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Some Tough Love on Your Facebook Performance

Since Facebook made its changes recently and brand pages took a massive hit in the reach department, many page owners and social media managers are grumpy. I hear things like:

“Why is Facebook only showing my posts to 10% of my likers?”

“My fans chose to like my page. They have the right to see whatever I post!”

“It is not up to Facebook to tell people what they want to see.”

“Facebook just wants us to pay for people to see our posts.”

“I had to ask my fans to click ‘get notifications’ just so they could see my posts!”

To these complaints, I say

  1. The way reach is works has been changed. Items only appear on people’s newsfeeds for a couple of hours. If you post something, usually only the fans who are online at that time will have the chance to see it.
  2. Did you really think Facebook would keep giving it away to businesses for free, forever?
  3. Facebook doesn’t tell people what they want to see. It detects what they want to see from their behaviours and shows them accordingly.
  4. Given #3, could it be that your fans do not like your posts? Or that your posting frequency is offputting? Or that they have lost interest in you?
  5. Facebook is first and foremost social. People are there to be social. They are not there to be sold to.

Quite frankly, the above covers what I wanted to say in this blogpost. But I am going to say some more on the topic and give my opinion on some of the rants and misbehaviours I see on Facebook because people are frantically trying to scrabble back the massive reach they once enjoyed.

Still with me? Okay, let’s get down to business.

Why do only some of my fans see my posts?

No fan will like everything you post, literally or emotionally. That would not be a fan – that would be a stalker. Your fans can probably be split into a number of groups:

  1. The fans who are really interested in your page and posts. They think you are awesome, they love your topic, they want to marry you, or they are your mum.
  2. The fans who are quite interested in your page and posts. They usually find your posts interesting or amusing and interact with your content on a fairly regular basis.
  3. The fans who are occasionally interested in your content. They don’t see much of what you post because they don’t interact with much of what they do see. They see something from you infrequently and interact with it even more infrequently.
  4. The fans who liked you once and never interacted with anything you posted. They quite frankly now do not even remember if you exist.

When a fan develops a track record of not liking, commenting on, clicking or sharing your posts, then Facebook drops your content out of their newsfeed. Doesn’t that make sense? Do you want to see stuff that doesn’t really interest you when you’re messing around on Facebook?

Still here? I haven’t offended you yet? Great! Let’s keep going.

Why does my reach drop the more page likes I get?

Generally, the percentage of reach does not change very much across large or small fan bases if your content is good. The reach you achieve will depend on how many of your fans are online when you post and your track record of post engagement.

When you have a small fan base, it generally consists mostly of people from groups #1 and #2 (above). So naturally the engagement will be higher = a higher percentage of reach. When you have a large fan base, you probably have a bunch more people from all the groups, and therefore your engagement will be lower and it follows that percentage of reach will be lower.

What’s the solution? Find out what type of content interests your fans and create a good balance of content types to engage with the variety of fans. When you see a post performing well, consider throwing a few dollars at it to boost the content. If you boost a post and it performs really well (engagement-wise), then that means your brand has touched many people in a positive way. That augurs well for your future reach.

And now for the biggie….

Should I ask people to click 'get notifications'?

Quite frankly, I find it cringeworthy when page managers do this. Do you ever see the big brands do it? Do you see celebrities do it? Do you see highly successful Facebook pages do it?

The message it sends to your fans is:

“I am desperate. Not enough people are liking my posts. I can’t sell my services or products as well as I want to on Facebook. I am unhappy with how my Facebook strategy is performing.”

What you’re essentially doing is blaming Facebook, passing the buck, and not taking responsibility for your own poor performance. Instead of begging for engagement, how about taking a good hard look at yourself? Are you posting a healthy mix of post types? Are you showing what’s on the inside of your business? Are you being social or just selling? Are you flogging dead horses?

Tough questions, right? Okay, you’re still with me so it’s time for something positive. Let’s find a way to fix this mess.

How to Improve

  1. Balance your content. Entertain, inform, reveal, express, sell, give away, show off, enthuse, share. Vary your topics and vary your posts. If it’s always about the same thing you look weird and obsessed. If you have too much of any one thing then yes, your engagement will drop and your reach will take the hit.
  2. Check what times your fans are online and post your content in two hour windows either side of those key times.
  3. Boost posts that show potential to perform well. Have a modest budget and stick to it. You only need a few dollars to get your post seen by thousands more people.
  4. Watch the brands and pages that do it well. See what they do. Use that to inform your own strategy.
  5. Maintain your dignity. You can’t force people to love your page or your content. Make it loveable and they will love it. When you hit the mark with a great post, give it a little leg-up via boosting.
  6. Remember why your fans are on Facebook. They are there to socialise. They are not there to listen to everything you want to say or even to buy your products. Make yourself part of their social scene. If you want to advertise in a more traditional manner, take it to a traditional medium.

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