Ways To Skyrocket Facebook Organic Reach
July 19, 2021
If you really want to maximize your Facebook presence, you’ll have to extend your page’s organic reach. Doing so will not only make sure your fans see your content, but the right content too.
Many people view Facebook’s organic reach algorithm with a healthy dose of skepticism, though. After all, who’s to say that this or that will have an impact? At its core, reach is determined by how well you manage your community, and the tips below will show you how to do precisely that.
Once you notice the organic reach on your Facebook page increasing, you’ll probably see your other stats start to climb: engagement, views, clicks, and more. That’s the difference between vanity stats and critical metrics — one improves your ego, the other improves your sales. Knowing the difference can be a million dollar difference.
But instead of just throwing a bunch of random ideas at the wall to see what sticks, why not ask the people who have actually done it? In this article, we look for the best tips and tricks that will improve your organic reach on Facebook, so that you don’t have to spend years laboring in futility.
What Do You Mean By “Organic Reach”?
September 2006 should be a month that is familiar to most social media analysts. In that month, Facebook implemented the "newsfeed," a steady stream of continuous information that updates you on the recent changes to your friend's profiles. No longer did you need to go to every individual page to see what was new; now, it was collected just for you by an algorithm.
But users weren't the only ones affected; business pages also noticed a difference. Instead of just filling out random information on their profile, they could update their page with news and events that would attract attention. Users would see this news and engage with the business, creating a virtually free way for businesses to engage with their fans.
This natural attraction to information is called "organic reach." It's how many users saw your pages content, based on the algorithm that only Facebook knew about. If you had a thousand people that "like" your page, and 70 people saw your updates on a particular post, then your organic reach would be about 20% - a healthy number for just about any page. That number may not seem like much, but considering it's free advertising for your page, every single user counts.
Ever since then though, that number has been declining at an accelerated pace. In 2012, page managers discovered that their organic reach was closer to about 16%, while in 2014, that number dropped even further to about 6%. Moreover, recent analysis suggests that the higher the number of likes on your page, the lower your organic reach could be. Some pages with over 500,000 likes, for instance, see an average organic reach of around 2%.
Why is Facebook’s Organic Reach Declining?
For years, paid managers have wondered as to the cause of the decline in organic reach. One prevailing thought was that Facebook was simply trying to maximize their ads platform; with organic reach down, page managers were more likely to spend their money on ads.
Though there is probably a kernel of truth in that assumption, Facebook officially came out in 2018 to state that the decline in organic reach was, in fact, intentional. From that moment forward, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook would be more geared around building communities rather than business pages. The idea of people interacting on a social network was far more appealing to him than providing a platform for businesses to advertise their goods and services.
Although the Facebook algorithm has changed several times throughout the years, from then on, the emphasis is on community engagement. Several factors play into determining which types of material are shown to who, and at what times, such as whether or not a piece of content is commented on (rather than just "liked"), whether or not it has a single comment or multiple responses, and whether or not it is shared internally via Facebook messenger.
All of that put together, the fact remains that Facebook page managers have an obligation to develop high-quality content that is not only highly readable, but very engageable as well. The more people will interact with your content, the more they'll engage with the post where you advertise your goods and services, as well.
Why is Organic Reach So Important?
The sharp decline in Facebook's organic reach throughout the years has given many social media managers a headache, but why all the fuss about a few percentage points? Moreover, why should page managers spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over details that can tick up the engagement rate ever so slightly?
It comes down to several factors, but a few of the most important are listed below.
Whether or not Zuckerberg intentionally decided to decrease the organic reach in order to boost his platform’s paid ads department is a non-issue. The fact remains that with the decrease in organic reach, pages were forced to spend more money on paid ads to reach the same number of fans. Although those same paid ads were in their infancy when the organic reach was still high, it was not nearly as big of an issue when you could simply put in a lead generation sign-up form inside every single post and gain sign-ups by the thousands.
The decline in organic reach has also seen the rise of every-day page managers using the "boost" button to increase their post's visibility. For just a few dollars, Facebook promises to make your post seen by hundreds or even thousands of people — an event that used to come completely free 10 years ago.
Since Facebook is all about building conversations, business pages need to be about that as well. There's no doubt that a page with a higher engagement rate will usually have fans that are more loyal. Developing conversations around a specific product or service only serves to increase the fervor around that brand, turning those casual fans into diehard product evangelists.
