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10 Ways to Overcome Facebook’s Organic Reach Problem
Posted on July 10th 2014
It's no secret that getting a decent percentage of organic reach on Facebook is no easy task. Then again, it hasn't been since at least 2012. Yet the interwebs are filled with folks who are still constantly screaming about this fact and bemoaning that no one sees their posts.
There are ways to overcome this problem. You don't have to give up and whine. When you look at your personal Facebook news feed, there are promotional posts from companies and sites that you want to see, right? I know there are in mine. They don't get there by accident, and yours won't get in others' feeds just because you decided to post something, either.
Success is about overcoming problems, not the absence of them. Choose to succeed with your social campaign, and be ready to do what it takes to make that happen. Here are 10 things that just might help you do that.
1. Get Over It
Before moving on and sharing what wisdom I've gleaned from here and yonder about this subject, first let me tell you to stop your whining. It doesn't help. Facebook has a reason for their organic reach policy. Imagine if there were no filter on your TV broadcast for what kind of or how many commercials could come through. You'd never see another program.
There are over 18 million business Pages on Facebook, and they all want your eyeballs seeing their posts. Without good filters, your news feed would become unbearable. Also don't forget that Facebook is a company that created a site that you use. Remember your place - nothing but a consumer. You either like their rules or you take your ball and go play somewhere else, but stop complaining about how they run the business that they own.
2. Get Out More
Facebook is not the only hangout in town. You should be making the rounds through the neighborhood - window shopping at Pinterest, catching up with the news on Twitter, geeking out at Google+, doing some business on LinkedIn, you get the idea. It's called a well-rounded social media marketing strategy.
I am definitely not recommending that you abandon Facebook; that would be insane from a business perspective. However, if you get more attention on Twitter or Pinterest, then I do recommend focusing more energy there. You can improve your Facebook reach, but you have to assess where your time and effort are best spent. A social media dashboard for cross-network posting is a must.
3. Do It the Old Fashioned Way
Remember back before social media when you had to make friends *gulp* in person? People are still people, even when they're online, so whatever might be annoying in a real conversation is going to be annoying in their news feed as well. People like interesting, not overbearing. People like nice and sweet, not abrasive and depressing. Use your common sense and turn your broadcasting into a conversation. Be interesting and engaged.
4. Flip Your Timing Around
Somebody had to do it, and that somebody turned out to be Jon Loomer. He decided to see what would happen if he started posting when his largest audience was offline instead of online, and the results were awesome. There are several possible explanations for this.
One is that with less people online, less people are posting, because they're all following whatever schedule their favorite social guru has told them will work - peak times. Posting off-peak increases your chances of reach in many cases, and may even extend your post's time at the top of the feed because of engagement during off-peak hours.
5. Understand Business Expenses
Facebook's explanation for lower organic reach and how to overcome it is always the same: buy ads and promoted posts. Guess what? They're right, to an extent. Facebook needs to make money just like any other business, or it will cease to be. Selling ads and promoted posts makes them money, and they like people that make them money. These are not a magic pill, but they certainly help and are, imho, a necessary expense of any business.
6. Bypass the Third Party
Create your own webspace that people can/will visit independent of the social networks. Use Facebook as a recruitment tool to guide people into your own community. These communities are treasure chests of information because they are a direct pipeline to your customers with no one acting as a middleman. You can also create your own mobile app for that direct contact.
7. Ask Interesting Questions
I don't know anyone who has the time or inclination to stop and answer ridiculous or rhetorical questions in their news feed. "IRS caught in new scandal. Do you think the IRS a corrupt institution?" Really? I'm expected to answer that? Why not pose something like "Shower survey: water or no water?"
Questions are one of the best ways to engage your audience, but you want to ask a question that will strike some chord in them and make them think, but not for too long. A really cerebral question can have the same end result as a stupid one. Make them think slightly and make it interesting, and see if you don't get more responses and shares. Check out the surveys that get shared left and right and take cues from them.
8. Go Back to Email
Did you know that email marketing is still the most effective form of digital marketing, hands-down? Yes, even in 2014 that is still the case. Build a solid email marketing campaign and then push them to like your Page in the email. Use your mailing list to seek them out on Facebook and engage them directly.
9. Emulate the Big Boys
Fortune 500 companies know what they're doing when it comes to almost anything in marketing. It's their lifeblood, and they take it seriously. Follow the pages of some of the big companies that are very successful on Facebook and see what they're doing. What kind of posts do they use? How often? Do they respond to comments? You might learn a thing or two.
10. Images, Images, Images
What gets shared? That's right, images get shared. Pictures, videos, infographics, repeat. If you aren't posting interesting, cute, or emotion-invoking images regularly, you don't understand the rules of the game. The more self-explanatory the picture is, the better. Not that text should be left out, but some pictures require no caption, and those are the ones that will spread the quickest.