hours are considered to be 10:00p.m. to 3:00a.m. (a.k.a. infomercial hours). The idea behind off-hours posting is that there is less competition for your content because less businesses will be posting at that time. This allows off-hours posts to gain traction during off-hours, giving them a leg up on the posts that will be coming fresh in the morning. In theory, this will increase the off-hours posts’ chances of reaching page fans more so than a fresh post in the morning.
The best course of action for social marketers is to “trial and error” varying times and post styles to see what is the most successful for a particular brand. Marketers may be surprised to find what is successful for their brand may not be what is typically successful for other brands. Each social profile is a unique little snowflake, with its very own mix of page fans, so social marketers need to play in the snow to know what works best for them.