But unless your page’s content is being seen by those casual fans and engaged with on an everyday basis, it's unlikely that that enthusiasm will ever develop. While you can always create a group to help buttress your brand, that takes significantly more effort to maximize its reach. Fostering engagement through a page's organic reach is the holy grail of social media marketing.
There's a difference between people who sign up to your mailing list and those who express a certain amount of interest in your brand. Somebody who simply signs up in order to receive a freebie that they may or may not use is not as financially valuable to a brand as somebody who is actually considering buying their products or services.
Since Facebook pages are typically seen as a top-of-the-funnel platform, the goal is to put as many people into the top of that funnel as possible. After that, you can segment them out based on buying activity, but the more people you can reach organically, the more money you can spend on back-end paid advertisements.
Someone who engages with your content is typically a more financially valuable customer in the long run, anyways — much more than somebody who simply clicks the button and peruses your website. The more a person sees your brand, interacts with your brand, the more likely they will be to buy from your brand.
9 Ways to Skyrocket Facebook's Organic Reach
If you know that organic reach is important, and that it has the ability to save you money and create devoted customers in the process, then increasing your organic reach should be high on your priority list. Keep in mind though that this is not a quick solution — sometimes, it can take weeks or even months to build up your page’s organic reach to notice any kind of substantial movement.
Moreover, none of the tips outlined below are to be done and a vacuum. Instead, use a combination of them (or all of them!) to determine which approaches work best for you.
Know Your Audience
Every single brand needs to have a specific type of customer in mind, whether that person is a 20-year-old college student from the Northwest, or a 65-year-old retiree based in Alabama. It doesn't really matter what type of demographic you're searching for since just about everybody is on Facebook these days, but you still need to narrow it down.
Knowing what type of audience you have will not only determines what type of content you put out — blogs, video, short statuses, etc. — but also smaller variables, such as whether or not you need to provide links back to your website or keep them on the platform. The use of imagery is widely different between industries as well, with some more technical brands relying on visual mediums like infographics and how-to videos, while others create fantastic engagement by simply using memes.
If you're having a hard time figuring out who your ideal customer is, sit down and identify certain pain points. What kind of transformation is your ideal customer hoping to make? What are their specific limitations, and what advantages are unique to them? Once you have that information, craft a strategy that is laser focused on that one individual, and you should notice a boost in your engagement.
Have a Strategy
Though it might seem silly to get behind the wheel of your car without a clear destination in mind, that's exactly how many social media managers operate their Facebook page. They never once view the insights tab to get a clear benchmark for where they’re starting at, they never look at the content to see which type of content is engaged with more than others, and furthermore, they have no idea what success looks like to them. Is it more likes? Higher click through rates? Building up a group?
At the end of the day, you need to have a clear roadmap, and that includes building out a content calendar at least a month ahead of time. Schedule your blog posts and videos and images to be created in bulk, then use an automator to post them at the ideal time of day. Monitor the month’s progress, and regroup for the next month.
Follow the Trends
The problem with trends is that they're so fleeting, but if you can catch one and ride it, you can skyrocket your organic reach almost completely passively. Finding a viral media superstar that appears overnight and developing an adjacent campaign that references that event can dramatically improve your engagement. Ultimately, people want to see brands that are not only pertinent to their lives, but are reflective of the world around them.
Google trends can be a gold mine for burgeoning trends. Go to Google and look for what type of trends are coming up inside your industry and develop content that speaks to those new ideas. Doing proper keyword research will also enable you to find what searches are becoming more popular. Never forget that Facebook can be a valuable source of SEO, too; just because they don't use the same algorithm that Google does doesn't mean Facebook doesn't monitor their own internal activity. Take advantage of it.
Keep It Personalized
If Facebook is always going to be a platform for community, then its your responsibility to make sure that the community idea stays front and center. What people value inside of the community is individual people. That's why, even though many brands are turning to artificial intelligence to generate content for them, they'll never be able to be successful unless they have a distinctly human touch.
One of the best ways to see this develop inside your Facebook page is by responding to comments and questions. Many pages use their page’s messenger as a help desk, but beyond that, you should also respond to customer complaints, reviews, comments, and questions that are posted on your page. It may seem tedious, but going through each one of the comments and responding — even if it's a short response — let’s the commenter know that they’re heard, and that can go a long way to developing a real relationship between business and client.
Keep it Social
Part of the community engagement idea is also serving your customers. People don't go on Facebook to buy products; that's what sites like Amazon and eBay are for. People go on Facebook to see funny pictures and see status updates from loved ones. If you're constantly pitching your product or service inside of your social media channel, then people will tune you out, Facebook's algorithm will pick up on this disinterest, and move your organic reach even lower.
Instead, try to start conversations around your industry. Post infographics, news events, memes and funny pictures, polls — whatever you need to get people talking. Once you have a few people conversing, and they tag their other friends to engage with it as well, you'll have a conversation going that will drive passive interest in your brand. The higher the engagement, the more Facebook will rank organic reach because they perceive your brand as being something people are interested in engaging with.
Give Your Audience a Reason to Trust You
Rome wasn't built in a day, and your Facebook page won't be either. People that come to your page initially will be unaware of who you are, so it's only by engaging with your content that they’ll begin to trust what you have to say.
This only comes by building up your authority. While you don't need to be super technical with your content, things like how-to guides, white papers, and e-books can help establish yourself as an authority inside of your niche. Even if those people never end up buying from you, they'll still point others your direction who may have similar questions, and may, in turn, end up buying from you instead.
Today's audience is more savvy than they were 20 years ago. For the most part, people can detect scams a mile away, so if your links look like they’ve been infected with malware, you'll never get any engagement from qualified leads. Instead, build up the engagement naturally and give people a reason to trust what you have to say, so that when it comes time to pitch your products or services, they'll listen.
Use Automation as a Foundation
Ever since Facebook rolled out its news feed and people began to notice the power of organic reach, managers have sought to optimize when and where their posts are populated. Unfortunately, nobody can sit at their computer all day waiting for the right time to post content, so that's why automators were developed. By creating a queue of content and then scheduling it to drip at the right time, you’ll take advantage of Facebook's algorithm and have a steady stream of content that is ripe for people to engage with.
Automators can be a lifesaver, but only if they're used appropriately. You should never rely on an automator to do all your work for you; instead, use it as a foundation to build your page off of. Images, blogs, and videos are great to keep people interested long term, but you should absolutely interject one-off pieces of content when appropriate. Facebook Live is great for this, as are reactions to new stories, announcements about products, and giveaways.
One of the things that automators excel at is knowing which type of data to post. Your audience may be more active early in the morning, or perhaps during the lunch hour. Find an automator that will track your engagement rate and suggest optimal times to post, and it’ll make your life so much easier.
While there is some debate as to which type of format works best for specific audiences, virtually everyone agrees that video performs exceptionally well across all platforms. Facebook is no different, but one advantage that Facebook has on all of the other platforms is delivering spontaneous, personalized video feeds combined with their absolutely massive audience base.
Facebook gives a huge amount of organic weight to live videos, since they rightly assume that the brand is intentionally trying to reach out to their audience in a personalized way. The more you go live then, the more you should see people engage with your content, because they're not seeing a post or picture, they're seeing you.
Facebook even makes it easier for you to do live video when you're not around. You can record a video and then set it to "premiere" at a certain time. It'll look like a live video and have higher organic reach then other posts, but the only difference is that it says “premiere” at the top instead of “live.” Facebook allows you to schedule these out seven days in advance, which helps with creating valuable and timely content, without being chained to your desk at a certain time of day.
Experiment — and Test – Everything
Unfortunately, there's no one silver bullet when it comes to Facebook page management. What works for one business won't necessarily work for another, even if those two businesses are in the same niche. The audiences may be different, the personalities behind the page may be different, but regardless, you'll have to test for yourself and find out what works for you.
Once you have your specific demographic’s preferences nailed down, you should be able to apply this to virtually every other part of your marketing efforts: emails, paid ads, content, etc. You'll know what type of interests and creatives to use, for example, based on how well they improve your organic reach, which will save you more money in the long run.
This will be an ongoing process, too. Your audience will change just as your business does, so make sure that you’re testing every assumption you may have about your audience as the months go by. Your approach will change with the seasons, as will the type of content you produce, so keep an eye on your Facebook stats as often as possible.
About THE AUTHOR
After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts, spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.Learn more about SparrowBoost